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Postman on Politics

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

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July 10, 2008 10:44 AM

Pro-Rossi signs say Seattle stole '04 election

Posted by David Postman

Billboards promoting Dino Rossi's gubernatorial campaign and telling voters "Don't Let Seattle Steal This Election!" are going up in Eastern Washington, thanks to the Republican's biggest backers. The Building Industry Association of Washington is paying $168,000 for 61 of the billboards, according to this story by Spokane TV station KXLY.

I wrote about the signs last month when they started to pop up in Eastern Washington. At the time the Rossi campaign said they had no connection with the signs and didn't know who was erecting them. The BIAW has also led an effort to air radio commercials attacking Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The billboards are an effort to remind Eastern Washington voters about the troubled 2004 vote count in the race between Gregoire and Rossi. That fight ended more than six months after the election when a judge ruled against Republican claims that the election count was flawed and corrupt.

Rossi has said he thinks the election problems have been fixed and his campaign is on the record saying it does not fear this year's election can be stolen. Now that we know the billboards are coming from Rossi's most powerful ally, I wonder what he and others will say about the effort.

At Sound Politics, Eric Earling wrote last month that the signs were counter-productive for Rossi backers because they convey "a message Rossi seems clearly trying to avoid." Earling understands the sentiment behind the signs, though.

Folks on the west side of the Cascades, even many Republicans, sometimes fail to grasp the annoyance and resentment those east of the mountains have with politics and policy in our state that at times seem dominated by King County liberals. This frustration runs deeper than many west-siders care to acknowledge or admit.

The professional-looking signs, however, inevitably receive attention on the other side of the state where huge chunks of the population don't grasp the root of the resentment.

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