Here's What I think About That

Be Kind. Be Patient. Be Safe.


The 2020 election was a mixed bag for Key Peninsula voters of all persuasions. We all got something but none of us got everything we wanted.

Nationwide, over 80 million eligible voters cast their votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr. to become the 46th President of the United States and Kamala D. Harris to become the first woman elected Vice President in the nation’s history, in this 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Had the decision been left to us, out of 6,956 ballots from the KP, Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence would have won a second term by a slim margin of 62 votes.

The incumbent presidential ticket did not fare as well in the rest of Pierce County, earning only 42.61% of votes to Biden’s 53.76%. Statewide, Washington voters pushed the Biden-Harris win to 57.97% with only 38.77% going to Trump-Pence. 

If votes from the Key Peninsula alone decided Washington’s gubernatorial race, newcomer Loren Culp would become governor of Washington state. KP voters chose Culp across all six voting precincts, capturing 54% of our votes.

The majority in Pierce County voted otherwise, which helped give Gov. Jay Inslee a rare third term. Inslee won the county vote with a modest victory of 51.68% over Culp, who received 47.95%, with write-ins splitting the remains. Statewide results widened the spread and Inslee was reelected by well over half a million votes, ending with 56.56% of the state vote to Culp’s 43.12%.

In the Sixth Congressional District, which has not sent a Republican to Congress since the election of Thor C. Tollefson in 1963, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D) won re-election against challenger Elizabeth Kreiselmaier (R). In Pierce County, Kilmer won over 65% of votes to his opponent’s 34.43%. But in the KP precincts, the race looked much different, with Kilmer taking only 50.86% to Kreiselmaier’s 48.96%.

In a locally tight race for Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, voters from the KP and Pierce County preferred challenger Maia Espinoza (R) over incumbent Chris Reykdal (D) by about 1.5%. A stronger showing statewide for Reykdal resulted in his reelection by nearly 10 points. Espinoza won on the KP by 104 votes out of 6,064 cast.

Referendum 90 asked voters to approve or reject Senate Bill 5395, requiring school districts to adopt or develop age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health education in K-12 public schools. Of the 6,849 votes cast in KP precincts, we rejected the referendum by 52.16%. Pierce County voters approved the referendum by 52.85%, which grew to a 57.82% approval rate statewide. (See “Ref. 90 To Repeal Sex Education on Nov. Ballot,” KP News, Oct. 2020.)

In a clean sweep across all six precincts, KP voters helped deliver decisive wins for local Republican incumbents. Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier won a second term. In the 26th Legislative District, State Rep. Michelle Caldier and Rep. Jesse Young will both return to Olympia to serve another two-year term in the House of Representatives.

Final election results were certified by counties in Washington Nov. 24. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R), who also won re-election, will certify the state’s 2020 election results Dec. 3. The results are due before the Dec. 14 meeting of the Electoral College. Any challenges to the vote must be resolved by Dec. 8.

More money was spent on this election than any prior, with conservative estimates upwards of $14 billion.

But the ultimate cost is the erosion of civility, in my opinion, nurturing contempt and disrespect even between friends.

And don’t kid yourself. We need those relationships, including those that challenge us to move beyond the idea that agreement on every issue is a requirement for friendship to exist and thrive.

There is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel in the form of safe and effective vaccination against the ravages of COVID-19, but we’re not there yet. Public health experts warn the potential for continued surges in viral spread is expected to worsen in the weeks ahead, after our succumbing to temptation and spending Thanksgiving gatherings and the coming holidays indoors with people we love. 

It helps to know we are not alone. I am intimately familiar with the descent into seasonal depression, no matter how hard I try to capture a piece of the joyful spirit the holidays appear to give everyone else.

The very best gift you can deliver people this season is a simple phone call or card. Trust me here, few things feel as good as hearing or reading the words “You matter. You make a difference in my life and here’s how…”

Thank you, each and every one of you who support the work of the Key Peninsula News. Your emails, words of encouragement and critical feedback give us all the strength to carry on in the worst of times.

The coming holidays will be very different for everyone. Be kind. Be patient. Be safe. Be together in spirit. Celebrate people this year with words that make a difference.