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Postman on Politics

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

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June 14, 2008 9:42 AM

The Democratic convention

Posted by David Postman

State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz was just talking about the race for attorney general between incumbent Republican Rob McKenna and Democratic challenger John Landenburg, the Pierce County executive. He said McKenna was best remembered for "his role as Sherman from Rocky and Bullwinkle."

Pelz also had amoment of silence for former state party chairwoman Karen Marchioro who for the first time in 40 years was not attending a state convention. She died last year.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is the chairman of the convention.

Gov. Chris Gregoire is about to speak. Her campaign organized an orchestrated demonstration to show excitement about her appearance. Staff handed out signs to volunteers who were strategically placed around the hall and told to give the signs to people on the convention floor.

But apparently the spontaneous show of excitement didn’t come exactly as planned. “They’re supposed to be walking right behind her,” said one Gregoire staffer. “What just happened there?” asked another.

I’m not sure who this show is designed for. It’s not the press, because the organized volunteers were lined up to block our view of the stage and the video that played on big screens. I suppose, though, it is meant to excite Democrats here, to rev up the base.

Gregoire is now attacking Dino Rossi for the budget he helped write when he was chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Left unsaid, as always, is that the budget was co-written by former Democratic Gov. Gary Locke and approved by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Gregoire told Democrats that there is a great story to tell about progress over the past four years. She told them are the “story tellers” and sid they need to tell everyone they know, “because if we can get the word out about what we have done we win in November.”

She also criticized radio ads sponsored by a PAC controlled by the Building Industry Association of Washington. The ads criticize Gregoire’s record on transportation.

I thought I was running against Rossi. But I guess I’m running against the BIAW. So in November we’ll send them a message as well.

The governor even has a marching band. It just marched in at the conclusion of her speech.

Sen. Maria Cantwell just spoke to the convention. She was a Hillary Clinton backer and she said:

I do want to see a strong Democratic woman in the White House and that’s why I’m so glad that Michelle Obama will be the First Lady of the United States.

Cantwell got big cheers for saying she plans to continue to investigate high oil prices.

Just like with Enron, this senator is going to stay on the task until we have transparency in oil markets and understand why we are paying record oil prices.

Sen. Patty Murray and Gregoire lost Spokane County in their last elections. But Cantwell won here in 2006, showing, she said, “that a Democrat can win in Eastern Washington.”

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