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Postman on Politics

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

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June 23, 2008 4:46 PM

FOX News on Republicans shying away from party brand

Posted by David Postman

FOX News this afternoon reported on Republicans’ efforts at re-branding themselves on the primary and general election ballots. Dino Rossi is one of “scores” of Republicans that correspondent Dan Springer says are “leaving the Republican moniker behind.” Anchor Britt Hume said the Republicans were "shying away from the Republican Label." And that may be a bigger crime on that network than failing to wear a flag pin.

When Rossi filed to run, he listed his party preference as GOP Party.

Curtis Fackler, a Republican candidate for insurance commissioner and the chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party, will be listed with no party preference. He told Springer that there are 30 percent of voters in the state who will vote against a Republican “no matter what.”

And we want to get around that. We want them to read our statements and see where we’re coming from.

Rossi says in the piece that Democrats are insulting the intelligence of state voters by suggesting they don’t know what GOP means. But, as it has been pointed out, even some people who should know better have been ignorant of that Republican shorthand. And Fackler's comments certainly make it clear that at least some Republicans are using their new freedom on the ballot to distance themselves from the battered party brand.

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June 23, 2008 2:32 PM

Weekly newspapers look for new revenue in big campaign year

Posted by David Postman

The state’s weekly newspapers have a new plan for making money from politics. The Washington Newspaper Publisher’s Association, which represents weekly and community papers, is building a Web site to compile state political news in the hope of selling politicians their names. WNPA President Bill Marcum said in this month’s newsletter put out by his group and Allied Daily Newspapers, representing the dailies:

We can also sell hot links to candidate, party and consumer Web sites. What does this mean? We would sell Dino Rossi his name every time it appears on the site. The name would be in light blue, hot linked to his Web site. WNPA would get paid (say $3) every time a reader clicked on this link and went to Rossi’s site.

An e-mail pitch to candidates explained it this way:

As you can see, each time your name is mentioned it will be hyperlinked and you can choose the website that the user is taken to, your campaign or donation page would be a prime spot. It is free to set up an account and only requires a $25 to begin receiving traffic. Click costs start at only $0.05/click and you can see exactly what each site is charging before you spend any money. Register today and let Washington voters find out who you are, what you stand for and create a name for yourself in the upcoming election.

There is a site under construction that is, at this writing at least, publicly available and obviously a work in progress. Other money-making ideas for the site are to sell display ads and host campaign videos.

Candidates could put their TV commercial on the site and would pay for the space and each time the video is viewed.

The site is being managed by an intern for now. WNPA General Manager Bill Will told me that when the site goes live in a few weeks it will include work from the weekly papers, but that the dailies, through Allied, will be welcome to join the effort. He says by e-mail:

The crux of the effort is to let users browse some headlines (or the RSS feeds of the papers that offer them) and nudge them back to the originating site if they want the whole story. We think that's a good way to fight back against bloggers who are playing fast and loose with copyright by lifting whole stories and slapping them in their blogs.

Marcum says in his article the aggregator site is one way for newspapers to fight declining revenues.

We as an industry need to work together to compete in the political arena, and over the past 20 years we have failed miserably in the political revenue category. Here is a chance to reverse the trend, using a medium that politicians want and need to get their messages to the public. They will find a way to do it with us or without us … why not make it with us, so we will make a few bucks along the way?

RELATED: Papers Facing Worst Year for Ad Revenue

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June 23, 2008 11:52 AM

Republicans overthink race, while black voters go elsewhere

Posted by David Postman

NPR asked the question yesterday morning, “Where Did All of the African-American Candidates Go?” And by that, they mean all the black Republican candidates. It was only two years ago that Republicans had African-American candidates in high profile races for governorships in two states and for the U.S. Senate in Maryland.

But in a piece by Allison Keyes on Weekend Edition Sunday, it is clear that some of those candidates and other prominent African-Americans from the party say Republicans have not followed up with a concerted effort at minority voter outreach. As Michael Steele, the former Senate candidate put it, Republicans need to “stop overthinking this problem.”

I get the question all the all the time, how do we reach out? … Well, first off, stop asking the question and just do it.

Keyes' piece makes clear that there has not been a lot of visible progress within the party since 2005 when then-RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman went to the NAACP convention to make a notable public apology.

“Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," Mehlman said at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

And, of course, the problem is made much more difficult in a year when Democrats will nominate an African-American for president.

Listen to the NPR piece here.

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June 23, 2008 10:11 AM

Councilman moves to challenge Sims

Posted by David Postman

King County Councilman Larry Phillips took a step toward challenging Executive Ron Sims with the opening of an official exploratory committee to raise money and test the waters for a 2009 campaign. Phillips said yesterday in an e-mail to supporters:

Running for County Executive is a big undertaking and one I do not take lightly. I have a deep respect for the incumbent, as he's done many good things in King County, and I realize that it's hard to move on. But 13 years in office - with an unprecedented fourth term on the horizon - is a long time. The times are changing, the problems are changing, and too often they are left unattended and without effective Executive leadership.

Sims describes Phillips as "a naysayer and a complainer.”

Phillips’ website,, isn’t yet live. His early strategy for challenging fellow Democrat Sims, now in his third term, relies in part on the state’s new top-two primary system.

With the new "Top Two" elections system, the opportunity presents itself even more - there's plenty of room for two from the same party to run.

Phillips’ and Sims’ party doesn’t like the top two and is likely to challenge it in court before November 2009. As more intra-party challenges surface, though, we may see some Democrats and Republicans lobbying their leaders to keep the top-two.

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June 23, 2008 8:22 AM

Former DOT chief argues against light rail

Posted by David Postman

Doug MacDonald, the former secretary of the Department of Transportation, says Sound Transit's expansion plans would cost a lot but do little to untangle the region's transportation mess. Writing at Crosscut, in the first of three pieces, MacDonald says ST's tax proposal would create a "river of new money ... flowing to the board of directors for decades."

Don't hold your breath to see new transportation services from these projects anytime soon. Most of the new projects would not go into service until 2020, when today's four-county regional population is expected to have grown by an additional half million people, from today's 3.6 million.

Nevertheless, some of those eventual projects certainly will be big - in dollar cost, anyway! ...

At the same time, they will — in terms of contributing to regional transit needs — also be very small.

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Recent entries

Jun 23, 08 - 04:46 PM
FOX News on Republicans shying away from party brand

Jun 23, 08 - 02:32 PM
Weekly newspapers look for new revenue in big campaign year

Jun 23, 08 - 11:52 AM
Republicans overthink race, while black voters go elsewhere

Jun 23, 08 - 10:11 AM
Councilman moves to challenge Sims

Jun 23, 08 - 08:22 AM
Former DOT chief argues against light rail







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