Just after 8 p.m. Tuesday night, the first results for the Renton City Council election will begin streaming in. The initial results will only reflect votes cast by mail-in (absentee) ballots, rather than votes cast in polling places, which will be released a bit later. Given the developments of the past week related to Cheryl Haskins' campaign, there could be major differences between the two types of votes.
My unscientific, completely opinionated prediction: Cheryl Haskins will garner less than 40% of the vote, perhaps far less. The majority of the votes she does get will be based on people's lack of knowledge about her past, not their support of her conservative activism. Try as I might, I still haven't been able to reach people who don't read the newspaper, don't talk to their neighbors, or haven't seen one of my rapidly-disappearing signs around town. Those are the people that Cheryl's $45,000 spending spree has influenced the most.
Of course, there are those who will vote for Cheryl Haskins because they think she reflects their personal values. This is not Spokane, though, and based on past election and demographic data, I'm pretty certain those folks don't make up a significant number of voters here in Renton. Plus, her opponent, King Parker, isn't exactly a flaming liberal. He's known for fiscal conservatism and community involvement, and has a long and distinguished track record to stand on. He has also managed to stay out of Cheryl Haskins' controversies, which makes him an easy choice for those that may have even the slightest concerns about her candidacy.
As I've said before, one of the secondary goals in my opposition to Cheryl Haskins is to discourage her from ever running for non-partisan office in our community again, and to send a message that outside money and influence will not go unnoticed in future elections here in Renton. This whole ordeal should also serve to remind voters that we cannot rely on campaign lawn signs, mailers, and pamphlets to tell us what candidates really stand for, especially when they don't have local records to stand on. I was almost duped by Cheryl Haskins "new face" advertising blitz, as were many of you.
If you haven't mailed in your absentee ballot, you must do so by tomorrow (Tuesday). You can also drop off your absentee ballot at any polling place. If you'll be voting in-person at a polling place, the polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. To confirm your eligibility to vote and find your polling place, visit the King County Elections Voter Guide Lookup page.
Unless any further developments occur with regard to Cheryl Haskins' candidacy, you probably won't hear from me again until late Tuesday night. Of course, that could change if she suddenly calls the newspapers and accuses me of eating small children.
Best of luck to all the non-polarizing, locally-funded, and community-oriented candidates!