Evan Smith: Hansen cites several reasons for defeat

Friday, December 18, 2009

By Evan Smith

ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer 
Shoreline City Councilman Ron Hansen (pictured)  told me last week that several factors led to his defeat in the recent election.
The first is negative campaigning by groups opposing him. He said that the 32nd District Democrats had made an exaggerated truth about the loss of his accounting license into a central issue of the campaign.
Hansen said that the negative campaigning led to the high number of people who didn’t vote in the election in which he lost to Christopher Roberts (pictured) by a 59 percent to 40 percent margin.

The 3,007 blank ballots and 65 write-in ballots exceeded Roberts’ 2,826-vote margin of victory.
Hansen said that another factor was complacency by his supporters.

“They believed I was a shoo in,” he told me. “They chose to concentrate on the two more hotly contested races. They did not promote me to their friends and acquaintances nearly as much as they had in the past.”

Hansen added that, although the Seattle Municipal League had rated Roberts as “not qualified,” Roberts also had none of the baggage that led to negative campaigning against Hansen and other incumbents.

Hansen added that Roberts had more time for door-bell campaigning.

“I know he doorbelled extensively,” Hansen said. “That is to his credit.

“While a few people door belled on my behalf,” Hansen added, “I did not have the time or inclination to do much at all.”
Since Hansen raised and spent less money than any Shoreline Council candidate, I asked him whether money was a factor in his defeat.

“I do not like to ask citizens for money or to spend large amounts on campaigns,” he answered. “In fact I find it offensive and fiscally irresponsible.

“Consequently I raised about six or seven thousand dollars which is approximately what I raised in my prior campaigns. We had yard signs printed, a few brochures, a couple of newspaper ads but we did not bother to do a mass mailing.”

When asked about being a victim of a tendency for Shoreline to reject incumbents, he said that was more important in the defeats of Cindy Ryu and Janet Way.

“While many people were extremely polarized over Cindy’s and Janet’s races, relatively few were polarized over my position.”

Hansen, who has been a Council member since Shoreline incorporated nearly 15 years ago, said that, while he would rather have won, he was not disappointed.

“Maybe people sensed that and decided it was time to move on,” he said.

As for the new Council, he said that he expects it to be less contentious than recent councils.

While he noted that it would lack history and experience, he said that the first Shoreline Council had neither in 1995 and he remembers it as the City’s best council.
Photos courtesy of the City of Shoreline

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