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When Everett Democrat Nick Harper abandoned his state Senate seat earlier this month, you might have thought voters would be the ones to pick his replacement. You’d have been right 100 years ago. Not today. Washington’s original state constitution required that special elections be held to fill vacancies in the House or Senate. A change enacted in 1929 shifted the state to an appointment process and put county councils in charge of finding suitable successors from any political party.
Initiative 522 failed to pass for more reasons than just the $22 million opponents shelled out to defeat it. All those bucks certainly made a difference; it was the most money ever spent against an initiative in state history, so far. Had those pushing the food labeling initiative done a better job seeding their message throughout the state and tilling the fields of voters, they could have harvested victory.