Shadowrun – Campaign
Story Extract – Seattle Elections
There’s No Place Like Home
Strouthers is fighting in earnest, though, and he won’t go down without a fight. “Seattle is a community, built with the hopes and actions of our forefathers, not divisiveness and mistrust,” said Strouthers to an audience at a recent rally. “We’re a strong city and with your help we can truly make Seattle the jewel of the Pacific Northwest.”
The Frontrunner: Kenneth Brackhaven
Politicians are nothing if not adaptable, and Kenneth Brackhaven is no exception. After his failed 2057 presidential bid, Seattle’s golden son spent several years as a power behind the scenes, endorsing many local candidates and the late Governor Lindstrom’s failed presidential bid in 2064. With Election Day nearing and one third of Seattle behind him, those efforts might soon pay off.
This candidate’s inability to grow in the polls is a major concern of Brackhaven’s advisors. Brackhaven supporters blame unfavorable media coverage, but outside experts speculate he has reached his popularity roof.
- “DC from DC” is a multimedia weekly blogcast crafted by veteran journalist Daniel Cregg. This report focuses on Seattle’s current political climate – particularly the race for governor. One of the last old-school political journalists, Cregg is intelligent, occasionally insightful, and sometimes tasteful. In other words, he’s an endangered species.
Seattle, ten years after. Coming back to my far-off birthplace is a breath of fresh air in many ways. Indeed, the oceanic wind that welcomed me at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is only the beginning. Surrounded by barely friendly countries, this isolated American outpost in the Pacific Northwest keeps a wild, I-dare-you-to-try edge that is all but lost in the East. More than four million souls call Seattle home, but only one can call itself its Governor.
Pollsters, rallies, and AR spam; oh my! The Emerald City is being bombarded by bombastic bullshit. Election campaigns are kicking into high gear and the anxiety is nearly visible. Customs gives me the Look as I hand over my press accreditation. It won’t be the last one the agent sees before E-Day.
- Most newsnoops are just here for the show, but some are willing to dig deep (or pay big) for primetime dirt. Campaign strategists spin damage control, using runners to bury stories (and bodies) before the reporters out them.
- Kat o’ Nine Tales
I’m sipping something the caffeine bar claims is real Amazonian coffee as I ride in a cab to the Mayflower Park Hotel – it’s no Laubenstein Plaza, but it’ll do. I like the retro atmosphere. Very 1990s.
The driver is in-the-flesh, not telepresent – an ork named Fred.
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- Fred: Mayflower? Good family hotel. Big beds and soundproof rooms—’cause a nightclub was near it once.
- Daniel Cregg: Once? You mean Sullivan’s closed?
- Fred: (nods) The Crash. City’s been in agony from it.
- DC: (distracted) Hmm … city looks fine from here.
- Fred: Downtown ain’t all of Seattle, hoss. The other districts are helluva lot worse. I ain’t down-and-out yet, but my wife’s unemployed and our kids got all this pressure to become gangers. All the other kids in our street already joined one gang or another.
- DC: Sorry to hear that. Can’t the police do anything about it?
- Fred: The Star? The buunda to the Star. They’re so busy stomping orks they can’t even catch the Cutter.
- DC: So you agree with Strouthers. Fred: Yeah, but that useless halfer ain’t getting my vote again. DC: So who’s your pick?
- Fred: No real choice between Brackhaven and someone who wants to jump into the abyss. Who knows, there might be something soft at the bottom.
/// End Audiovisual Transcript ///
Fred pretty much summed up Seattle’s dilemma. All three candidates promise the moon for Seattleites (they’d promise the sun too, but locals don’t believe in anything they can’t see), but can they deliver?
Seattle Election Polls
- Candidate (Party) – Now – 1 Month Ago – 3 Months Ago
- Kenneth Brackhaven (R) – 32% – 30% – 28%
- Josephine Dzhugashvili (I) – 30% – 23% – 16%
- Julius Strouthers (D) – 21% – 17% – 10%
- Other – <1% – 5% – 16%
Source: UCAS Today/Gallup
THE RACE for Governor
With the withdrawal of former Bellevue Mayor Daniel Reynolds (Technocrat) for personal reasons and Representative Susan Riordan (Libertarian) over a financial scandal, the field has narrowed to three main candidates. Given the high number of undecided voters, the election can still go to any of them.
The Incumbent: Julius Strouthers
Julius Strouthers hasn’t had an easy tenure as Metroplex Governor. Seattle’s sinking economy and rising unemployment are just the tip of the iceberg. Add in endemic street violence, well publicized corruption scandals involving some of his closest advisors, increased hostility from the Native American Nations, and frosty relations with President Colloton’s administration, and you start to get the picture. Recent bouts of rage at Cabinet meetings show the enormous stress the dwarf is dealing with.
- I met Julius back in the ’50s. He had a piece of headware called a program carrier. They were pulled from the market after people found out they caused an Alzheimer’s-like effect. Brackhaven would have a field day if he found out.
The governor has been lashing out at Lone Star recently, criticizing its lack of success in catching the “Mayan Cutter” serial killer. Strouthers has entertained negotiations with Knight Errant concerning the Metroplex Policing Contract, up for renewal next year, as a tacit threat. Strouthers has also promised a new solution to solve Seattle’s energy problems, but details have been scarce.
- Shiawase and Gaeatronics are salivating at the possibilities. Saeder-Krupp might be interested, but if so they’re keeping it really quiet. Expect some runs on the governor’s office soon.
- Mr. Bonds
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“A simple look at the numbers shows that our city is dying. Forty percent of ork teens who try a BTL end up joining a gang. Five out of ten prostitutes are elves. Troll-related violence in schools has nearly doubled. Filipino, Chinese, and Aztlaner immigrants are stealing jobs from decent, hard working Americans.
“And what has been the Governor’s reaction to these problems? He wants to fire Seattle’s hard-working police! Clean up starts at home, and Kenneth Brackhaven is the man for the job.”
Source: Arise Humanity! AR spam
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“Kenneth Brackhaven is doing very well with the human electorate,” said Brian Stanton, an analyst at the University of Seattle, “but I still have yet to see a metahuman voting for him. The problem was less significant when he ran for President, but Seattle has a much higher percentage of registered metahuman voters.”
- Stanton’s right on the money, but that hasn’t stopped Brackhaven’s campaign from bribing or blackmailing prominent metahuman community leaders. Calling for abstention is as good as voting for him.
Personally, I wonder at tension within the ranks. After joining the Republican Party in 2069, Brackhaven rode a wave of former Archconservative voters to vanquish Ellen Danquist in the Metroplex primaries. Danquist had been personally nominated by President Colloton, which puts Brackhaven at odds with the powers-that-be in DC.
- Danquist is rebuilding her power base and working to screw Brackhaven big time. Rumor has it that she’s hiring shadowrunners to discreetly mess with his campaign.
With the death of Karl Brackhaven, his uncle and chairman of the Humanis Policlub, in 2065, the only other remaining Brackhaven is Karl’s granddaughter, drug artist Tiffany Brackhaven. Tiffany’s longstanding relationship with the Goblin Rock Star Crime Time would be a boon to Brackhaven’s anti-metahuman image, but one he’s chosen not to exploit.
- I don’t understand Brackhaven. I’d have locked her up somewhere for rehab, at least until Election Day was over.
- Hard Exit
- Good luck with that. I heard Tiffany and CT are spending a lot of time with the Cascade Orks, dabbling into some spiritual mumbo jumbo with the tribe’s shamans. The things you do to get inspiration…
The Insurgent: Josephine Dzhugashvili
Josephine Dzhugashvili has been very busy catching up with Brackhaven’s early lead. She starts early with morning interviews; spends the day doing door-to-door campaigning and attending youth meetings, high profile business lunches, and primetime debates on NewsNet; then finishes every evening with another news spot and private meetings with prominent movers and shakers.
Getting to know Seattle’s Woman of the Year took more work than expected. At a time when a misspoken line could decide the outcome of the election, Dzhugashvili’s campaign manager is leaving nothing to chance. Ten minutes, she said.
As the leader of the Seattle Independence Party, Dzhugashvili’s campaign can be summed up with one word: secession. That so many Seattleites might vote for Seattle to become an independent Metroplex-state is a sure sign that all’s not well in Rain City, but I’ll let Dzhugashvili speak for herself on that.
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- Cregg: Why secession? What’s so wrong with Seattle that can only be fixed with walking out of the UCAS?
- Dzhugashvili: (smiles) Good question, Dan, though I’d rather you ask what’s so wrong with the UCAS that Seattle has no choice but to leave. The short answer is that we’ve been mistreated, abused, be-trayed, and ultimately abandoned by the very people that should be watching out for us.
- Consider the economy. Seattle was hard-hit by the second Crash, but how much federal aid did we get? Exactly zero. President Colloton’s Military Recovery Act appropriated all the funds. “Let us rebuild America’s defenses,” she said, without mentioning the excessive numbers of troops from Seattle serving in the East Coast and on the Sioux border. Or how any time one of ours asks to be transferred back here, their request is flatly denied. If that lack of trust isn’t a slap in the face, I don’t know what it is.
- Cregg: You mentioned betrayal.
- Dzhugashvili: Yes. In his memoirs, former Seattle Ambassador to Korea Timothy Washburn revealed how commercial negotiations in Korea were sabotaged by UCAS Ambassador Kelly Mitchell. It was a done deal, worth billions of nuyen for our city. Billions! My campaigners have gathered testimony and documentary evidence of commercial sabotage stretching back over twenty years. Washington needs the Metroplex, but doesn’t trust us. We’re not cattle and we won’t allow this farce to continue.
/// End Audiovisual Transcript ///
By Daniel Cregg, UCAS Today
Storyline: Seattle Elections 2069