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Postman on Politics

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

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August 28, 2008 8:00 PM

The Obama speech

Posted by David Postman

There will be much written tonight, tomorrow and in a long time to come about the speech Barack Obama just delivered in Denver. He delivered the speech flawlessly, and it was as tough as it was specific.

What did you think, though? Did Obama make a believer out of anyone? Republicans, did he answer any criticisms? Clinton backers, did he seal the deal?

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August 28, 2008 3:59 PM

Rossi makes play for Obama supporters

Posted by David Postman

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi will air TV commercials tonight specially produced to appeal to viewers of Democrat Barack Obama’s acceptance of his party’s presidential nomination. In the 30 second spot, which will run only tonight, Rossi says:

Tonight the Democrats have a nominee.

I agree with him on this: Change is needed, but not just in Washington, D.C.

Change may be the only thing the Democratic presidential candidate and the Republican gubernatorial candidate agree on. But Rossi’s been trying hard to ride the change wave in his campaign against Gov. Chris Gregoire. “Change” dwarfs the candidate’s name at

Rossi doesn’t mention John McCain, his party’s presidential candidate in his stump speech. But more and more he talks about Obama. Last week, as votes were being counted in the primary election, Rossi told TVW that he wasn’t worried about a Democratic wave sweeping him aside this year.

We don’t really believe that if they do vote for Barack Obama it is an automatic vote for Christine Gregoire because if they are looking for change, why would they vote for someone who has been in state government 40 years? … You know, one of my bigger finance folks from the campaign who has actually raised a lot of money for me is an Obama supporter. We’re going to probably have tens of thousands of people who will vote for Obama and vote for us.

This doesn't mean that Rossi backs Obama. He just told me he supports Republican candidate John McCain. And while Rossi said McCain would also bring change, that hasn't come up in the campaign so far.

Democrats of course are also trying to do everything they can to ride the Obama wave. Here’s an odd, little video from Peter Goldmark, the Democrat running for lands commissioner.

I’m not exactly sure who these cartoon characters are supposed to be, with their, “So dude, who you votin’ for this election” and reference to “Frisbee Friday.” But they’re there to remind people to not just vote for Obama come November.

I wrote earlier about Gregoire’s worries about the same thing. The governor has also mailed flyers featuring big photos of Obama.

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August 28, 2008 2:23 PM

Rossi gets big Republican money

Posted by David Postman

Two days after last week's primary, Dino Rossi got $1 million help from the Republican Governor's Association. The AP's Curt Woodward reports that the RGA set up a fundraising committee here and seeded it with a $1 million contribution.

The RGA and the Democratic Governor's Association have both now put in about $1.3 million to Rossi and Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Some Democrats hoped that Gregoire's slim lead over Rossi among primary voters would mean Republican money would dry up. That hasn't happened obviously. Now the spin will change to say the money is a sign Rossi is in trouble.

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August 27, 2008 5:19 PM

Another one bites the dust

Posted by David Postman

Another political reporter is leaving the business. The Seattle Times’ Ralph Thomas gave notice today. He’s going to work for the Katz Communications Group, headed by another former Timesman, Dean Katz.

I’ve written before about other political reporters leaving. But this one is personal to me. Ralph is one of my closest friends. We’ve known each other 18 years, back to when we worked in Alaska.

We bonded those many years ago over our shared craft of legislative reporting, but also through a love of music. There was the common thread of being obsessed with Elvis Costello and 70’s funk and soul, and at least familiar enough with the Dickies to be able to sing along to “You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla.)” He understood the appeal of 1960s Ford Falcons, Plymouth Valiants and Volvo 122s.

Friends like that don’t come along very often.

For the past eight years we’ve worked next to each other in the Olympia bureau. We sit close enough that he can swing around in his chair to prop his lousy feet up on my desk. He can swish a coin into my coffee cup and hit me squarely on the temple with a ball of Play-Doh hard enough for me to see stars.

I’m sure he works plenty hard the rest of the time, but he does seem to be able to watch me closely enough that he points out the speed at which I can nervously chew through a pack of gum. He notices what I wear to work and is always the first to ridicule me for it. One day, eyeing a pink belt, he said with such disgust it still echoes in my head, “Pink? God, don’t you get enough attention?”

I can tell you this, and believe it because I’ve heard it from a long list of people including my wife: Ralph is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s also a great dancer and a great cook. He hunts game - and eats it too - and tends a large and bountiful garden. He can converse about Llama poop, Neil Young, the U.S. space program, international soccer, home-brewed beer or the tiny, tiny, details of weather patterns.

Politicians and readers should mourn Ralph’s departure. He worked as hard as anyone I know to always be fair. He got a lot of enjoyment out of finding just the right well-turned phrase or even from the studied choice of a single word in a story.

When he reads this, he’ll probably find a typo because he has a good eye for those things. But I think with his announcement today he loses the right to be so damn picky about my writing,

But he looks pretty happy doesn't he? (Photo by Richard Roesler)

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August 27, 2008 8:37 AM

Rep. Baird says anti-surge Dems "just like Bush"

Posted by David Postman

Congressman Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, says that since he came out in favor of the Iraq surge no one wants to talk to him about the war. He says, according to Danny Westneat’s piece this morning, that’s because he was right and most Democrats were wrong.

"After all that extraordinary outrage directed at me, not one person has called me up and said 'Hey, Brian, it looks like you might have had a point after all,' " said Baird, in Denver for his party's national convention this week.

Here’s the money quote from Danny’s piece.

"We say Bush is so blinded by ideology that he ignores the facts in the real world, and that's true," Baird said. "Aren't we doing the same thing? We're being just like Bush."

Wow. Do you think there are many other delegates on the convention floor in Denver who would say Democrats suffer from Bush-like ideological blindness? That eats at the heart of the Democrats’ attack on Bush, John McCain and Republicans up and down the ballot.

More from Danny:

At the convention here there is very little discussion of the war, other than perfunctory calls to end it. I haven't heard much about how the security picture in Iraq has brightened so dramatically, nor any mention of the role of the controversial troop increase.

There is talk about the war in Denver, though off the floor. Darryl Holman sat in on a meeting of the Veterans and Military Families Caucus at the Democratic National Convention.

The mood in the room was not one of anger (say, the the kind of anger you get from bloggers like me who are outraged over the fraud perpetuated on our country by the Bush administration). There were no “swift boat” attacks on McCain from the panel. Rather, the mood was one of disappointment, hope for the future, and determination.

Also, Annie Wagner Slogs about an LBGT reception in Denver sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. She was able to catch a surprise visit to the luncheon by Michelle Obama.

Of course, no new policy stuff emerged here, but it was gratifying to hear Michelle Obama talk about hard policy and specific accomplishments, subjects she avoided in her headlining speech last night. She sounded very smart, and very sincere about her enthusiasm for the vague notion of “equality.” She was a hit with the gays. As soon as she finished, one member of the not-at-all-objective gay press exclaimed that he wanted Michelle to be president.

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August 26, 2008 4:39 PM

Cantwell at the convention

Posted by David Postman

Here's the prepared text of Sen. Maria Cantwell's brief speech at the Democratic National Convention. She spoke as part of an event on stage with other female Democratic senators.

I'm Maria Cantwell from the state of Washington.

I'm fortunate to represent one of the most pristine and high-tech states in the nation.

We know it's time for a President that will make energy independence the top priority of the nation.

After eight years of skyrocketing gas prices; eight years of families spending more and more of their paychecks at the pump; eight years of two oil men in the White House catering to Big Oil's agenda, it's time for a new energy day in America.

One that makes energy more efficient and renewable, creating millions of high wage jobs.

One that allows hardworking families to spend more of their precious dollars raising children, instead of boosting oil company profits.

Who can we trust to deliver this? President Obama.

This November, we can't afford more of the same.

Let's elect Barack Obama. A new leader with new ideas and a vision to deliver a new energy day in America.

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August 26, 2008 11:46 AM

Pelz to Clinton delegates: Time to back Obama

Posted by David Postman

And, Eli Sanders writes, state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz really means it.

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August 25, 2008 5:13 PM

Republicans agree to $15,000 PDC fine

Posted by David Postman

The Washington State Republican Party has agreed to pay $15,000 for failing to tell candidates about nearly $300,000 worth of last-minute campaigning the party did for them.

The party filed the right paperwork in 2004 and 2006 to the Public Disclosure Commission, but didn’t send the information to the candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi. That meant that the candidates’ PDC reports failed to show, for example, $92,000 of expenditures for Rossi in ’04 and as much as $32,000 spent on behalf of a legislative candidate.

Staff of the Public Disclosure Commission negotiated a proposed stipulated agreement with the state Republican Party. The commission will consider the proposal at its meeting this Thursday.

The agreement calls for the party to admit multiple violations of the public disclosure law by not informing candidates that it had done work on their behalf. That work included a mailing done on behalf of Rossi in the weeks of his campaign against then-Attorney General Chris Gregoire. Gregoire won the governor’s race and the two are now facing off in a rematch.

There were also 13 Republican legislative candidates who were given in-kind contributions they say they didn’t know about. At least most said they didn’t know anything about the work done on their behalf. Toby Nixon, who lost his 2006 race for state Senate, told PDC staff he was aware of the contribution. The staff report says:

However, in the confusion of closing a campaign and without the information from the WSRP the reporting of the contribution was overlooked.

Why didn’t the party tell the candidates the money had been spent? No one could really answer that question for the PDC staff. Party officials said they believe the notices to the candidates were prepared, “but they have been unable to locate copies of those notices.”

The agreement also says the party has “instituted specific written procedures to make certain timely notice is now given to the candidates.”

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August 25, 2008 11:02 AM

Blogging the convention

Posted by David Postman

The Washington State Democratic delegation is blogging about what they see and hear in Denver.

What I wrote yesterday was about the lack of unity among the delegation. I see that the Democratic Party’s officially sanctioned delegation blogger says I was on the wrong track.

So if my colleagues in the press are looking for a good “disunity” story, I don’t think they’ll find one in the WA delegation. No doubt there are some unhappy folks in the room, but there is also a concerted effort to get everybody in line behind “the second best Democrat.”

But after listening a bit to what delegates were saying in Denver, David Goldstein had to moderate his advice for colleagues:

So while I don’t think there is much of a disunity story here, don’t expect anywhere near a unanimous vote from the WA delegation.

The “good story” that Goldstein dismisses is not about a party in trouble or anything that dramatic. But as he found, you only need listen to Clinton delegates to find very strong feelings about the role Hillary Clinton played in the primary season and a real yearning among her supporters that the convention pay proper homage to that.

One of my favorite convention stories that we see every four years is how there is no news at the convention; it is all staged and there are thousands of reporters who don’t know what to do. There isn’t “news” in the sense we know who the nominee is. But I’ve always said - I’ve covered six conventions - that if you’re a political reporter in an arena packed with political activists and you can’t find a story, you need to look for another line of work.

And when all else fails, interview each other:

In the absence of actual news, so far most of the media coverage seems to be media interviewing other media, and that includes the blogger tent (”The Big Tent”), which opened today.

You mean like this?

Today’s podcast from the Democratic Convention is something of a blogger- covering-the-media-covering-a- blogger- covering-the-media report.

MORE: The Blue Scholars are in Denver, too, and Slogging about it here.

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August 25, 2008 9:14 AM

The Democratic convention

Posted by David Postman

Danny Westneat is in Denver to cover the Democratic National Convention for The Seattle Times.

Danny opens his coverage with a piece today James Yee, delegate, Muslim, and well-known former Army chaplain.

His story is a useful reminder, he says, of the danger of America chucking aside civil liberties.

But his presence at the convention, which opens today, is also a test of sorts. Will the Democrats allow Muslims to be out and proud for Obama? Even one who was once under a cloud of treason, vilified as a traitor at the time by some leading Democratic politicians?

Also, in yesterday’s paper I wrote an advance on the convention that looks at the state of relations between Clinton and Obama delegates. I talked with some very interesting people on both sides, political newcomers with similar backgrounds but very different feelings on the eve of the convention.

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August 21, 2008 10:38 AM

An opponent reassesses Reichert

Posted by David Postman

This is from Emily Heffter, the Timeswoman covering the 8th congressional race:

Conservative Democrat Jim Vaughn shared a podium with U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert yesterday to announce his support for the congressman's re-election campaign, saying that Reichert has "stood up to the president."

"He's earned my respect," Vaughn said. "Dave Reichert has my full endorsement."
(There's a story about it here.)

But Vaughn was far less supportive of the congressman on his campaign Web site a few months ago, writing:

Continue reading this post ...

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August 19, 2008 10:35 PM

Gregoire sees mandate of sorts in narrow lead

Posted by David Postman

The statewide vote count tonight shows Gov. Chris Gregoire with a lead of two percentage points over Republican challenger Dino Rossi. Gregoire just told TVW that Rossi should look for meaning in the returns:

I hope this is a message to him and his friends that negative campaigning isn’t going to work.

Gregoire won her office by 133 votes, so maybe those two points look like a mandate. I'll stick with my prediction that tonight's results won't predict much at all.

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August 19, 2008 9:17 PM

Guess what? Gov's race looks close

Posted by David Postman

When I last checked there were about 746,000 voies counted in the governor's race. I bet that's more than half the votes we'll get tonight. Gregoire has 48 percent of those and Rossi has 46 percent.

It's enough for Rossi to issue a statement:

We had a strong showing in the primary tonight. Current returns show we have received over 45 percent of the vote. To put these results into perspective, during the 2004 campaign I received just 34 percent of the vote in the primary and the General Election turned out to be significantly closer.

Fewer than half of the voters who will vote in November cast their ballots in this primary. Independent polls of all voters show this race is a statistical dead heat and I feel confident going into the General Election. I’m happier having 45 percent tonight than the 34 percent we got in the 2004 primary.

What matters is that we placed in the top two and now the General Election begins. We still have a long way to go until November and I will continue to talk about the issues that matter most to the people of Washington state, like addressing the budget deficit, fixing our transportation system, improving education, and keeping our communities safe. ...

In the expectations game, this could be the low-water mark: "What matters is that we placed in the top two ..."

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August 19, 2008 8:39 PM

Court incumbents look strong in early returns

Posted by David Postman

Two Supreme Court justices and a Court of Appeals judge facing challenges appear to be doing well with a couple hundred thousand primary night ballots counted.

Supreme Court Justice Mary Fairhurst is leading Michael Bond 60/40. Justice Charles Johnson is only a little bit behind that, with 58 percent to James Beecher's 31 and Frank Vulliet's 11.

On the Division II Court of Appeals, Judge Robin Hunt has 65 percent of the vote and challenger Tim Ford has 35 percent with a little more than 85,000 votes counted.

Yep, real early to make any calls on these races. But after an unusually quiet primary these court races are among the more interesting things to watch tonight.

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August 19, 2008 8:04 PM

Primary night: No forecast for November

Posted by David Postman

Good evening all. I had hoped to be able to use our live-blogging and chat software but we’re having some technical difficulties. So I’ll start here, the old-fashioned way and try to post through the evening as news warrants.

Let me start by saying I don’t think it makes sense to read too much into tonight’s results in the race for governor, other statewide officials except SPI or the 8th District Congressional race.

There is just too many differences between primary voters and general election voters.

I’ve heard from a lot of campaigns with their pre-spin and expectations. But history is on my side here.

Take the governor’s race. in 2004, Chris Gregoire 504,018 votes and Dino Rossi got 444,337. In addition, Democrat Ron Sims got 228,306 votes. That could have led Democrats to think they had a pretty good showing. Gregoire alone polled more votes than Rossi and those Sims votes could have been assumed to go Gregoire’s way come November.

But we all know what happened in November. Rossi and Gregoire were in a dead heat. So maybe all the Sims votes went to Gregoire. But of those who didn’t vote in the primary, enough backed Rossi to show him the winner come election night.

We can learn something from the Lands Commissioner race that year, too. In the primary Democrat Mike Cooper got 600,495 votes. Republican Doug Sutherland got only 433,077 votes. But there’s no Commissioner Cooper this year. Sutherland won in November with 1.3 million votes to Cooper’s 1.22 million.

If you look at this video of Democrat Darcy Burner, you can see she put a lot of importance on doing well tonight.

But two years ago Burner got a few thousands votes more than Reichert in the primary. Both ran unopposed for nomination. And in November, Reichert beat Burner by about 7,000 votes.

So if, for example, Burner finishes behind Reichert tonight, would it make sense for national Democrats - and that’d be her fear - to stop putting money into the 8th District? I just can’t see that, or the reverse, unless someone really just bites it tonight.

A note on the 8th: Reichert Chief of Staff Mike Shields told me this afternoon he will be taking a leave from the official office to run Reichert’s general election campaign.

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August 19, 2008 9:03 AM

Join me for a primary night chat

Posted by David Postman

After the polls close tonight I plan to do a little live-blogging and, I hope, a lot of chatting with you all about the state's first-ever top two primary. The campaigns have already flooded me with their pre-spin so it'll be fun to see how the expectation game plays out.

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August 18, 2008 11:45 AM

This week in blogging

Posted by David Postman

I am working on a story for the paper that has to be done before the Democratic convention opens so blogging will be light at best for a few days.

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August 15, 2008 2:42 PM

Gregoire on KING 5 Sunday

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire says she’s trying to run a positive campaign and only began airing ads attacking Republican Dino Rossi after his backers attacked her. She’s doing that even though she concedes it has meant putting on hold what would have be an important part of her early re-election campaign.

Lori Matsukawa and I taped an interview with Gregoire this morning for the weekend edition of KING 5's Up Front. The web-extra portion of that interview has been posted at the Up Front site.

On the program - Sunday morning at 9:30 on KING 5 and at 8 p.m. on Northwest Cable News - Gregoire talks about gay marriage, the income tax, state spending and the shaky economy.

The web portion of the interview started off with a question about the campaign. Four years ago Gregoire told me that she had made a mistake in her first campaign for governor by not taking more time to tell voters about her background and to give them a better sense of the real Chris Gregoire.

But it seems she’s skipping that part of the campaign again. I told Gregoire that her ads talk much more about Rossi than they do about her. She said:

This campaign isn’t going like I hoped it would, to be perfectly honest with you. I had hoped it would be a campaign on issues and we could have healthy debates and let the voters decide. But instead we started in June, of all times, with attack ads by the BIAW to the tune of $1 million and now my opponent has added on to the attacks. So what I’d like to see is a healthy debate about issues, has now turned into my having to respond. I will not let them lie, Dave. I will not let them sit there and do those attacks without a response.

She said she was trying to run a positive campaign, though she was asked about ads from her and the labor-backed Evergreen Progress that hit Rossi as BIAW ads hit her.

My ads that you’re referring to are a response to his misrepresentations. My ads, that I put out, are very positive.

That's just one of a couple distinctions Gregoire tries to draw between her campaign and what's being done on behalf of Rossi.

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August 13, 2008 3:56 PM

I'm away from the blog

Posted by David Postman

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August 12, 2008 8:06 AM

Local firm tied to Alaska scandal

Posted by David Postman

Madison Communications, a Republican political consulting firm in Kirkland, was named today by the Anchorage Daily News as a possible an unnamed co-conspirator in the latest charges in Alaska’s growing political scandal.

The Daily News suggests strongly that says the firm, headed by well-known consultant Brett Bader, is the “Consultant A” mentioned in the charges, and guilty plea, by private prison executive Bill Weimar. Weimar pleaded guilty yesterday to two federal felonies.

(I originally said the Daily News said Madison was the firm in question. But the paper builds a case that it was the firm, but stops short of saying that outright.)

Richard Mauer wrote in the ADN:

He admitted his role in a conspiracy to secretly funnel money to a political consultant for an unnamed state Senate candidate, knowing the candidate would back a private prison if he won.

The candidate, Mauer says, appears to be former Alaska state Sen. Jerry Ward, a Republican. In court yesterday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Bottini said the consultant was from Seattle.

Some of Ward's biggest campaign expenses in 2004 were more than $43,000 in fees charged by Madison Communications, an advertising and public relations firm based in suburban Kirkland, Wash.

That same year -- and this is nothing more than conincidence -- the firm was paid nearly $43,000 for work on Republican Rob McKenna’s successful campaign for attorney general. This year Madison has been paid $85 $276 by McKenna’s campaign for design services.

Mauer and I were unable to reach Bader.

Continue reading this post ...

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August 11, 2008 5:03 PM

Off-duty cops boot Demo cameraman from Rossi event

Posted by David Postman

This is a version of a story Andrew Garber and I wrote for tomorrow's paper.

Off-duty Seattle police officers last week forcibly removed a Democratic Party cameraman from a press conference where the police guild was giving its endorsement to Republican Dino Rossi.

Guild members threatened the young man with arrest and made an emergency call to 911, bringing uniformed officers to the scene. Cameraman Kelly Akers was given a written "admonishment" that warned him against trespassing.

“There’s no fine, no penalty, no request for charges,” said Seattle Police Department Sgt. Sean Whitcomb.

You can watch Akers' video of the event here.

Continue reading this post ...

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August 11, 2008 10:37 AM

Hughes leaves World for history

Posted by David Postman

I was shocked to see that John Hughes, editor and publisher of the Daily World in Aberdeen, had announced he was leaving the trade. He’s going to be in charge of the state’s oral history program.

Hughes has been at the World his entire career. He started as a nine-year-old paperboy and worked his way up to editor and then publisher. He’s 64, so it’s not that I thought he would work forever. And this sounds like the perfect new job for Hughes, a historian by avocation and the author of a fascinating book about Grays Harbor County, "On the Harbor, From Black Friday to Nirvana."

But the loss for the rest of us is greater than just the institutional memory that will move with Hughes from his newspaper office to to-be-built Heritage Center. He was a meat and potatoes journalist who knew how to balance the competing interests of sticking up for your community and giving it a kick when needed. Small town papers don’t always carry that off so well.

He’s been among the strongest advocates for open meetings and public records in the state. He's also a damn good writer. There's a long list of journalists in this state who have passed through The World. They all owe something to Hughes, as do we who now benefit -- and sometimes suffer -- at the hands of his proteges.

I am certain that Hughes’ new job won’t make him any less of an advocate for the people, places and things he has long championed. But the newspaper business in this state just won’t be the same without him among the ranks of the ink-stained wrenches.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, Hughes' new boss, is running a home for wayward journalists, young and old. He hired AP vet Dave Ammons as his press secretary and Christina Siderius, formerly a rising star at the Seattle Times, to do new media.

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August 11, 2008 9:38 AM

Top 2 Primary: The roots of Republican rebranding

Posted by David Postman

On this month’s primary ballot, 26 Republicans, including gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi, have dropped their common party identification and instead are listed as preferring the “GOP” or “GOP Party.”

It’s an obvious effort, at least on the part of some, to avoid the tarnished Republican brand. But state Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser says “GOP” and “Republican” mean the same thing - synonyms that voters understand.

I don’t think it’s going to make a dime’s worth of difference. I used it when I ran for office to refer to myself. It’s an academic question.

For academic questions, we turn to Will Mari, Times editorial intern and Friend of the Blog. After the jump, read Mari’s report on the birth of the GOP and how the archaic term may help Republicans this year.

Continue reading this post ...

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August 7, 2008 8:58 PM

Rossi talks up his Native roots

Posted by David Postman

Dino Rossi’s campaign issued a press release yesterday about Gov. Chris Gregoire’s charge that a TV ad attacking her gambling agreement with Native American tribes is racist. The release includes a bit of ethnic political positioning.

“Dino Rossi is part Tlingit Alaskan Native and he has made clear that the issue isn’t about the tribes, who should be expected to negotiate the best deal possible,” said Jill Strait, Rossi spokesperson.

Rossi’s mother was Alaskan Native. He mentions those roots in his campaign, but in this case it is being used to help draw a distinction between allegations of wrongdoing in the negotiation of the gaming compacts and what Gregoire says is racism aimed at those tribal members.

Here’s the ad in question. It is not a Rossi campaign ad, but from It's Time for a Change PAC, which the BIAW controls. I watched the ad when it came out and it didn’t strike me as racist. It makes the old lady who stars in it look sort of goofy. And Republicans have made essentially the same charges about Gregoire and the tribes as they have about Gregoire and the labor unions. Watch this for yourself.

Rossi hasn’t made much of his Native heritage. But he said recently that if elected he’d be the nation’s first Native American governor. (There have been Hawaiian Natives elected governor of that state.) It’ll be interesting if that becomes a bigger part of his campaign. Rossi is already trying to model his campaign after Democrat Barack Obama’s message of change, so why not add an historic first to the effort as well.

Rossi's comments came at a pow wow held by the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. He appeared at the annual event a few weeks back and opened by saying hello in Tlingit. He talked about his mother, and about working for Bernie Whitebear who, he said, “kept a lot of us Native kids alive” by providing food and jobs.

Rossi, according to a tape of the event, also made several references to the “tenaciousness of the Tlingit tribe.”

And, yes, that’s true I will be the first ... governor in American history ... that’s Native American.

Until now I haven't heard Rossi raise his heritage while talking about the gaming compacts.

Continue reading this post ...

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August 7, 2008 7:28 PM

8th District: Money update & web ads

Posted by David Postman

Two items from Emily Heffter about the 8th District congressional race.

Candidates in the close 8th Congressional District race released their fundraising numbers for the month of July today.

Rep. Dave Reichert, the two-term Republican incumbent, raised $115,474 during July, compiling $929,113 in cash on hand.

Democratic challenger Darcy Burner raised more -- $350,837-- during July, and reported having almost $1.5 million in the bank. But those figures don't include a large television ad buy Burner's campaign made this week. They won't say exactly what that cost, except to say it was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Burner has been outpacing Reichert in fundraising throughout the campaign, but she's also been spending more.

ALSO: Reichert released two web video ads today that will start showing up embedded in web pages visited by 8th Congressional District voters. The campaign has the technology to track, via cookies and other tools, what people are looking at.

The two ads are launching the same week Burner kicked off her first television ad.

The bulk of Reichert's 45-second ads show him in an office discussing his energy plan and his view on taxes. The ads are linked to Reichert's Web page here and here.

The web videos will cost between $20,000 and $100,000, according to a campaign spokesman. That's less than TV spots would cost. The campaign may buy television time later in the campaign, she said, but they believe the web is a better way to reach the "tech-savvy" demographic in the 8th District.

Burner has released a couple of videos this campaign season and posted them on her web site. Most recently, she posted a video of campaign volunteers talking about why they were working for her campaign. This spring, she posted a video acknowledging her sometimes-criticized hairstyles. It shows her going into a salon to get her hair done by buzz-cut sporting Montana Senator Jon Tester.

"Hmm," she says in the video, "Maybe I should stick more to talking about the issues."

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August 7, 2008 2:12 PM

Gregoire says she needs money to catch Obama wave

Posted by David Postman

I wrote earlier today about Gov. Chris Gregoire's comments to The Stranger about her concerns that she may miss out on this year's Democratic wave.

Just a short while ago her campaign sent out a fundraising e-mail making the plea even more direct.

A Democratic tidal wave is sweeping the nation -- but Washington is dangerously close to being left behind. ...

What would happen with Barack Obama in the White House, and more Democrats in Congress and the Legislature, but a George Bush Republican like Dino Rossi in control of our state?

While the rest of the country moved forward, our state would be left behind.

One of the things I enjoyed about this solicitation was the pseudo-specific amount of money that needed to be raised in order to prevent that scenario from unfolding.

The only way Washington will be a part of this wave is with the help of supporters like you! We need 400 supporters to take the next step and contribute to our campaign by August 31.

That's a classic technique of direct mail. But it never fails to amuse me.

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August 7, 2008 11:44 AM

Gregoire: Not enough for Dems to elect Obama

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire says that voters newly energized by the campaign of Barack Obama fail to understand that to get real change this November they need to also vote for her and other Democrats further down the ballot.

In an interview with The Stranger, Gregoire talked about the need to have Democrats in Congress, in governors’ offices and in Legislatures, to ensure that if Obama is elected he can actually get something done.

I think Senator Obama has brought out a new generation of voters that have not voted before. And some of these folks -- I know, because I’ve talked to them -- feel they’re engaged to voted for Senator Obama and then they’re done, failing to recognize the important of, he can’t do much of anything alone, if he doesn’t have a Congress he can work with, if he doesn’t have governors he can work with, if governors don’t have legislatures they can work with.

So I think our job is to convince these folks, it isn’t good enough to be engaged by saying, “I’m going to vote for president of the United States.” You’ve got to get engaged and look down the ticket and ask yourself, “Who are these folks and do I want to support them?” So I think that is going to be very important.

Continue reading this post ...

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August 6, 2008 1:40 PM

Gregoire's delicate walk around economic woes

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s announcement of a hiring freeze this week was, as reported in The Times, her most significant action so far to confront a growing economic downturn. But she was oh-so-careful to separate Washington's situation from the poor economy nationally. There’s no mention of a recession, even outside of Washington state. Instead there is a “weakening” and “softening” of the national economy.

Her memo to state agency directors read as much like a campaign press release than an order for fiscal restraint. It opened by describing the state economy as “resilient” and boasted of Forbes’ ranking of Washington as the third best state in the nation for doing business. She talked of the “strategic investments that have enhanced the ability of businesses to thrive in even the toughest times” and pointed out the high ranking her administration got from the Pew Center on the States for managing the budget and state personnel.

Continue reading this post ...

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August 5, 2008 2:17 PM

Rossi-Gregoire race on YouTube

Posted by Richard Wagoner

From staff reporter Ralph Thomas:

Got a burning question for Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire or her Republican opponent Dino Rossi? Here's your chance.
YouTube is including the Rossi-Gregoire race in their YouChoose '08 election coverage. Between now and Aug. 12, YouTube will be taking suggestions for questions, from which five will be selected and posed to both candidates. The candidates have agreed to provide web-video answers to the questions.
Go here to find out more about how to submit your question - either by uploading your own video or as a text comment.

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August 4, 2008 4:48 PM

Gregoire, Rossi making debate plans

Posted by Richard Wagoner

This post comes from staff reporter Ralph Thomas:

From the counting-their-chickens file:

There are 10 people running for governor and the primary election is still two weeks away. But that hasn’t stopped Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi from making plans for a series of general election debates.

Gregoire and Rossi said today they have begun accepting debate invitations from various media organizations. But no dates have been set and the campaigns are still at odds over which debates to do.

So far, there are three debates that both sides have agreed to:

  • A Seattle debate hosted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, League of Women Voters, KOMO TV, KXLY in Spokane, KATU in Portland

  • A Yakima debate hosted by the Yakima Herald-Republic, Seattle Times and statewide PBS affiliates

  • A Spokane debate hosted by The Spokesman-Review newspaper, KSPS Public TV and 790 KJRB

The Gregoire campaign’s proposed debate schedule also includes a Tacoma debate hosted by the Tacoma News Tribune and several other newspapers and a statewide radio debate hosted by KUOW. Rossi has not yet agreed to those events.

Meanwhile, Gregoire is declining - but Rossi has accepted - an invitation to a debate hosted by KING 5 and The Seattle Times.

Gregoire spokeswoman Debra Carnes said the two campaigns have not yet had discussions about debate schedules. She said the governor tried to pick a mix of debates that covers all regions of the state and different media formats. “Unfortunately, she just can’t do them all,” Carnes said.

Rossi said he’s open to doing as many debates as possible. “I just want to make sure there’s maximum exposure,” Rossi said. “If we do it, I don’t want it to be in a vacuum.”

Gregoire and Rossi appeared in four televised debates in 2004.

Still no word yet on debate plans from any of the lesser-known governor candidates: Christopher Tudor, James White, Will Baker, Duff Badgley, John Aiken, Christian Pierre Joubert, Javier Lopez and Mohammad H. Said.

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August 4, 2008 2:24 PM

Darcy Burner launches her first TV ad

Posted by Richard Wagoner

With David Postman off for a couple of days, staff reporter Emily Heffter, who is covering the 8th Congressional District race, filed this post:

Democratic Congressional candidate Darcy Burner's campaign launched its first TV ad today, a one-minute spot introducing Burner to voters by talking about her family and experiences. You can watch it here.

The ad seems to play up Burner's middle-class roots, a theme of her campaign this year, and something I wrote about last month. The ad also mentions Burner's July 1 house fire, which destroyed her family's Ames Lake home. The camera shows images the charred remains of her house, and her voiceover says: "When we lost our house to fire, thanks to this community, which has helped my family in so many ways, we've been able to focus on all that we still have."

Campaign spokesman Sandeep Kaushik won't say how much the campaign spent on the ad, except to say it was "well into the six figures." It will run for at least a week on broadcast and cable television, he said, starting today.

Burner is challenging U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn. She lost to him by 2 percentage points in 2006. So far, Reichert has not run any television ads.

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August 4, 2008 7:17 AM

Postman on Whidbey

Posted by David Postman

By the time you read this I'll be going through my wardrobe to pick just the right vacation outfit for my first-ever visit to the island.

(Confidential to John: This is not an open thread.)

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Recent entries

Aug 28, 08 - 08:00 PM
The Obama speech

Aug 28, 08 - 03:59 PM
Rossi makes play for Obama supporters

Aug 28, 08 - 02:23 PM
Rossi gets big Republican money

Aug 27, 08 - 05:19 PM
Another one bites the dust

Aug 27, 08 - 08:37 AM
Rep. Baird says anti-surge Dems "just like Bush"







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