Seattle Times recommendations for the 2012 general election
The Seattle Times endorses Barack Obama for president, with reservations.
Rob McKenna, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, has spent his entire career in local and state government, having to work with Democrats as well as Republicans, and knows it inside and out.
Our preference for Reagan Dunn begins with legal experience, which is crucial for the office of attorney general. The Republican was a federal prosecutor in Miami, Washington, D.C., and Seattle, working here under former U.S. Attorney John McKay.
The Thurston County auditor has more than 20 years of experience running elections and leads an office with an excellent reputation for accuracy.
There is no clear choice in the race to replace Brian Sonntag as the next auditor of Washington. Given a disappointing choice between two flawed candidates, Troy Kelley is a better fit for the job.
Keep Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark leading the state Department of Natural Resources.
Democrat Mike Kreidler is the best choice for what lies ahead as the state wrestles with health-care issues brought about by the federal Affordable Care Act. Kreidler deserves a fourth term.
Without a strong challenger, Randy Dorn is the choice for a second term. In four years, he has grown into a helpful, moderating voice between the powerful interests of the state teachers union and education reformers.
Lt. Gov. Brad Owen's reputation for wielding a fair and bipartisan hand over the state Senate is much-needed. The Democrat has held the job for 16 years and seeks a fifth term.
In his first four-year term, the former Seattle legislator managed the state's credit through a period of economic crisis, keeping Wall Street satisfied about Washington's ability to pay.
Challenger Dawn McCravey, a Republican, has been a hardworking, constructive presence on the Northshore School Board, and served as board president. She has deep roots in the school district and community through her family and volunteer activity.
Democratic state Rep. Derek Stanford is narrowly endorsed for two more years.
Republican Chad Magendanz is a member of the Issaquah School Board. He would push for better prioritizing of state spending with education at the top of the priority list.
Democrat Mark Mullet is the choice for the open Eastside state Senate seat.
The Times still supports Democrat Zach Hudgins to retain his seat in the House. His opponent is an even more leftward Democrat, who berates Hudgins for not pushing harder for a state income tax.
Republican Kristin Thompson has a much more realistic sense of what state government must do in a financially restricted era than her opponent, state Rep. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle.
Bergquist would bring a working teacher's voice to the state Legislature, which needs to make education its top priority in the coming session.
Rep. Dahlquist should remain in Position 1. She was on the Enumclaw School Board before being elected to the House two years ago.
Rep. Hurst, a retired police officer, has been one of the handful of House Democratic moderates, dubbed the "Roadkill Caucus," (named because they are in the middle of the road, and can get run over).
Democratic state Rep. Cindy Ryu had a good freshman term in Olympia because her work representing the northwest King and southwest Snohomish counties was an extension of past service.
Another strong endorsement for Democratic state Rep. Ruth Kagi, a seasoned, effective voice in Olympia. She chairs the Early Learning & Human Services Committee.
The Democrat, a staff nurse at Group Health Cooperative, has been a key player in local plans to connect residents with the federal Affordable Care Act.
Reuven Carlyle, an entrepreneur who fits the tech-savvy, progressive district, is a needed voice in a caucus heavy with public employees. The Democrat took courageous votes on reform of workers' compensation, school employment benefits and state retirement plans.
Democrat Gael Tarleton is the most qualified candidate for the seat being vacated by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson. She has twice been elected countywide as one of the five Port of Seattle commissioners, who have elected her president.
The Democrat is part of the state Legislature's growing crop of smart, reform-minded lawmakers doing good work in a bipartisan fashion.
State Sen. Steve Litzow is an independent-minded, strong advocate of public education and working families. The Mercer Island Republican is seeking a second term in office.
Republican candidate Tim Eaves is a longtime owner of a metal-fabrication company and a fiscal conservative.
Mark Harmsworth would be new to Olympia, but not public service. The Republican will be a strong voice for public education and a strong economy, with an eye toward the impacts of state revenue measures and regulations on small business.
Rep. Hope's demonstrated willingness to work across party lines is a plus in this race.
Hussey is a Republican whose budget and finance skills make him the better choice over the incumbent, Democratic Rep. Roger Goodman.
Democrat Rep. Springer is known as a smart policy wonk on jobs and economic development.
In the high-profile fight between two Democrats, the voters should support Sylvester Cann over appointed incumbent state Rep. Gerry Pollet.
The 38-year-old lawyer is the former executive director of the pro-transit Transportation Choices Coalition and a respected voice on transportation and environmental issues in King County and the state.
Though socially conservative, Rep. Mark Hargrove has a bipartisan spirit.
The Democrat has earned a reputation for independence and strong leadership, two attributes that contributed to the Legislature passing a budget with zero cuts to public-education funding.
Democratic state Rep. Ross Hunter's footwork helping push government reforms earns him another term in office -- although that work is far from over.
Habib, a Democrat, has not served in public office, but he exhibits a firm grasp of the urgent issues facing our state and supports critical reforms, including teacher evaluations based on student performance and restructuring public-employee benefits.
Maria Cantwell's experience, pragmatism and seniority make the Democratic candidate the best choice to return to her U.S. Senate seat.
Republican John Koster's small-business roots and practical understanding of the need for a transparent financial system give him an edge in the race to represent the new 1st Congressional District.
Six terms into his congressional career, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, needed a strong challenger. He did not get one.
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is the most qualified candidate in a thin field as she runs for a second term. The Republican has shown the ability to put the needs of Southwestern Washington first. She was also one of seven Republicans who voted to extend payroll-tax cuts.
A moderate Democrat, Kilmer is a problem-solver who can be bipartisan.
At some point the Democrat's seat will come open and there will be a real fight. Not now.
Rep. Dave Reichert, Republican, has improved his performance in Congress. The Seattle Times editorial board recommends him for a fifth term.
U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, a moderate, hardworking Democrat, is the standout candidate in a field of five that includes three candidates who don't even live in the district.
Denny Heck, an Olympia Democrat, possesses an impressive level of public- and private-sector experience.
Washington Supreme Court
McCloud has long experience representing people in appellate trials, appearing many times in front of the state's highest court, including civil rights and death penalty cases.
King County office
Strachan impresses people with his experience, maturity and open, transparent leadership style.
King County Superior Court
Judge Chris Washington should be re-elected to the King County Superior Court. The Times' recommendation is changed from the primary election, in which we endorsed a challenger, Suzanne Parisien, a former state assistant attorney general.
Statewide ballot measures
Voters have approved a two-thirds-for-taxes proposal four times before — in 1993, 1998, 2007 and 2010 — and the imposed discipline kept most of their taxes from going up. For the same reason, voters should approve it again.
Washington voters should seize the opportunity to bring charter schools to Washington state by approving Initiative 1240, which would create 40 high-performing charter schools.
Washington voters have been asked to approve a law that celebrates the family values that empower the state and respects religious freedom. They should vigorously approve Referendum 74 and legalize same-sex marriage.
Marijuana prohibition does not work. The better policy is to legalize it, license it, regulate it and tax it. The Times editorial board supports Initiative 502 as a big step in that direction.
This state constitutional amendment would make the debt limit looser during recessions but tighter in the long run.
Senate Joint Resolution 8223 would lift restrictions on the UW's and WSU's ability to invest certain public funds in private companies or stock. That's a smart idea whose time has come.
King County ballot measure
King County voters should approve the $120 million six-year levy to support the Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
Seattle ballot measure
Voters should approve a 30-year bond levy to raise $290 million to replace the seawall for another 100 years.
Information in this article, originally published Oct. 10, 2012, was corrected on Oct. 12, 2012. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Chad Magendanz was president of the Issaquah School Board. He is the former president who now serves as a board member.