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June 15, 2006

Bush/Kerry proxy rematch in the 8th

Posted by David Postman at 3:54 PM

On the same day President Bush goes to Medina to raise money for Congressman Dave Reichert, his 2004 opponent in the presidential race, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, will be in San Francisco raising money for Darcy Burner, Reichert's Democratic opponent.

Burner flies to San Francisco tomorrow to appear with Kerry at a fundraiser. Already, Kerry has used his national e-mail list to raise more than $27,000 for Burner, according to Burner campaign manager Zach Silk.

"He's just been incredible," Silk said of Kerry.

The S.F. event, Silk said, is at the home of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and is part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Red to Blue program, which gives targeted help to Democratic challengers.

Bush can raise more money tomorrow. But in the 8th District, Kerry was a bit more popular than Bush in the 2004 election. Kerry got 51 percent of the vote, while Bush got 48.

UPDATE: Here's Reichert's welcome to the President.

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Cantwell opponent says Vietnamese-Americans deserve a U.S. Senator

Posted by David Postman at 11:38 AM

Hong Tran, one of two anti-war Democrats running against Maria Cantwell in the primary, is morphing her campaign into a nationwide effort to sell herself as a candidate not just for a Senate seat from Washington, but as a senator for Vietnamese immigrants wherever they may live in the country.

In a "call to the Vietnamese community nationwide" today, Tran said, "There are over a million Vietnamese-Americans in this country. We deserve a U.S. Senator, but I need your help to make that happen."

From the statement: "Tran hopes that her campaign will give voice to a nationwide Vietnamese community that currently has very little political representation."

Tran, an attorney with the Northwest Justice Project, was a refugee from the Vietnam War who came to the states when she was 8 years old. She says she's getting support from around the country as Asian newspapers report on the campaign.

A May 13 article in the Northwest Asian Weekly, still available on the paper's homepage, says, "While her ethnic background has no bearing on why she is running, Hong said, it's critical that Congress be a reflection of the people it represents."

"The U.S. was founded on immigrant labor and sweat. ... When we look to Congress, we mainly see white men legislators, (and) that sends a really powerful message to the minorities who are struggling. 'Those are the people in power, and I'm not there,' and, 'They're making laws that are affecting my life, and they're not getting it,' " Tran said.

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Online gambling ban was easy sell with lawmakers

Posted by David Postman at 8:12 AM

Danny Westneat has a column this morning about the real effects of a bill passed by this year's Legislature to clarify the state ban on internet gambling. In brief, the law is being used to crack down on people who don't just operate online gambling sites, but who write about them.

I didn't pay much attention to this year's legislative session and wondered what sort of debate took place about legislation that would have the state gambling commission threatening poker columnists.

In a House Commerce and Labor Committee hearing Feb. 22, Rick Day, director of the state gambling commission, told committee chairman Rep. Steve Conway that the bill was drafted to allow the commission to crack down on "what we're really pursuing here, which is the larger Internet providers and those third parties that are deliberately facilitating the activity."

Committee staff explained the bill was "reaffirming and clarifying" laws about gambling. This reminds me of something a lobbyist told me in Alaska many years ago: Beware the clarifications and watch out for the house-keeping and the "good little bill." In committee and in floor debate, this bill was explained as updating a law that banned gambling by telephone, telegraph, radio or semaphore.

Here's the entire Senate debate, held Feb. 14.

Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Seattle, prime sponsor of Senate Bill 6613:

"This bill clarifies that using the Internet to place wagers on activities regulated by the gambling commission or to play the state lottery are prohibited; requires a 60 percent majority vote of the state Legislature to authorize the state lottery to offer games played through any device, including electronic scratch tickets machines that electronically replicate any game of chance. New communication technologies and variations of electronic gambling have come into existence since gambling by electronic media was prohibited by the Gambling Act of 1973. This also clarifies exactly what it is that people can do. The state has to be extremely careful in legitimizing these games. Please vote yes."

That was it. The Senate voted unanimously for the bill. The House voted 93-5 two weeks later.

UPDATE: This is in the comments, but if you're looking for more on this check out Washington Votes.

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