Garrido opponents deride senatorial endorsements

— image credit:

t Matthes says action not surprising given that they’re

all Democrats.

Both of Washington’s United States senators endorsed South Kitsap Commissioner candidate Charlotte Garrido last week, citing her experience and history of community activism.

But the opposition candidate feels these actions will sway few voters — if any.

“I think it is important that I have the ability to work with elected officials on the national level,” Garrido said. “Local officials should be able to extend their representation to those out of the district, and can be helpful to those on the national level who can get a better idea of what their constituents are thinking.”

Like Garrido, both Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell are Democrats.

Garrido is facing Republican Tim Matthes in the general election. Matthes said these endorsements were “predictable” and probably would not play a role in persuading undecided voters to support one candidate or another.

“This is what you would expect,” Matthes said. “Each of us will get the support of the movers and shakers in our parties. I expect I will be endorsed by (Republican Gubernatorial Candidate) Dino Rossi, sooner or later.”

Matthes said he has sent Rossi a letter requesting an endorsement. Garrido made similar requests of Cantwell and Murray, although she had an inside track with Cantwell — Chris Endresen, who served with Garrido as a Kitsap County commissioner for one term 10 years ago, is now Cantwell’s state director.

Endresen said Cantwell receives several endorsement requests, but does not grant them indiscriminately.

While she did not share the process (she called it “a trade secret”), she said not all those who requested endorsements — or all Democrats, for that matter — get the senator’s blessing.

Endresen was endorsed by Cantwell during her last election, in 2004. Cantwell has also endorsed the candidacy of North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer.

Kitsap County Republican Chairman Jack Hamilton likewise discounted the impact of the Cantwell endorsement, saying, “She has nothing to do with Kitsap County. This is the same as getting an endorsement from the governor of Colorado.

“From my perspective, a high-profile endorsement only influences the party faithful,” Hamilton said, adding that it is irresponsible to base a vote on an endorsement. “If you don’t know who to vote for after six to nine months of campaigning and a series of appearances and articles, you get what you deserve.”

Hamilton, however, is still smarting from the endorsement of his 2006 opponent for Central Kitsap Commissioner, Democrat Josh Brown, by U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks.

“I have never met Norm Dicks and he knew nothing about my positions besides what other people told him,” Hamilton said. “Still, he was willing to label me as an ‘extremist.’”

Matthes, while not criticizing the action as strongly, said voters could resent the endorsement and go the other way, voting for him because they felt that Cantwell’s endorsement was inappropriate.

Matthes said there is no way to tell how effective an endorsement may be, before or after the election.

“You never know what is going to work,” he said. “A lot of campaign strategy is just throwing stuff out there to see what sticks. Afterwards, you have no idea what was hurtful or helpful.”

Endresen agrees with Hamilton, in the sense that voters shouldn’t give endorsements too much weight.

“People who vote intelligently get their information from several sources and balance them,” she said. ”An endorsement is only one piece of information.”

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