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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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November 19, 2007 9:23 AM

Correction: Rossi money wasn't raised so fast

Posted by David Postman

In the PI this morning Neil Modie takes an interesting second look at Dino Rossi's early fundraising.

Without specifically saying so, Rossi left the impression last week that he raised money more quickly following his announcement than he actually had.

His campaign reported last week that he brought in "over $463,300 during the month of October. He announced his candidacy for governor on October 25th."

That prompted erroneous news reports that he had raised the entire sum within a week after the announcement.

Count me among those who got it wrong. I wrote the day the Rossi campaign announced its numbers:

GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi says he raised more than $463,300 in the last six days of October, and $110,000 in the first two days of this month.

I asked that day to see the actual reports, which would have steered me away from the erroneous impression that the money all came in over those six days, but the campaign said they weren't available.

It's still an impressive fundraising start. And the Rossi campaign didn't say anything inaccurate in its press release. But it was easily misunderstood, and the campaign made no effort to try to clarify the widespread misimpression that exaggerated the actual fundraising performance.

The PI political blog reported the day of the Rossi press release.

In the week between his announcement and the end of October, the Republican raised more than $463,000 for his race against Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, his campaign reported Thursday.

And the AP, in a story published throughout the state wrote:

Republican Dino Rossi said he collected more than $570,000 during the first nine days of his 2008 campaign for governor.

...

The total included more than $463,300 raised in the last week of October, following Rossi's Oct. 25 campaign kickoff.

This is the second time this fall where my coverage of advance publicity of fundraising didn't match reality. In the first case, Dave Reichert's campaign told me incorrect numbers. In this case, I assumed something I shouldn't have. I don't know yet if I'll stop reporting all such PR efforts, but I'll certainly be more careful and skeptical.

UPDATE: The AP's Curt Woodward is reporting that Rossi spokeswoman Jill Strait has apologized "if you feel like you were misled. I agree that we could have clarified that the first check came in on the 12th.''

AP reports:

After apologizing, Strait claimed that ``there was never a secret'' that Rossi decided to run for governor on Oct. 11, the day before he collected his first donations.

That statement is untrue: when asked about an impending Rossi campaign shortly before the official Oct. 25 announcement, Strait refused to offer any details of Rossi's plans, saying only that he would be talking about his political future.

Strait, however, maintained Monday the campaign's Nov. 8 fundraising statement was technically accurate.

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