VIDEO: 34th District State Senate candidates Shannon Braddock, Joe Nguyen debate @ 34th District Democrats

Five weeks from tonight, you’ll likely have your ballot for the November election. The marquee local race is for State Senate in the 34th District, which includes West Seattle, White Center, Vashon and Maury Islands, and part of Burien. The two West Seattleites who finished the primary atop a field of 11 – Joe Nguyen and Shannon Braddock – went head to head last night at the monthly meeting of the 34th District Democrats, who endorsed both before the primary.

The format, billed as Lincoln-Douglas-style debating, meandered a bit, so you’re just going to have to watch. It started with a topic both tackled in the WSB interviews we published earlier this week (Braddock here, Nguyen here), taxes. Moderator Chris Porter also asked about gun laws and about the candidates’ respective 34th Districts-specific priorities, should they get sent to Olympia.

The debate had its moments. Before it was all over, each candidate had used the f-word once (no, it’s not bleeped out, we run event video unedited); and each had gotten in at least one direct dig at their opponent. Nguyen also complimented Braddock at one point for a “fantastic” answer to a particular question. If you missed this, there’ll be other opportunities to see the two side by side, including the October North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting and a date-TBA West Seattle Chamber of Commerce forum.

ALSO AT THE MEETING: A standing-room-only turnout had gathered by debate time. The 34th DDs voted to endorse three state initiatives – 940, 1631, and 1639 – plus the city Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy, though the latter was not without some pre-vote controversy, as Leslie Harris, the longtime local activist who currently leads the Seattle Public Schools Board, said Mayor Jenny Durkan had yet to respond to requests for information on whether any of that levy’s money would go to charter schools. … The 34th DDs also heard pitches for help with the November vote in swing areas outside the 34th.

49 Replies to "VIDEO: 34th District State Senate candidates Shannon Braddock, Joe Nguyen debate @ 34th District Democrats"

  • OP September 14, 2018 (5:13 am)

    Nothing like a debate in an ideological vacuum. “No, I’ll tax us into oblivion!” “I’ll do it faster!” “I’ll do it fastest!” “No, I will!” “Yeah, well, you’re a….” Meanwhile, we’re all effed…

    • MrsT September 14, 2018 (7:46 am)

      Sure, because less money thrown at our problems has worked so very well for us. 

      • Gene September 14, 2018 (1:22 pm)

        Sure because throwing MORE money at the problem has worked so very well for us

    • The King September 14, 2018 (8:53 am)

      “I’ll triple dog tax you”…haha. Remember the Clinton luxury tax that was supposed to affect the things that rich people buy like yachts. The yacht builders lost their jobs when the rich stopped buying them, at least Clinton was humble enough to eventually repeal it. They’re still trying to engineer fairness but as the old saying goes, freedom breeds inequality. Taking from the rich won’t make me happy or better off, local government will only expand executive positions with six figure salaries like City Light has. Sorry to see my vote has become useless. 

    • Seattlite September 14, 2018 (10:32 pm)

      OP…Exactly…Your comment is right on.

  • Question Authority September 14, 2018 (6:56 am)

    There’s candidate decorum and civility for you, the “F” bomb knows no bounds.

  • gxnx September 14, 2018 (8:22 am)

    I am going to vote Republican to balance out the house……One party power is bad politics, too much control!!

    • KBear September 14, 2018 (10:32 am)

      No you’re not. There are no Republicans on the ballot for this race. They were eliminated in the primary.

      • Question Authority September 14, 2018 (11:13 am)

        Actually everyone can still use the “write-in” option on the ballot, so yes a Republican or Independent can still hopefully win which would still be the best choice by the looks of it so far.

        • KBear September 14, 2018 (2:16 pm)

          You can write whatever you want on your ballot, but in order for a write-in candidate to win (in addition to collecting enough votes), they must be registered as a write-in candidate AND they cannot have been on the primary ballot. So you’d need a brand new candidate. A Republican is NOT going to win this race. 

  • Chris September 14, 2018 (8:34 am)

    I strongly urge everyone to watch this debate. Although both are worthy candidates, Shannon Braddock is far more knowledabke and ready to serve from day one in Olympia. 

    • Mitchell September 14, 2018 (10:05 am)

      I got the complete opposite read after watching it.  Joe is more thoughtful, less practiced, and it sounds like Shannon had the questions fed to her before hand.  Joe won my vote after watching this. 

      • WS voter September 14, 2018 (10:33 am)

        Right, a woman couldn’t give good answers unless she was fed the questions.  Did you ever think that she’s engaged with the local issues and has ideas on how solve them?  Misogynist much?

        • Dee September 18, 2018 (9:09 am)


      • Chris September 14, 2018 (10:42 am)

        Your statement that Shannon had the questions “fed’ to her is patronizing and sexist. Perhaps Shannon sounded more prepared because she is. There is an phrase that women have to work twice as hard. Shannon clearly did. Even Joe praised her answers several times.

        • Mitchell September 14, 2018 (11:26 am)

          Ha! How funny of you to assume I’m not a woman.  I’m not happy with the practiced politicians just espousing the words that every other West Seattle politician is saying.  I also think that Joe, as a Vietnamese guy from the area who grew up in poverty  have to work twice as hard, and just because he isn’t an insider like the rest of you, doesn’t get a fair shake.  We’ll see in November how it turns out.  @David- thank you for the information.  Regardless, Joe won my vote. 

        • CAM September 15, 2018 (5:41 pm)

          Sorry, as a fairly progressive female attuned to bias when it’s there I don’t see anything sexist or mysoginist about Mitchell’s comment. Can either of you explain your thinking on this to me? Let’s not do the thing where we say that anyone who doesn’t support a female candidate is mysoginist. That cheapens the term and makes it less effective when somebody’s behavior does actually qualify for the description. 

  • Ivan Weiss September 14, 2018 (10:31 am)

    I don’t think either candidate lost any ground, or changed very many minds. They both projected well and presented their positions as best they could, given that the questions were atrocious, far too long and involved, and therefore too complex for either candidate to answer with any specificity. They both were forced to talk for the most part in generalities. Whoever prepared those questions should be barred from ever doing that again. It ruined what could have been a substantive debate.  I have organized enough candidate forums for the 34th District Democrats to know what works and what doesn’t.-This campaign will be won or lost on the ground, by whichever candidate turns out the most, and the most effective, volunteers..

  • David September 14, 2018 (10:52 am)

    Mitchell, as the Chair of the District and author of the debate questions let me put your conspiracy theory to rest. I can assure you with 100% certainty that neither candidate – nor even the moderator – had the questions or even a hint as to the topics beforehand. They both walked into the hall knowing nothing more than the debate format. 

  • 34th-er September 14, 2018 (11:02 am)

    I was there that  night and hands down, she’s the best candidate!  She obviously wasn’t fed any questions (nice try) but is more knowledgeable about what the 34th LD needs.  If he’s more thoughtful, it’s because he’s trying to figure out what to say.  If he’s less practiced, it’s because he’s a rookie.  He is personable and is obviously a smart person but I want someone who knows what to expect and can hit the ground running in the state senate.  Go, Shannon!

  • Ferryander September 14, 2018 (11:39 am)

    if someone is going to call themselves a “progressive,” I expect their actions to reflect that. In terms of Joe and Shannon, neither of them have held public office before so neither of them have a voting record we can point to and say this or that makes or disqualifies them from being a progressive or that they are lying about their priorities. At this point, all we really have to go off of are their words as well as their campaign contributions. When it comes to what they say, Joe and Shannon agree on virtually everything, and both call themselves progressives. So since they are both saying the same things, and both of call themselves progressives, I would imagine both of them to be resistant towards accepting corporate money and money from groups who do not have progressive values. When you look at their contributions however, it is very clear Joe is the only one who is not accepting money from corporations or groups fighting against progressive values. 

  • Ferryander September 14, 2018 (11:43 am)

    Shannon can call herself a Progressive all she wants, her campaign contributions paint a very different picture. All of this information is available on the PDC Shannon has taken a max campaign contribution from the Washington Hospitality Association which fought tooth and nail against the $15 minimum wage. Shannon has taken two maxed out contributions from the so-called “Washington Values PAC” which has received over 60% of its funding from Real Estate Development Firms, Pro-Charter School groups, various Corporate entities and Pharmaceutical manufacturers Shannon talks a lot about early childhood health and development, but has taken a direct contribution from Coca-Cola whose sugary drinks have played a huge role in the childhood obesity epidemic. And let’s not forget her 2015 City Council race where her contributors were a who’s who of developers and corporate interests. If Shannon really was a progressive, she never would have accepted any of this money.

  • 34th-er September 14, 2018 (12:07 pm)

    Shannon has out-raised him more than 2 to 1.  I don’t think a state senator is going to sell their ideals for a $750
    campaign contribution from Coke, and her campaign contributions compare quite
    favorably with our current state reps. She’s no Doug “Oil Can” Ericksen (42nd LD) whose
    picture should be in the dictionary next to “pay to play.”  Out of her  $110,000, $85k is from individuals, a little over $13k is from a plurality of businesses, 12k from unions and PACs (both union and other).  She has way more support among union members and their organizations.  So working people support her and don’t know what to think of a guy who’s making who knows how much from non-union friendly Microsoft and hasn’t worked a day civic life.  Go, Shannon!

    • Mike September 15, 2018 (9:41 am)

      ” I don’t think a state senator is going to sell their ideals for a $750″  Don’t mind that an Atalanta, Georgia megacorp is funding a politician over 2,500 miles away.  Ya, nothing is going on and Trump is honest and faithful.

      • Mike September 17, 2018 (6:01 am)

        Maybe this is why Coca-Cola is funding Braddock

        • CAM September 17, 2018 (10:09 am)

          They are also part of a PAC attempting to push the state to pass a law preventing soda taxes. 

  • A September 14, 2018 (12:18 pm)

    Here’s what was said during the debate-“Blah blah blah, raise taxes raise taxes raise taxes.” It’s amazing we continue to put these people in office. We must want to tax ourselves into poverty

  • anonyme September 14, 2018 (12:36 pm)

    Ferryander, thank you for your informative post.  I actually don’t support either candidate, although Nguyen is the less worrisome of the two.  Neither is qualified for the senate.  And even though I generally have a foul mouth, I find it completely inappropriate that a senate candidate should use profanity in a debate.  In general, OP summed it up pretty well.

    • Diane September 14, 2018 (3:54 pm)

      to be clear, Joe said the f-word and apologized; Shannon followed up with saying the f-word loudly and intentionally to make her point; it’s not an issue for me that either said it, but to be clear, both said it 

  • flimflam September 14, 2018 (12:44 pm)

    the last thing the region needs are more “progressives” – just too far out left. an extreme in either direction is not good, in my opinion.i really wish there could be more middle ground, politically. around here and in the country in general.

  • Ferryander September 14, 2018 (1:09 pm)

    Exactly, she has out-raised him 2-1 so why take money from these businesses and groups who aren’t aligned with good progressive democratic values? Furthermore, Shannon’s average contribution is $212 compared to Joe’s $141, and Joe received exponentially more support than Shannon in the working class areas of the district, while Shannon took the wealthiest parts of the district. So your argument that working people support her is demonstrably false. To try and disparage Joe for overcoming all the odds stacked against him (being the son of refugees, growing up in public housing, having to work as a janitor at his high school to help his family pay the bills due to his father being paralyzed because of an accident, working three jobs in college to pay his bills, etc.) and working at Microsoft shows just how disconnected you are from the people in this district who are struggling to get by.  Most people don’t have the luxury of being able to take a low paying government job and work their way up through the ladder, so to try and shame someone for taking a job that allows them to live and pay for their family’s bills (Joe still pays all of his mother’s bills and paid for his sister and brother to go to college) is yet another example of way people are sick and tired of this elitist view that only “the chosen” can play a role in politics. Joe also is the associate board chair of Well Spring Family Services which helps thousands of children and families break the debilitating cycle of homelessness, and serves as an appointed member of the King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight. Unlike Shannon who was paid $131,696.12 last year for her work at the county, Joe volunteers his time for civic engagement. Joe’s nearly seven point lead in the primary, and the fact that EVERY other Democratic candidate from the primary except for one (who is not endorsing either Joe or Shannon) has endorsed him, clearly show that people in the 34th or sick and tired of the status quo. 

    • westside feminist September 17, 2018 (11:48 am)

      Interesting choice to bash Shannon for being paid to do civil service. She’s a longtime local volunteer — on the board of WestSide Baby and formerly West Seattle Food Bank. I personally like that she serves our community in her personal time and in her full-time job. 

  • BW September 14, 2018 (2:27 pm)

    Who’s the best candidate for working families?  I feel taxed enough already.

    • Seattlite September 14, 2018 (10:37 pm)

      You won’t find a candidate that supports the hard-working middleclass in Seattle’s far-left ideologically driven politics. The taxing (pun intended) proof is all around you.

  • dsa September 14, 2018 (2:30 pm)

    Great comeback Ferrander with that additional information.  Shannon is just another insider which is exactly what we don’t need.

  • EdSane September 14, 2018 (2:36 pm)

    @34TH-ER, are you directly connected to Shannon’s campaign or just an over-enthusiastic supporter? If connected, you really should spell that out in your posts. Either way its clear your mind was made up prior to the debate and if your intent was to persuade more votes for Shannon you might want to rethink that strategy. Personally, I just got the feeling that Shannon connects well with those on Vashon or North Admiral. Sate Senate can be a stepping stone to greater things and the acceptance of PAC/Corporate money is enough of a red flag for me. We have enough of those politicians in office as is. Joe has my vote.

  • Ivan Weiss September 14, 2018 (3:24 pm)

    This Vashon Islander is firmly in the Joe Nguyen camp. Let’s look at the facts here. Joe was virtually unknown districtwide before this election cycle began. He got involved in electoral politics through his advocacy for the family of Tommy Le, who was shot in the back by a sheriff’s deputy in Burien. Shannon Braddock had name familiarity from her work for Joe McDermott and Dow Constantine, from her run three years ago for City Council, and through building up many contacts through years of community and party activism.  Yet not only did Joe lead her on Election Night, he increased his lead in every single day’s vote count, without exception, until all the votes were counted. He ended up with a six-percentage-point lead in a field of 11 candidates.  That is one hell of an accomplishment for a first-time candidate. Not only Joe’s  margin of victory, but also the turnout, in the heavily working-class precincts of Delridge, White Center, and Burien that Joe carried, tell me that he is attracting voters who otherwise might not be voting at all. That is a very big deal. If we are to build a true mass movement in this country to combat the racist Trump agenda, we need to run candidates from multiple, independent power bases — and yes, candidates of color —  and not have them all come from the same insider clique, no matter how qualified, or how able, they might be. These two candidates are both capable of serving the 34th District well. You should see some of the dreck that goes to Olympia from some of the other districts. But it’s not your father’s 34th District, and certainly not your grandfather’s, and I’m voting for, and working for, new blood and a new  approach. Win with Nguyen.

  • vbwestseattle September 14, 2018 (3:50 pm)

    We’re lucky to have two candidates who both have some great qualifications and seem to genuinely care about our community. That said, Shannon Braddock is a personal friend of mine and I have so much respect for her as a public servant, a volunteer, a mom. She is whip-smart and very knowledgeable about issues facing our District as well as other parts of the state.  I think her work with KC Councilmember Joe McDermott and KC Executive Dow Constantine has given her valuable perspective and skills that will serve her well in Olympia and help make her a very effective Senator from the get-go. I’m proud to support her for so many reasons, and I thought she did a great job on Wednesday night. Go Shannon!

  • kdavis September 14, 2018 (4:48 pm)

    Is it just me, but does it seem like the Ferryander/DSA messages above are Nguyen campaign people?  Good on them if they are – that’s just free speech.  Perhaps Braddock’s people should shill too.

    • dsa September 15, 2018 (11:50 am)

      I am not a campaign worker for anyone.  In fact when Charlie Chong lost his bid for Mayor I retired from working on campaigns.

  • Valkyrie02 September 14, 2018 (5:44 pm)

    Right out of the gate, Shannon hit Joe with a gotcha question about his naming and shaming electeds. Joe brilliantly shot back by saying (I’m paraphrasing) they need to be named and shamed. When votes are made in the legislature based on who the contributors are, they should be called out and made accountable. I think we need to eliminate the King County Council Cabal, when our own West Seattle King County reps, vote to send $135 million dollars in taxpayer money to a billion dollar corporation like the Mariners, when we have homeless people increasing every day in many areas of King County, including the 34th.  Drive up Myers Way if you don’t see them in Alki.It’s unconscionable that this was even proposed by Dow Constantine.I think it’s time to elect someone who has taken no corporate or PAC money, who is authentic, and also reflects the diversity of the 34th district.

  • J.R. September 15, 2018 (7:47 am)

    Shannon Braddock has a strong record of legislative experience, political involvement, and community volunteerism. Her opponent can’t match her in any of these areas. She also dominates this debate. You should all watch it and see what you think.

    • Ferryander September 15, 2018 (10:47 am)

      “Experience” means that she has been running in the same political circles as the people who have been taxing middle and working class people into oblivion in this state. When I hear experience, I hear more of the exact same policies that got us into this mess. It’s the people with “political experience” who made the policies that created the mass homelessness and the most regressive tax system in the country. There are far too many people in this district and state who are one accident or missed paycheck away from losing everything. I want someone in office who has lived those experiences of growing up in public housing and having to work three jobs just to help their family pay the bills, because I know that person will be a champion for the people, not corporate and special interests. That’s the experience that matters most to me, and as the primary results show, most the a huge portion of the district.

  • J.R. September 15, 2018 (2:05 pm)

    If your standard for serving in public office is having no experience, political or otherwise, then Joe is your guy. He didn’t even vote regularly until Trump got into office.

    • Ferryander September 15, 2018 (5:00 pm)

      Joe is the Chair of Wellspring Family Services’ Associate Board, which works on issues related to family homelessness and is committed to housing 2,000 children and their families in the next two years. Part of the board’s work includes advocacy, and they were able to pass Wellspring’s first bill (HB2861) providing support for trauma-informed care, which was signed by the Governor in the 2018 session. Joe is also a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight in King County. To say Joe has zero experience is a bold-faced lie, and shows just how little homework you’ve actually done. Unlike Shannon who was paid $131,696.12 last year by the county, Joe volunteers his time for civic engagement. By your rational that means Dino Rossi is the best candidate in the 8th congressional district since he has held office before as opposed to Kim Schrier who never got involved with politics until Trump was elected. To your point though that Joe allegedly didn’t vote regularly until Trump got into office, so what? Most people don’t vote every single election, so to try and use that as an attack is an insult to the voters who are turning out in record numbers this year who normally don’t vote, but are going to be solely responsible for flipping seats and control of the house. As we have seen across the country and Washington state this year, people are sick and tired of people with so called “political experience” and are picking first time candidates in record-breaking numbers, which is why over 75% of the voters in the 34th chose someone other than Shannon. 

  • rico September 15, 2018 (5:10 pm)

    Some informative comments above.  Both candidates sound very competent and accomplished, with Braddock’s insider experience making it more likely she will be able to implement parts of her agenda.  Sooo, if you are tired of taxes, then vote for the candidate who will have less success with said agenda.

  • JK September 18, 2018 (8:03 pm)

    I voted for Shannon in the city council race and for Joe in the primary. I think both sound competent and reasonable but all these out of start corporate and PAC donations to Shannon mean I am going to vote Joe in the general. If I were him I would be hammering her on these. Don’t tell me these out of state  corporations and PACs are just choosing a random candidate and giving them money out of the goodness of their heart.

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