The GOP sweep in 1994 hit Washington state like a monsoon: In seven of nine districts, voters sent freshmen Republicans to the House of Representatives. But this year's election presents a cautionary tale: If you won your last election by a razor-thin margin, perhaps you'd better not slavishly follow the GOP line on environmental issues.
boasts rain forests, farmland and fisheries, and activists think
the anti-environmental voting record of three freshmen
representatives may make the incumbents vulnerable. Jack Metcalf,
Rick White and Randy Tate - the three Republicans in the Seattle
area - are clear targets.
Metcalf, whose district includes the San Juan Islands and Cascades
National Park, voted to raise entrance fees to national parks and
expedite salvage logging. Rep. Rick White's mid-1995 vote to weaken
the Clean Water Act went over like a dead salmon: Most of his
constituents live on or near the polluted Puget Sound. Rep. Randy
Tate's suburban district south of Seattle contains numerous
Superfund sites, yet he voted to slash the EPA's
Incumbents Rep. George Nethercutt and
Rep. Richard (Doc) Hastings in rural eastern Washington may not be
able to inspire the same anti-incumbent fervor that elected them
two years ago. Nethercutt, widely known for his ousting of Speaker
Tom Foley in 1994 (HCN, 5/29/95), sponsored a rider that would
delay and weaken a study of his district's Columbia River Basin;
Hastings has drawn flak for not fighting for funds to clean up the
Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
in-state political landscape may also be vulnerable to an
earthquake. The current Legislature is at a stalemate similar to
the national impasse: Democratic Gov. Mike Lowry vetoed a large
number of the bills sent to him by the Republican-controlled state
House and narrowly Democratic Senate. But while it is anyone's
guess what will happen in the Legislature, the state will have a
After an aide accused Lowry of
sexual harassment, the governor announced he would not run again.
Six Republicans and four Democrats are contending for their
parties' nominations; the candidates will be chosen at the late