|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
Posted by David Postman at 8:33 PM
Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Guthrie is mortgaging everything he can to change the dynamic of the race. Guthrie, a former college instructor who hopes to go back to school to get a high school teaching certificate, filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission today saying he will loan his campaign $1.18 million. Up until now he had raised $33,000.
Guthrie said he had not planned to spend his own money but changed his mind after campaigning around the state.
"I'm disappointed, as most people are, that money is what drives politics in this country. But I realize if I didn't go in all the way, if I didn't do the best job with the campaign I thought I could do, I would have regretted it later.
But there will be no more personal money after this. There isn't anything left to mortgage.
"It is absolutely everything I could scrape together. I mortgaged my house, my only house, in Bellingham. I mortgaged it as much as the bank would let me mortgage it. And I put up all the savings that my former wife and I were able to save in our 17 years of marriage."
It's unclear how this changes the race that has naturally focused on Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell and her Republican challenger, Mike McGavick.
It is difficult to know which side Guthrie is more likely to take votes from. In 2000 former Republican Sen. Slade Gorton blamed his close loss to Cantwell, in part, on Libertarian candidate Jeff Jared. Jared got more than 64,000 votes and Cantwell won by a little more than 2,000.
Guthrie's top issues are most likely to attract liberal voters. He is a strong proponent of same-sex marriage and is ardently anti-war, calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and a permanent reduction of U.S. troops abroad and a critic of the Patriot Act.
There are some more traditionally Libertarian fiscal positions, too, including support for reducing the federal deficit. Guthrie told me, "We Libertarians are fiscally responsible and the Republicans have definitely made themselves vulnerable with their overspending."
He criticizes Cantwell on that as well. From his campaign website:
Maria Cantwell has done nothing to shrink the huge budget deficits. In fact, she's approved every Republican request for an increase in public debt. That debt has become a huge burden for ourselves (just paying interest) and for our children.
He said he thinks he'll take votes from both major party candidates and may do polling to see which of his messages resonate the best with voters.
"Libertarians are traditionally thought of as taking votes from Republicans in the way that Greens could only take votes from Democrats. And I think there's a good argument to be made that I'll take from both sides.
Guthrie said he thinks his campaign could now be the best-financed Libertarian campaign in state history.
As required by the Federal Election Commission, Guthrie sent written notice of his personal spending plans yesterday to his opponents in the race. The self-financing triggers the FEC's so-called "Millionaire's Amendment," a law that will allow contribution limits to the other senate candidates to increase.
(CORRECTION: This does not automatically trigger the Millionaire's Amendment. Richard Pope raises this in the comments and another readers points me to the FEC explanation that says:
A candidate with a significant fundraising advantage over a self-financed opponent might not receive an increased contribution limit. In this way, the regulations avoid giving increased contribution limits to candidates whose campaigns have a significant fundraising advantage over their opponents.)
Guthrie was a Libertarian candidate for the 2nd Congressional District in 2002 and 2004.
Cantwell has raised $16.8 million so far. McGavick has raised $7.7 million, including $2 million of personal money he loaned his campaign. He said last week he has no plans to donate any more of his own money.
"I have no idea what it means or what he intends to spend the money on. He says right up front that he disagrees with Mike on gay marriage and the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq."
I haven't heard back from the Cantwell campaign.
Green Party candidate Aaron Dixon is also running for the senate. As of June 30 -- the most recent report available on-line at the FEC -- he had raised $33,826.
Posted by David Postman at 4:16 PM
Three liberal political action committees have joined together to try to defeat state Sen. Luke Esser, R-Bellevue. Seattle-based groups pushing for gun control, abortion rights and gay rights formed the Save the 48th Committee and will begin a TV ad campaign against Esser Sunday.
The committee is composed of the Ceasefire Action Committee, Equal Rights Washington PAC, and Planned Parenthood Votes. In an announcement, the groups said it is the first time they have banded together.
Their new PAC is focused on defeating Esser and replacing him with Rep. Rodney Tom, a former Republican who switched parties this year and filed to run against Esser.
Washington CeaseFire says it "has already produced a hardhitting TV ad highlighting Esser's poor record on gun safety" that begins airing Sunday. The group criticizes Esser for voting against a bill sponsored by Tom that would have required background checks to buy guns at gun shows.
There is also a fundraiser scheduled in October at the home of Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.
"I'm busy that night," Esser told me. He said that one of the group's main arguments against his candidacy is false. The group says on its website about regulating pharmacists:
Rodney believes all women should have access to birth control pills and plan B emergency contraception. Esser takes the extreme view that pharmacists should be able to deny you prescriptions your doctor has already approved.
"They actually got my position wrong. The only time I announced a position was on Robert Mak's show and I said I agreed with the governor. Maybe they think the governor is an extremist, I don't know. I'm pro-life, but I'm not anti-contraception."
UPDATE: Jon Scholes, vice president of Washington CeaseFire, said the groups "are following the Jim Horn model here -- teaming up with other progressives, focusing our resources and taking the chance with TV." Horn was the veteran Republican senator from Mercer Island defeated in 2004 by challenger Brian Weinstein.
The will run during Meet the Press Sunday morning and in the evening on KONG. Here's the ad:
Posted by David Postman at 8:37 AM
I'm participating in a couple of events I thought some of you might be interested in.
Monday night I will moderate a panel on the state Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act. It is before the Puget Sound Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society.
The panelists are a distinguished group: Dale Carpenter, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School and contributing blogger to Volokh Conspiracy, Steven O'Ban, an attorney who represented intervenors in the case who argued to uphold DOMA and Bradley Bagshaw who represented same-sex couples in the case arguing against the law.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Washington Athletic Club. You can get more information here.
On Saturday October 7, I will be at Town Hall for an 8 p.m. event called "Janeane Garofalo and Friends discuss Politics and the Press: Fair and Balanced or Lazy and Cowed?"
I'm a little worried I've been invited to represent the lazy and cowed side of things. I'll be the lone mainstream media type among a panel of liberals. The event is sponsored by Foolproof and is headlined by Garofalo, an actress and activist who until recently was host of a liberal talk-radio program. Also on the panel are David Goldstein of horsesass.org, Duncan Black, aka Atrios, and Matt Stoller who writes at Mydd.com. It will be moderated by Angie Coiro of Mother Jones Radio.
You can get more information here.
Posted by David Postman at 7:50 AM
It doesn't seem to be getting attention in the papers this morning but Sen. Maria Cantwell and her Republican challenger, Mike McGavick, have a substantive disagreement on the military tribunal bill approved by the Senate yesterday.
The bill would set up military trials for terror detainees and the debate had been forecast by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist as an important measure of where senators stand on the war on terror. That strategy stumbled some when Republican senators balked at President Bush's original proposal.
But in a race where McGavick has spent more time saying he and Cantwell held nearly identical position on the war in Iraq, the vote draws a distinction on a major national security issue.
The bill which would severely limit defendants' rights, passed 65-34.
Cantwell voted against it. McGavick said he would have supported it.
The New York Times points out that among the 12 Democrats who voted for the measure are some senators in the most difficult re-election fights.
But most Democrats saw little political danger in opposing Bush, according to the Times:
The most vivid example of the Democratic assessment came from the party's many presidential hopefuls in the Senate. All of them voted against the bill, apparently calculating that Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq has undercut the traditional Republican strength on national security and will insulate them from what are certain to be strong attacks from Republicans not only this year but also in 2008.
Cantwell issued a statement yesterday after the vote saying she supported an earlier version passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee but that the bill voted on yesterday "still has critical flaws."
The legislation voted on by the full Senate will permit the Bush Administration to undermine the Geneva Conventions, broadly expand the definition of enemy combatants, allow for coerced and secret evidence and abandon habeus corpus. For more than three years, our ability to try terrorists has been hampered by the Administration's refusal to abide by U.S. law. The provisions in this legislation may be once again deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, only further delaying our goal of bringing the terrorists to justice. Short-term political goals should never come ahead of America's long-term success in the war on terror.
McGavick issued two statements on the issue yesterday, one before the vote and one after. He found it "terribly disappointing" that Cantwell voted against it.
Too often in recent years the Senate hasn't made progress. This bill is an exception. The Bush administration came together with thoughtful critics like Senator McCain and produced a compromise bill designed to strengthen national security.
Another vote today is likely to show differences between the candidates. The Senate is set to vote on a bill that would build a 700-mile fence along the border with Mexico. Cantwell has opposed the move in the past and McGavick has supported it.
Posted by David Postman at 4:04 PM
Today is the last day of full-time work for Hal Spencer.
Hal works now in the governor's Office of Financial Management helping to translate budget talk into English and explaining complicated things with numbers to math-dopes like me.
Two consecutive governors have been lucky to have him. But when he slips off to retirement at the end of the day today I'll remember him much, much more for his 26 years of work as a journalist.
Hal was a mentor to me, whether he wanted to be or not. I've known him since 1982 when I got my first full-time journalism job. I was a public radio host in Alaska and he was in charge of the Associated Press bureau in Juneau. I knew him from his incredibly fast, sharp and accurate reporting of the Legislature as well as his yelling and arguing that were a frequent backdrop when I was on the telephone with reporters in the Capitol pressroom. Things had to be right for Hal. He'd always say, "When in doubt, leave it out." Don't guess, or fudge or think you remember something. Get it right the first time.
Later he took over the entire AP operation for Alaska. The first day I actually met him he was in the newsroom of the Anchorage Times. He was wearing wrinkled chinos and a beat up corduroy jacket. I remember standing a step or two back waiting for him to finish his conversation with the managing editor and noticing that the hem of his jacket had been repaired with staples. Lots of staples.
"Man," I thought. "That's one real reporter. I want to be just like him some day."
We later worked together at the Anchorage Daily News and then near by when we both ended up in Olympia. He has a temper and a sensitive soul and he can whip through the rage-shame cycle faster than any living human. If Hal left my office after dropping some F bombs as he critiqued my work, I'd know the phone would ring in minutes or an e-mail would pop up soon apologizing for the outburst -- though not for the substance of comments.
And he most often was right. In my 25 years or so of journalism I can think of few reporters who worked harder than Hal or were any more committed to fairness and objectivity than he was. He wasn't afraid to call bull; on sources, colleagues, competitors, bosses, family members, pets, or strangers.
He really loved being a reporter and always pushed those around him to be better at it. I don't expect his badgering to stop just because he's retiring. He's not quite 61 and has a lot of years left to keep pushing.
In honor of his retirement all of us in the press corps should work a little harder and be unafraid of what anyone in power will say about our work. And when we lose it and tell an editor off or tell a source he's boring the hell out of us, we should honor Hal again and be quick to apologize.
(I'm pretty sure he still wears that coat, too.)
Posted by David Postman at 11:53 AM
THE PUBLIC DISCLOSURE COMMISSION
The PDC calls this graphic showing funding sources of independent expenditures "The Wheel of Fortune."
Members of the Public Disclosure Commission say independent expenditures are corrupting the state's elections. The commission wants to consider a ban on corporate and union involvement in independent expenditure campaigns. At a meeting in Olympia where they were briefed on the $2.6 million spent on independent expenditures in the primary, commission members asked the staff to look at ways the spending can be controlled.
Commission Chairwoman Jane Noland said the commission wants "to reduce the amount of independent expenditures ... and to ensure that yhey come from a broader array of sources."
"The only reasonable conclusion you can draw from those facts is that the entities, the corporations, trade associations, unions, have taken control of the election process. By the simple volume of the money being spent, they have taken over that, pre-empted if you will the voters and individual citizens.
"We have two different concepts clashing here. As a state we have approved contribution limits and on the other hand though, we have these independent expenditures which make a mockery of those contribution limits ... and so I'm hoping that we can look at this broadly in terms of the spirit of campaign contribution limits and what we can do to really enhance that so that they work and so individuals feel they have a part of this and it's not controlled by a few very wealthy entities."
Posted by David Postman at 10:55 AM
The Public Disclosure Commission is meeting now on the Capital Campus to get a briefing on independent expenditures in the 2006 primary campaigns. You can watch the meeting on TVW on the TV or on the web.
PDC Executive Director Vicki Rippie is walking the commission through a PowerPoint presentation on independent expenditures. That should be available online later and I'll post it here. You can see all independent expenditures done in the primary here at the PDC site.
There was a total of $2.1 million spent on independent expenditures in the state Supreme Court races. The PDC tally shows that in the two big races, Chief Justice Gerry Alexander vs. John Groen and Justice Susan Owens vs. Sen. Steve Johnson, conservatives far out spent liberals.
Backers of Johnson and Groen, primarily the Building Industry Association of Washington, spent $1.5 million, while Alexander's and Owen's backers spent $402,461.
Other findings include that 54 percent of all independent expenditures was spent on TV advertising, 27 percent on mail, 8 percent on radio, 4 percent on billboards, 2 percent on newspapers, 2 percent in movie theaters and 1 percent on doorbelling.
MORE: In all primary races, $2.6 million was spent on independent expenditures. In addition to the $2.1 million on Supreme Court races, there was $11,243 on Court of Appeals races and $547,550 on legislative races.
Of the legislative races, more than half of that was spent in the 35th District Democratic Senate primary between incumbent Sen. Tim Sheldon and Kyle Taylor Lucas. Sheldon won that race easily. Rippie said that 39 percent of the independent expenditures in that race came from out of state. And most of that went to oppose Sheldon.
MORE: Rippie told the commission that she thinks that the amount of money spent on independent expenditures makes it "ripe for discussion" whether current state laws are enough to regulate the spending and "if there are approaches that have been implemented at the federal level that are worth considering."
Rippie said that federal courts have upheld further restrictions on the "power of aggregated" money seen in independent expenditure campaigns because it distorts the "process and actually constitutes a kind of corruption in the political arena."
Posted by David Postman at 10:16 AM
On Mike McGavick's campaign blog his staff digs into Maria Cantwell's new TV ad on drug prices.
The McGavick campaign also questions Cantwell's position in support of "safe reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada."
That's a fine idea as well, and Mike supports it, but Senator Cantwell hasn't always thought it such a good idea.
(I like how McGavick's campaign is using the blog in blog fashion. It's not just a series of press releases or photos. There's a little bit of attitude there and links to the videos and back up information.)
I sent a link to McGavick's blog to the Cantwell campaign and asked for its response. Spokeswoman Katharine Lister said prescription drug policy is a major difference in the campaign and said Cantwell has been trying to lower the cost of drugs and called McGavick "an insurance industry lobbyist and CEO, who cut health benefits at his company and has taken tens of thousands of dollars from big drug and insurance companies ... ."
"The other thing worth noting is McGavick's continuing cherry picking of the facts to attack Senator Cantwell, while refusing to state any clear position. "For example, after 18 years in the Senate, Senator Gorton, in an election year conversion, filed a bill. But once again, McGavick's campaign isn't telling the whole truth. The Gorton bill that Cantwell and others called a gimmick had nothing to do with reimportation. It was a bill no one would even co-sponsor when he introduced it. "Does McGavick support Gorton's bill? He won't say. Does he support Cantwell's legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices? Once again, he equivocates. McGavick keeps attacking Maria Cantwell, when she has fought for changes only to see them blocked by a Republican Congress."
Posted by David Postman at 7:28 AM
That Monday Wall Street Journal article that focuses on our Senate race in a national round up of sorts contains this nugget I missed in my first reading:
Ms. Cantwell has more money than Mr. McGavick, and while Republican leaders had hopes the wealthy businessman would spend more of his own money, he says he has no plans to go beyond the $2 million he has lent his campaign.
So no more money moving from McGavick's personal bank account to the campaign? If he put more of his own in it would lift campaign donation limits for Cantwell, something McGavick wants to avoid. I asked McGavick campaign spokesman Elliott Bundy about it and he said only:
"At this time, there are no plans for a further personal contribution."
UPDATE: The Hill covers self-financed candidates today, including McGavick:
McGavick, who received $28 million after leaving as CEO of Safeco Corp. last year, plugged $2 million into his noncompetitive primary in August and declared that he didn't plan on contributing any more. He told The Hill on Wednesday that he is sticking with that plan for the time being and that he doesn't anticipate he'll need to supplement his fundraising.
Posted by David Postman at 7:17 AM
Horsesass.org says that newspapers in Washington are helping to fund the initiative to repeal the estate tax. And it's not this paper. That's still an opportunity for Goldy to trash Times publisher Frank Blethen some more. But wade through that and you'll see The Columbian has given $5,000 and Pioneer Newspapers, which owns a chain of small papers, including the Skagit Valley Herald and the Ellensburg Record, has given $25,000.
Blethen has said he will not make financial contributions to the campaign and I have not heard anything to think that has changed. Blethen and Times lobbyist Jill Mackie have discussed the initiative with its sponsors and backers and, Blethen said in August, "may be involved on the periphery."
I feel for the reporters in Vancouver and at Pioneer papers in the state, because there's no question that when the corporate side of the paper involves itself in politics it makes it harder for those of us on the news side.
Blethen and I talked about that in August for a post here about his lobbying on the federal estate tax:
Blethen said he knows that people in the newsroom are uncomfortable with his political activity on the estate tax. He said editor Mike Fancher has made it clear on many occasions and said former Managing Editor Alex MacLeod was "far less subtle. He just looked me in the eye and said, 'You shouldn't be doing this.' And I'd say, 'Your job is to make sure we don't affect anything you do.' "
MORE: Yhese newspaper contributions did not go to Dennis Falk's group that sponsored the initiative and got it on the ballot. Instead the papers are giving to Keeping Washington Family Business Alive, the group started by the NFIB and the Association of Washington Business to push 920.
As Blethen said above, news people don't like it when the business side gets involved in politics. But the editorial side needs to worry, too. The day after The Columbian donation, the paper ran an op-ed piece by AWB President Don Brunell promoting I-920, with no mention of the paper's involvement in the campaign.
Posted by David Postman at 3:58 PM
The Legislative Ethics Board has dismissed a complaint against Rep. Toby Nixon, R-Kirkland, that had been filed by the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. Nixon is running for the Senate in the 45th District.
The board called the complaint nonsense and found it "unsupported by any facts."
Democrats filed the complaint after seeing a press release about Nixon's Senate candidacy in the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce newsletter. At the bottom of the release it said to contact Rebecca Japhet for more information. Japhet is a legislative employee and heads the Senate Republican communications office. She is barred by law from doing any campaign-related work.
But she didn't. It turns out that the attribution to Japhet was an error on the part of the chamber staff and she had nothing to do with Nixon's release — as Nixon has maintained.
Last week the Democratic campaign committee asked the ethics board to remove Japhet's name from the complaint because, "After further investigation, we are satisfied that Ms. Japhet had no role in her name appearing on Rep. Nixon's press release in the May 2006 edition of the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce publication Off the Vine."
But Democrats wanted Nixon's name to remain on the complaint. That made no sense to the ethics board. In its dismissal order today, the board said that recognizing that Japhet did nothing wrong means the entire complaint is without merit:
If that is true, and we conclude today after investigation there is no evidence to the contrary, the complainant seems to be left with only the inference that Rep. Nixon or his campaign staff would for some reason intentionally place a partial attribution to this legislative employee on the campaign release. That inference is nonsensical as well as unsupported by any facts.
UPDATE: Here's the board's order.
Posted by David Postman at 11:27 AM
In the spring when Sen. Maria Cantwell was still routinely getting beat up by anti-war activists in the Democratic Party I wondered in this space how much of a problem this really would be for her re-election chances.
In May, thinking I was clever and ready to move the story, I asked, "Any chance this all could help Cantwell because it makes her appear more moderate, not part of the Seattle liberal elite that Republicans love to bash?"
But maybe I wasn't clever enough. Since last week's primary I've been wondering — and only partly in jest — if Cantwell didn't concoct or at least play up the anti-war criticism of her. Why? Because when she creamed her primary opponents she'd emerge in the fall as a powerhouse.
Look at this story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal that focused on Cantwell's race with Mike McGavick:
After she refused in January to call her war vote a mistake, liberals' rebelliousness built. Two potentially worrisome candidates surfaced. Meanwhile, state and national pundits were praising Mr. McGavick. By late June, a Seattle paper headlined its poll story, "Cantwell's Lead Nearly Gone."
And this from the McClatchy News Service roundup of Senate races:
Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell survived a primary challenge over her vote to authorize the Iraq war. Now, antiwar voters may have nowhere else to go, and Cantwell leads Republican Mike McGavick, a former insurance executive.
Were Cantwell's primary opponents ever "worrisome"? Was there any question she would survive that challenge? That poll about Cantwell's evaporating lead was splashed on the front page at a time when the average lead she had in public polls was almost 10 percent.
There were several million reasons and dollars that separated Connecticut's Ned Lamont from anyone running against Cantwell. There never was a serious challenge here.
Maybe McGavick should have played up Brad Klippert's campaign and stories this week would mention how he beat back a challenge from Right to Life forces.
MORE: Speaking of Cantwell's anti-war critics: When Mark Wilson was still running against Maria Cantwell I don't think he had a stronger supporter than Chad Shue, a Democratic peace activist in Snohomish County who writes at The Left Shue.
Mark, please tell me it isn't so. Please tell me that you would not be involved in any effort to buy off the competition! Tell me this isn't the type of outreach Senator Cantwell had in mind when she hired you to work on her campaign. Or, wait! Maybe you should say that you did do this and that you were acting alone as a sort of "rogue operative" and that Senator Cantwell had no knowledge of this action! That would be much better. Or not! I don't see, if there is any truth to this allegation, how this makes anyone at Camp Cantwell look good.
Posted by David Postman at 9:09 AM
UPDATE: Eli Sanders points out that Reichert's position makes him even more a skeptic of global warming than President Bush is.
Posted by David Postman at 4:16 PM
Chase Gallagher of Shelton is the winner in the Postman on Politics Pick-a-Party Primary Prognostication contest.
Gallagher, 22, is campaign manager for Democrat Mike Rechner who is running against House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt. Gallagher graduated from UW last year.
There were a few other entries that came close to Gallagher. But where he sealed his victory was in the 43rd Legislative District. He picked the correct finish for four of six candidates.
Most entries picked the Supreme Court races correct and most chose Tim Sheldon to win in the 35th. Most guessed wrong in the 26th Legislative District Senate race, where Jim Hines beat Lois McMahan in the Republican primary.
Congratulations to Gallagher. His prize is on the way.
Posted by David Postman at 12:29 PM
If Mike McGavick is looking for more daylight between him and the Bush Administration he can look at his call to ban Iran from the World Cup. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says it's the sort of thing that could have strengthened anti-American sentiments in Iran.
In an interview yesterday with the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, Rice was asked, "What do you think about a gasoline embargo on Iran?"
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I just ... I don't think that it was anything that you have to look at it in the near term and I'm not sure that it would have the desired effect. One of the problems that we have is if indeed you would like not to have a situation in which you reinforce the leadership's desire to make their people feel that America is anti-Iranian people, then you want to stay away from things that have a bad effect on the Iranian people to the degree that you can. You know, we've talked ...quot; people have talked for instance about barring Iranian students or barring Iranian ...quot; there was at one point the World Cup, you know, bar them from the World Cup or something like that.
Posted by David Postman at 8:10 AM
The Building Industry Association of Washington commissioned a poll immediately after last week's primary to see what worked and what didn't in their expensive, but unsuccessful, campaign to elect John Groen to the Supreme Court and to try to figure out what to do different in their effort to help Sen. Stephen Johnson beat Justice Susan Owens in November.
Among the questions were favorable/unfavorable ratings for BIAW, the SEIU ... the union that was one of the top donors to Citizens to Uphold the Constitution which opposed BIAW candidates ... as well as for Groen, Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, Owens and Johnson.
Respondents were asked who they voted for in the Groen/Alexander race and why they voted that way. They were asked if the vote was more for supporting Alexander or opposing Groen and were given a sliding scale of one to five to show how important different factors were in their vote. Those included whether they thought Alexander had been on the bench too long, Alexander's support for Justice Bobbe Bridge after her arrest for drunken driving, that John Groen was a "right-wing extremist," that Groen opposed stem cell research and abortion, that Groen was funded by big-money special interests, and whether Alexander won because he was more experienced or because of the BIAW's attack ads against him.
McCabe said he learned some things from the poll. He doesn't think his ads were negative. But, he said, if you accept that they are as the Times and other papers said, the poll showed "negative ads are successful. They were successful in generating a lot of no votes for John Groen and yes votes for Gerry Alexander."
"The other side's ads were really good," McCabe said. The most successful lines of attack, he said, was calling Groen a right-winger and saying that he opposed abortion and stem cell research. "The numbers really jumped considerably on those two issues."
"When you say he is a right-wing extremist in a state where most people identify themselves as moderate or liberal, that really makes an impression on people."
Looking ahead to the Johnson/Owens race, the BIAW asked, "If you knew nothing else about two candidates besides the fact that one was a man and one was a woman, for whom would you vote?"
McCabe said the poll found a 13 percent advantage for the female candidate.
"We've got a sisterhood in this state that is just interesting. ... It's not a surprise that we have two U.S. senators who are women, a governor who is a woman, four Supreme Court justices who are women. Is that different than in other states? I think it is."
And that poses a challenge for Johnson and his backers at the BIAW.
"Susan Owens' positives are really high primarily because she is a woman. People don't even know what she looks like or how she voted or where she's from."
A man running against a woman needs to watch his image carefully. It is difficult for any anti-abortion candidate to win statewide here. And to try to neutralize the gender gap as much as possible a candidate needs to avoid appearing as, say, a "shifty brute," which is how Ralph Thomas described the portrayal of Groen in an opposition ad.
Instead, McCabe said, Republican men running statewide need to appear "as a sensitive, caring guy, like Rob McKenna or Dino Rossi, and I think they both did a pretty good job."
MORE: Steve Johnson issued a press release this morning with a letter he sent supporters "outlining his plan to run a clean, fair and truthful campaign in the remaining weeks of his campaign." Johnson had no specific criticisms of ads run so far, but said in the release, "This action was precipitated by a series of controversial ads aired on both sides of the Groen/Alexander race leading up to the recent primary election."
Johnson said he wants Owens "as well as outside interest groups" to honor his three guideliens: "All facts and statements shall be grounded in truth and relevance. Personal attacks are out of bounds. My campaign will focus on my judicial philosophy, my qualifications and decisions of the Court.
How could an expensive loss be good for business? Because it showed business was willing to strike against creeping "Spitzerism." Strassel calls New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer "Chief Persecutor of Wall Street."
Mr. Groen lost last week, but barely. Across the country, incumbent judges--who are rarely challenged, much less seriously so--began shaking in their robes.
Posted by David Postman at 9:40 PM
Green Party Senate candidate Aaron Dixon says someone on Maria Cantwell's campaign tried to talk him into quitting the race with the promise that the senator's supporters would donate money to the non-profit group that Dixon founded.
Cantwell campaign spokeswoman Katharine Lister said she did not know of any staffer in contact with Dixon and said no one on the campaign "was authorized to speak with Mr. Dixon about his candidacy This is consistent with the Cantwell campaign's strict policy of not hiring felons."
(There was no allegation that he was offered a job, but Lister is obviously referring to Dixon's criminal record, as reported by horsesass.org and the Spokesman Review. Dixon responded to the reports on his website.)
Dixon's allegations were reported today by Joshua Frank at World News Trust, a "grassroots, independent news media project." Frank wrote:
As Dixon tells it, "Mark [Wilson] called and basically told me that a lot of people have a lot of money within the Cantwell campaign, and he said that they could put on a fundraiser for Central House that would 'blow my mind.' He called a week later and basically told me the same thing. I didn't bite, ending this war is too important."
Wilson is Cantwell's former Democratic primary opponent who folded his campaign and took an $8,000-a-month job with the senator's re-election campaign.
Earlier tonight I talked with Dixon spokesman Mike Gillis. He confirmed Frank's report. He says the calls came in July right before the deadline for filing for office.
"There were heavy implications that Central House would be getting a lot of money if Aaron would drop out of the race, which is about as close to a buy-out as you can get.
Dixon founded Central House in 2002 to provide housing for homeless teenagers.
Gillis said Dixon has not talked about the calls publicly until the interview with Frank. "We were planning on it coming out eventually," he said. When Frank asked Dixon about the calls, Dixon told him what happened.
Gillis repeated the allegation that someone else with the Cantwell campaign also contacted Dixon, but he wouldn't say who it was. Gillis checked with the campaign manager to see if he could tell me who it was, but he called back to say the campaign was not ready to release that information. But he said the name would be released in the future.
I'm not sure why the Dixon campaign would withhold that bit of information while confirming the rest of the story, or why the campaign sat on the story since July.
I wish I could talk to Wilson about this directly. But he has not responded to questions since going to work for Cantwell and the campaign says he will not be made available to talk about this. Lister's statements clearly say there was no official approach made to Dixon and she didn't know of anything unofficial, either. But she doesn't say it didn't happen. Wilson is the one who could answer that.
Posted by David Postman at 4:23 PM
Gov. Christine Gregoire says she won't host a dinner in the Governor's Mansion for a couple who won the honor at a fundraiser for Darcy Burner. Instead, the governor says she'll take them out to dinner.
"They don't want to embarrass me and they don't want to embarrass Darcy. So they'd just as soon not do that. ... They'd like to have the opportunity to have dinner with myself and my husband. So I'll probably take them to dinner somewhere."
The governor made her comments this morning in response to questions about the $4,000 dinner at the mansion auctioned off at a recent fundraiser for Burner, the Democratic candidate in the 8th Congressional District.
There's no embarrassment on Gregoire's part. She seemed more angry than anything about questions raised about the propriety of using the mansion for political purposes. She makes living in the beautiful home sound like an awful burden — and perhaps unlivable if she isn't able to have dinner with whomever she wants:
"I think there's fundamentally something wrong when I can't invite somebody into my private quarters at the mansion, buy food and my husband and I make them a dinner. I think there's something wrong with that, OK?
Gregoire's statements were firm, but she was not exactly clear. In general she makes no distinction between overtly political events like the dinner to raise money for Burner, charity events like something to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club, or her own private life.
She said she's never done a political event there and never before auctioned off a dinner for a campaign fundraiser.
So by not doing that now all the fun has been sapped out of living in the mansion? She makes it sound like a marble prison.
There's a clear difference between charity events and political events. There are social events, too. The press was invited to the mansion recently for a reception. Legislative leaders are there frequently during the session. The governor can have all the friends she wants to for dinner. She could invite random people off the streets.
In fact, there's no evidence she can't have fundraisers there if she wants to. But apparently the reaction in some quarters to the Burner dinner lead the winning bidders to change their mind and take their dinner elsewhere.
Gregoire said she and her husband, Mike, have worked to open the mansion more to the public. That's a great thing. It's a beautiful building and I wish more people could see it. They have guidelines for use of the building, including the very smart decision not to hold charity events there unless she or Mike are in attendance.
"So the place isn't up for rent," Gregoire said. "The place isn't up for sale."
I don't know why the governor seemed so perturbed about this. She thought it was OK to hold the dinner. Republicans complained, as did some bloggers. I questioned the political judgment of the move. But no one has ruled it can't be done. If she believes so strongly she should be allowed to do it, then she should go ahead.
But no one should confuse charity with politics.
Posted by David Postman at 11:21 AM
The 43rd District is now the only legislative district in Seattle without a single female representative.
Barnett posted in response to what she said was sexism in the comments in this Slog post about Stephanie Pure.
Posted by David Postman at 9:23 AM
Record spending in court races and the nasty ad campaigns have some on the left saying it's time to stop electing judges in Washington. The P-I editorial board said:
Rather than leave such important decisions to the vagaries of the public vote, or to the narrow scope of political appointments, Washington's justice system would be improved by a combination of independent committee selection of appointments and retention elections for judges.
For David Goldstein at horsesass.org, it's as much or more Richard Pope's good showing last week than the Supreme Court races that leads him to say:
It is time to stop electing judges. We need to create some sort of nonpartisan commission to interview and nominate slates of candidates from which the Governor is free to make appointments. And we need to institute regular retention votes, through which voters can remove sitting judges based on their performance on the bench, rather than in a name-familiarity contest.
It's not going to happen. This battle has been fought several times before. And in a state that still — in some counties — elects partisan coroners, there is little support to take away voters' power in electing judges.
There's been teeth-gnashing over politics in judicial races for nearly 100 years. Judges used to run partisan races, according to "A Century of Judging," the late Charles Sheldon's excellent history of the state Supreme Court. (No one should be allowed to argue about the court without having read the book.) That ended in 1910 because of fears the judiciary was being politicized.
There have been attempts to change the system since at least 1966 with the Citizens Committee on Washington Courts. The group's call for retention elections went nowhere.
The most recent major effort came in 1996 with the Walsh Commission, which called for judges to be appointed and then stand for retention elections.
The Walsh proposal, in effect, shows no confidence in the voters and drains all of the blood from the judicial election process. The citizens deserve a direct voice in the judicial selection process. Insulating Supreme Court justices from the sound and fury of short-term political pressures while preserving the right of the people to freely choose their judges is the best compromise.
Gov. Christine Gregoire has criticized the role money is playing in the court races, and also has been raising money for court incumbents. She says voters here don't want Washington judicial races to become like some other states' races, "where literally, it's about money and politics."
But she doesn't support changing how judges are elected. I asked her about it at a July 17 press conference and she said the Walsh Commission report "didn't catch on politically."
"The public really wants to vote and I respect that."
I'm confident that the system we have will be around for a long time to come.
Posted by David Postman at 2:06 PM
I had all these really smart things I was going to write about last night's primary but then I remembered I'm on my way to take my son to college. So I'll largely let the primary results stew for a few days.
I'll also be sifting through the entries in the primary contest.
In short, I don't think the primary results tell us anything at all about what might happen in November. But please use this comment thread to disagree if you have found some deeper meaning.
Posted by David Postman at 10:29 AM
Former New York City Mayor and potential presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani will come to the state Oct. 9 to help Mike McGavick. Giuliani is the sort of moderate and independent Republican McGavick wants to surround himself with. No details yet.
Posted by David Postman at 8:30 AM
Posted by David Postman at 8:05 AM
It is not at all clear to me why King County is so slow in counting ballots.
Before the election, the election office posted the "2006 King County Primary and Special Elections Results Schedule." It explained that polling place votes would be counted slower this year because results would not be electronically transferred from polling places. But, the county said the posting of absentee ballots counted will not be affected.
But last night, when the count of absentee ballots was slow, the county issued a press release: "Pick-a-party primary slows vote tabulation".
Interim Elections Director Jim Buck said it was a matter of being extra careful. He was quoted as saying, "We are taking the extra time necessary to make sure everyone's vote is counted accurately."
Buck went on to explain that because many voters didn't pick a party on their ballots, tabulation machines spit the ballots back and staff were forced to first manually inspect the ballot and then manually override the tabulation machines so non-partisan races could be counted.
But numbers provided by the county in the press release show that workers were actually counting faster this year than in 2004. In 24 hours in 2004 they counted 70,299 absentee ballots. Yesterday they counted for 12 hours, and counted 45,521 absentee ballots. Math is not my strong suit, but at that rate they were on course to count 91,042 over 24 hours.
Posted by David Postman at 10:48 PM
Whether you thought the campaign against Chief Justice Gerry Alexander was nasty or just an effort to draw a stark distinction between him and challenger John Groen, get ready for more of the same. The race between Justice Susan Owens and challenger state Sen. Stephen Johnson may set the same tone.
I just talked to Tom McCabe, executive vice president of the Building Industry Association of Washington, who said he thinks that Groen did well tonight and he has no regrets about the campaign that his group ran against Alexander.
"I still think all the ads we did were fair and all the ads we did were true. But I think what we do in the Johnson race will be the same."
McCabe said he didn't think the anti-Alexander campaign was particularly tough. He said he'd consider a TV ad that criticized Alexander for supporting Justice Bobbe Bridge after her drunken driving arrest a "tougher spot. But I wouldn't consider it untrue and I wouldn't consider it unfair."
I've been wondering in recent days if Alexander could have been helped by all the effort against him. Not just as a backlash, but because the ads used his name, not Groen's, and perhaps that could have driven up Alexander's name recognition. McCabe said he doesn't think so. He said the BIAW's polling showed Alexander with pretty good name recognition before the campaign.
He also pointed to Spokane as something of a test market. There, the Alexander campaign and its allies at Citizens to Uphold the Constitution were not running television advertising, so the BIAW ads went unanswered. And there was not the
McCabe thinks Groen will run again. And he hopes he will. Justice Jim Johnson, another BIAW-backed candidate, won his seat on the court after first losing a race.
"I think everything conservative-leaning, free-market oriented people do in this state is a long-term battle. Nothing comes easy. We're in a liberal state, with, frankly in my opinion, a liberal media, with a liberal establishment. ... Most people that try to do what we try to do give up because it's depressing. But I'm not going to give up and I don't think John Groen will give up."
Posted by David Postman at 9:33 PM
Mike McGavick just gave a short speech to supporters in his Seattle campaign headquarters. He said that when he began the campaign he was "relatively unknown," but his certain win tonight shows he dominates "our own party." (He didn't mention which party that was in his speech.)
He criticized Cantwell and the Democrats for trying to tie him to President Bush, though. "Frankly if she wanted to run against George Bush she missed it by two years," he said.
McGavick brought up his favorite campaign theme of civility several times. But the speech seemed to focus as much on issues. He said, "I think the differences in this election are profound." He said he'd vote to spend less than Maria Cantwell, but cut more taxes than her. Along with Social Security, those are what McGavick called the big differences between him and Cantwell.
He said there are smaller differences, too. He repeated one of his very first campaign positions, criticizing Cantwell for voting to retain Social Security benefits for illegal aliens who later become citizens. He said he was unhappy that his recent call to drug test some welfare recipients was "met with a wave of derision" from the Cantwell campaign.
On civility, he said Cantwell and the Democrats — he uses the GOP-approved appellation "Democrat Party" — are running a "good cop/bad cop" campaign where Cantwell sticks to the high road but party operatives take the hard shots. He's right about that, though his own party does much the same thing.
MORE: Dino Rossi, the GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2004, was at McGavick's headquarters. He said he had just called Sen. Tim Sheldon to offer his congratulations. Sheldon, a renegade Democrat who backed Rossi for governor, faced a well-financed primary opponent in Kyle Taylor Lucas. "Now he's bulletproof," Rossi said of Sheldon.
UPDATE: After getting a decent write up in the New York Times today, McGavick slips in the eyes of the paper of record:
In Washington state, Sen. Maria Cantwell won the Democratic primary for Senate, and Mike McGavick, a former insurance salesman, won the Republican Senate primary, both by large margins, The Associated Press reported.
He was an insurance company CEO, of course, and I'm pretty sure he was never peddling policies.
UPDATE: Kelly Steele, the Democratic Party spokesman who has taken the most shots at McGavick, said Cantwell has been "doing her job full-time in Washington, D.C." so the party has focused on McGavick.
They did a little of that tonight. Cantwell issued a statement tonight. It makes no mention of McGavick and says, in part:
"I will continue to run a true, issues based campaign. I will continue to fight to make sure Social Security remains a safety net for America's seniors. We need to change the course in Iraq so our troops can start coming home this year. We need to make health care and prescription drugs affordable for everyone in Washington state, especially our seniors. We need to lower energy costs so working families aren't paying for oil company record profits. "
The party issued a press release criticizing McGavick for his plan to fly to D.C. for fundraisers. The release refers to McGavick as, "The former Slade Gorton chief-of-staff turned high-priced insurance industry lobbyist turned wealthy insurance CEO turned Republican US Senate candidate."
Democrats will hold a press conference in the morning with Governor Chris Gregoire, House Speaker Frank Chopp, party chairman Dwight Pelz and labor council president Rick Bender.
Posted by David Postman at 8:31 PM
I'm at Hong Tran's Broadview home where a couple dozen people have gathered to watch returns with the candidate and her family. Tran obviously knows that even the earliest returns will show her long-shot campaign against Sen. Maria Cantwell will be a symbolic effort.
But in an interview, she expressed no regrets about her nearly five month campaign in the Democratic primary. And she thinks her anti-war platform has made a difference:
"I think it would have been a much easier path for Cantwell if I hadn't run. Even her efforts to sound more anti-war wouldn't have happened."
Tran says she doesn't think Cantwell has changed her position at all and she doubts that many anti-war Democrats were truly swayed by what the senator has said in recent months about the war.
"The only people it reaches are the people who were going to vote for her anyway and now they can just feel better about it."
She has little to say about Mark Wilson, the first anti-war candidate to get in the Democratic primary who went to work for the Cantwell campaign as a high-priced outreach director. She said he "cashed in."
This is the first election party Tran has ever attended. Her career has been solely with non-profits, mostly as an attorney providing legal services to the poor. She seemed quite focused tonight on the dominating role money plays in politics.
She said that a lot of people tried to compare her, mostly unfavorably, to Ned Lamont, who unseated Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary in Connecticut. "Ned Lamont is like a trillionaire," she said. "It's only because he has money and he's running against Lieberman, who everyone hates, that makes people like him. His history is not being a progressive."
Tran says much of that critique is true of Darcy Burner, the Democrat running against Rep. Dave Reichert, and the darling of the Democrats this year.
"People have really been enamored of her. But she has no public service background. She's another millionaire running. ... Unfortunately a lot of voters think when someone has money it makes them legitimate." (I don't know that she is a millionaire.)
Tran said she expects she will run for office again. She quit her job to campaign full time and she doesn't know what she'll do next, but she's confident public service will play a role.
She and her campaign manager, Jesse Blaisdell, are thinking about writing an article about "how undemocratic the Democratic Party really is." And she's thinking about joining the lawsuit against the state's primary system.
She said a lot of Democrats, including party and elected officials, have said they want her to talk about future campaigns. She had earlier considered running against Congressman Jim McDermott. And she still talks like a potential opponent.
"He's like this icon. People think that Jim McDermott epitomizes a good liberal and his voting record would not be any different than mine. But to be in a position like that, in such a safe district, you could do so much more."
She said McDermott has based his career on being "antagonistic with Republicans and be critical of people" and should instead use his tenure to do more for the district.
Posted by David Postman at 2:30 PM
A Michigan-based Muslim charity that helped pay for Congressman Jim McDermott's pre-war trip to Iraq was raided yesterday by federal law enforcement officials.
Counterterrorism agents of the FBI and IRS raided what is believed to be one of the biggest Muslim charities in the United States, hauling away a truckload of documents and computers from its Southfield office.
It was reported in 2003 that the group, along with the Church Council of Greater Seattle, paid for McDermott and two other Democratic congressmen to fly to Iraq in 2002.
McDermott and the charity also shared a controversial contributor, Detroit businessman Shakir al-Khafaji, as reported in this 2004 story.
McDermott, D-Seattle, returned a $5,000 contribution from al-Khafaji, who had accompanied McDermott on his highly publicized trip to Iraq in 2002.
The businessman has been linked to the U.N. oil scandal in Iraq as well.
I've put a call into McDermott's office for comment.
UPDATE: I just spoke with McDermott spokesman Mike DeCesare.
He said McDermott was invited to Iraq by the church council, not the Michigan group.
"Jim was asked time and again by the folks there to go see what others had seen and were concerned about, which was the plight of Iraqi children," DeCesare said. "That was the genesis of the whole trip."
He said his recollection was that the funding of the trip was worked out after McDermott accepted the invitation. When he was told who paid for it, he reported it as required on disclosure forms.
"We've been straight forward about it because it's a pretty straight forward thing," he said.
Posted by David Postman at 11:46 AM
The Cantwell campaign has sent a response of sorts to my question of last week about what the senator thinks of Mike McGavick's call to drug test some welfare recipients.
Michael Meehan, the campaign's chief strategist, said in a statement that the campaign will "not comment on old Republican plans that try to divide us." But he does comment a little.
As he continues to fall further behind in the polls, tearing a page out of Bob Dole's presidential campaign to attack people on welfare is another sad chapter in the McGavick campaign. Washington state has made progress on this since it was passed in the 1996 welfare reforms. In fact, Washington state already does provide initial screening, already does work to help drug-affected families.
Posted by David Postman at 8:18 AM
Green Party Senate candidate Aaron Dixon does not appear on today's primary ballot, but he hopes to use election day to draw attention to the "the rigged nature of the two-party system," according to a campaign press release.
It's hard to argue with Dixon when he says, " These major party primary elections are over before they've begun." There are very few contested primaries today.
Dixon will hold a forum on Capital Hill tonight to discuss the primary system and make his pitch for a third party candidacy. He will appear with Elaine Brown, the only woman to ever have led the Black Panthers. She's an author and has run for office herself as a Green candidate for mayor of Brunswick, Georgia. She was disqualified from that race, as a candidate and a voter, because she couldn't show proof of residency.
In an interview with CounterPunch magazine during her mayoral campaign, Brown explained why she was running under the Green banner, a question that Dixon gets, too.
This was a slave-holding nation from the get go. So I don't care a thing about the Republicans or the Democrats any more than I distinguish between the Confederate flag and the United States flag. It's all one flag to me. All of these people promoted slavery and the oppression of Black people.
Posted by David Postman at 7:54 AM
On the front page of the New York Times today is an excellent overview of the race between Sen. Maria Cantwell and Republican Mike McGavick.
Correspondent William Yardley says the pressures Cantwell feels from anti-war critics in her own party are far different than from what cost Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman his race. In Connecticut there was no well-financed Republican who could take advantage of a Democrat weakened in a primary.
After all, unlike in Connecticut, the question here is not whether another Democrat will unseat Ms. Cantwell. Instead, the wild card is whether antiwar opponents will peel away enough support to leave her vulnerable to the Republican opponent, Mike McGavick, a former insurance executive who recently put $2 million of his own money into his campaign.
One tiny error in the piece. It was First Lady Laura Bush, not Barbara, who campaigned here for McGavick.
UPDATE: Josh Feit doesn't like the NYT story much. At the Slog he says "the article overplays the compromise angle" of what Cantwell has done to appease the anti-war forces in the state.
As evidence that Cantwell's changed her tune? The NYT cites the bill Cantwell sponsored with Sen. Joseph Biden in early August prohibiting permanent bases in Iraq (that's a solid example, but it's all they've really got.)
I don't read that at all as evidence to back up a claim that Cantwell has changed her position on the war. The story left me with just the opposite impression. There are statements from Chuck Schumer, Michael Meehan and Cantwell herself making the point that she has not made any substantive change - as I've been saying for some time - but has worked harder to communicate her position.
There's a piece of Feit's post that bugs me much more, though. He explains what he sees as the Times missing the story this way:
The liberal NYT wanted a neat story that explains why a Democrat who has got more in common with Joe Lieberman than Russ Feingold is a-okay in 2006--a weird phenomenon that doesn't live up to conventional wisdom about the war and this season's supposedly renergized Democratic party with its supposed backbone transplant. So, the NYT fudges it to make it look like Cantwell is responding to anti-war critics.
It is the worst sort of criticism of a reporter to say that a story was driven by an ideological or partisan bias. I find it impossible to believe that Yardley was under any orders to find the liberal angle or was following some self-imposed ideological agenda. There are times certainly that reporters go out to find stories that aren't really there; that the facts don't back up. I don't think that's the case here, either. But there are ways to criticize the story without playing into the public's growing distrust of the mainstream media by blaming bias for any shortcoming. (Besides, there is a growing number of people who find it hard to accept the NY Times as a liberal paper.)
UPDATE: Another small error was pointed out to me. Dal LaMagna wasn't hired by the Cantwell campaign. He's volunteering as co-chair.
Posted by David Postman at 1:52 PM
Secretary of State Sam Reed did an informal sampling around the state to see how well voters were doing filling out their pick-a-party primary ballots. The numbers have been changing, so these are not necessarily current. Snohomish, for example, showed 21 percent rejection rate last week, but over the weekend had improved to around 12 percent, according to Reed's office. Some other numbers:
Peter Callaghan in The News Tribune said no one should be surprised that voters refusing, or failing, to show their party preference.
Here's what should surprise elections officials: A lot of voters are actually choosing a party, even though the parties have left voters with no real choices. While nonpartisan judge races have created all sorts of competition, the partisan races for Congress, state Legislature and county offices are mostly choices of one.
In the Peninsula Gateway John Earl wrote about the primary, too.
The two major parties have worked very hard to enforce party discipline. The result is that our September primaries resemble a coronation more than an election. In the process, voters are given less and less choice, and have subsequently grown more and more dissatisfied with the government that we eventually receive. If you get the feeling your voice is being minimized or marginalized, that's because it is.
In The Spokesman-Review, Rich Roesler says the grange is committed to getting rid of the current primary.
All you have to do is pretty much take the party affiliation off the ballots," says Dan Hammock. "Right now, the parties have basically a stranglehold on the entire system."
Makes one nostalgic.
At The Stranger, Josh Feit lectures readers on the primary.
Posted by David Postman at 7:03 AM
I'm scheduled to be on KUOW's Weekday this morning at 9 to talk about the primary. I'll be on with Joni Balter of the Times and Joel Connelly of the PI. Call in and ask some tough questions.
Posted by David Postman at 7:00 AM
The first time I tried to have a contest on the blog the prize was never claimed. That has led me to believe that the person who guessed closest to what the Supreme Court was going to do on gay marriage was a court insider and wearing a Seattle Times t-shirt around the Temple of Justice would have given him or her away.
So, Plessy Ferguson, whoever you may be, and everyone else, here's another chance. Before 8 p.m. tomorrow e-mail me your best guess for primary election results and I'll have the boss spring for a Timestastic prize. Put "primary contest" in the subject line.
Here's what you've got to do: Pick the winners, and order of all finishers, in the Supreme Court races, the 43rd District Democratic primary, the 35th District Democratic senate primary and the 26th District Republican senate primary. The tie-breaker, if necessary, will be the actual percentage vote totals for in the Alexander/Groen race.
Posted by David Postman at 12:19 PM
I see from Talking Points Memo that about $1.8 million was spent Friday by the National Republican Congressional Committee to oppose Democratic House candidates across the country.
There is a $25,586 expenditure for mail opposing Democrat Darcy Burner in her effort to unseat 8th District Congressman Dave Reichert. But of the 20 races the NRCC spent money on Friday, the Burner/Reichert race has gotten the least amount so far this year. The $41,861 spent on the race is less than half the next smallest amount, and far below most of what the other races have gotten.
Democrats last week also spent money on independent expenditures, but don't appear to have included the 8th District. You can see at PoliticalMoneyLine the 100 most recent independent expenditures.
Posted by David Postman at 3:12 PM
(UPDATE: Fuiten e-mails to say that he is no longer heading Faith & Freedom, but is doing his "overt political work" through two PACS he operates, Committee for Religious Freedom and Committee for Judicial Restraint. )
He was talking too fast for me to take complete notes, but he was urging me to vote for John Groen, Steve Johnson and Jeanette Burrage. He listed several things that he said that if I didn't want, I should vote for his slate. I wrote down three, gay marriage, a judge who left the scene of an accident -- a clear reference to Justice Tom Chambers who's being challenged by Burrage -- and, curiously, driving drunk.
None of the incumbent judges up for election this year have been accused of drunken driving. Justice Bobbe Bridge was, and the Building Industry Association of Washington has attacked Chief Justice Gerry Alexander for saying the court supported Bridge following her arrest.
But Fuiten's message would leave the clear impression to someone not familiar with the court that a justice running this year had faced a charge of driving while drunk. That seems pretty misleading.
On gay marriage, Alexander voted to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act and did not support gay marriage. In fact, after the court ruled Fuiten said Alexander's stance changed the dynamic of his race against Groen:
There were two legs under Groen, one was gay marriage and one was property rights," Fuiten said. "He lost one leg."
Backers of Groen complained last week that an ad from Citizens to Uphold the Constitution, who support Alexander, were wrong to say that Groen was backed by people who "oppose stem cell research and a woman's right to choose." Tom McCabe, executive vice president of the BIAW, said Fuiten had done nothing to help Groen but unsuccessfully recruit workers for the campaign. Clearly now he has done more.
The phone call ended with the disclosure of who paid for it and the top donors, as required for independent expenditures. It all went too fast for me to catch, though.
Jon A. DeVore got the same call, and recorded it. I just listened to it and transcribed it.
Joe Fuiten here on why your vote matters.
The Committee for Religious Freedom has reported a total of $15,250 in donations. The Public Disclosure Commission reports show that $250 came from Fuiten's Faith & Freedom Network. The rest came earlier this month from Lynwood homebuilder Larry Sundquist and his wife, Diane.
The Sundquists are already major players in the homebuilders' efforts in court races this year. They gave Groen $25,000 before new campaign limits went into effect for this campaign season and $32,500 to Change PAC, one of the BIAW political action committees which fund ad campaigns for Groen.
UPDATE: You can listen to the call here.
UPDATE: Fuiten responded to a question I e-mailed him about the call and specifically what he meant by raising the issue of drunken driving. He said:
My comments were general to the court and not tied to any one judge. I am concerned for the low standard being set by this court, evidenced by the hit and run and drunk driving, which is what I was speaking to.
SUNDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Alexander's campaign criticized Fuiten's recorded calls and the reference to Bridge:
But this year's Supreme Court elections have no bearing on whether Justice Bobbe Bridge retains her seat. Justice Bridge is not on the 2006 ballot. Stu Morgan, campaign manager for Justice Alexander, said, "I'm just amazed at the levels to which they will sink. The fact that John Groen has refused to repudiate these gutter tactics should be of great concern to voters indicate to voters that Justice Alexander needs to be re-elected if we want to keep fairness and integrity on the bench."
Posted by David Postman at 5:47 PM
Gov. Christine Gregoire last night auctioned off a dinner in the Governor's Mansion as a fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidate Darcy Burner. Said the Northwest Progressive Institute in its live blogging of the event:
The Governor ended her remarks by announcing a surprise, instant auction to raise money for Darcy Burner. She offered a dinner for two at the Governor's Mansion in December and kicked off the bidding at $100. The winning bid ended up being nearly $4,000.
Attorney and judicial candidate Richard Pope has filed an ethics complaint over the auction. He wrote to the Executive Ethics Board and Attorney General Rob McKenna:
This conduct by Ms. Gregoire appears to clearly violate both RCW 42.52.160 and RCW 42.52.180. The Governor's Mansion in Olympia is state property and a facility of a state agency — namely the Governor's Office. The state dinner being auctioned to benefit Ms. Burner's political campaign would be eaten at the Governor's Mansion, and would also be prepared and served by state employees performing their official duties. State employees would also be used to schedule and otherwise facilitate this state dinner.
Sound Politics has the same concerns.
The mansion is operated by a non-profit group called The Governor's Mansion Foundation. On its Web site it points out it is a "non-political organization founded in 1972 to furnish and maintain the public areas of the Executive Mansion."
I don't know if it is any sort of ethics violation. But even if it is completely legal, what sort of political judgment led the governor to open the official residence to political fundraising? Two words should have headed that off: Lincoln Bedroom.
Posted by David Postman at 5:19 PM
It seems to fall short of its target, though. It accuses Reichert of failing to pass recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. But the provisions in the bills he's accused of keeping bottled up were in another piece of legislation passed overwhelmingly by the House in May 2005. Reichert is chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science and Technology.
The ad also criticizes Reichert for standing with President Bush on the Iraq war. One of the votes cited by Majority Action to back up the claim is a 2005 vote on a defense appropriations bill that had wide Democratic support. A yes vote could hardly be seen as a measure of blind support of the president. The bill passed 388 to 43. In the Washington delegation, Democrats Rick Larsen, Adam Smith, Jay Inslee and Norm Dicks, voted along with Reichert and Republicans Cathy McMorris and Doc Hastings. Democrat Jim McDermott voted against the measure and Democrat Brian Baird did not vote.
Majority Action is led by a heavyweight group of former members of Congress and Democratic party leaders. The group says it will focus on 10-15 key races against Republican incumbents. Unfortunately the group's Web site includes no contact information so I could not ask any questions about the ad or find out how widely it will be shown. Horsesass.org says a week of ads has been bought on cable.
The ad opens with video of President Bush talking about Iraq, with shots of Reichert at a podium and a backdrop of soldiers at war.
President Bush: "We must stay the course."
Reichert opponents may not count former Sen. Slade Gorton as a credible source for fact-checking the ad, given his support for the GOP incumbent. But Gorton has been outspoken in his criticism of Congress and the administration for failing to act on key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. His work on the commission was praised by people of both parties. And in this case, the record appears to back him up.
In its final report the commission gave Congress an "F" for failing to allocate homeland security funds based on risk. Gorton said the money had been doled out based on political concerns instead, and the commission wanted to create a new formula.
But that was done with the passage of H.R. 1544 in May 2005, Gorton said. Reichert was a co-sponsor of the bill. Reichert wrote Gorton a letter Sept. 5 asking him to clarify that the bill satisfied the commission's recommendation. Gorton told me earlier today he hasn't written back yet, but said, "My answer to that question is 'yes.' The House, and Reichert included, deserve a very good grade on that recommendation. It has been the Senate that is a stumbling block."
As an example of the problem in the Senate, Gorton points to Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Susan Collins, R-Maine, who he calls one of the best senators in office today. Gorton said Collins was great after the 2004 elections in pushing through many recommendations from the 9/11 commission, but not the change in the funding formula.
"She's from Maine," Gorton said, "and with respect to this formula, she's protecting Maine, which would get damn little" under the system approved by the House.
The ad is misleading at best in its criticism of Reichert's role with homeland security funding.
Posted by David Postman at 3:44 PM
Lynn Allen, who writes at the Evergreen Politics blog, went to see Jim Hightower last night at Town Hall. Allen had a chance to ask Hightower on camera about his long history with Karl Rove, who just happened to be in town today.
You can watch a clip of the interview here:
and see a prominent
Posted by David Postman at 2:54 PM
Voters in southwest Washington are getting robo-calls from an unknown source opposing the re-election of Division II Appeals Court Judge Joel Penoyar.
The taped calls — at least the one a reader sent me — do not say which group sponsored them or who the group's top five donors are, as the law requires with any independent expenditure. And that's what the calls appear to be.
Penoyar's opponent, Brent Boger, just told me he is not responsible for the calls. Boger is a deputy Vancouver city attorney and a former chairman of the Clark County Republican Party. He said no one asked him about the calls before they were made, and "if anybody had asked me I would have asked them not to do it."
Alex Hays, executive director of the Constitutional Law PAC, which backs Boger, said his group didn't make the calls either. But Hays may know who did. He said someone called him recently to ask if they should make the calls. Hays said he said no, and urged the person not to do it.
"We hate negative campaigns," Hays said. "It harms people's trust in the court. It harms the candidates themselves. This ad is so over the top." But Hays wouldn't say who it was who called him because he couldn't be sure that person was responsible for the calls.
I got a recording and transcript of the call from reader Jon A. DeVore of Vancouver. The message in a female voice said:
Hi. My name is Harriet Miller, and I am deeply concerned about the children of Washington state. Did you know that Joel Penoyar, who is running for re-election as judge, actually released a convicted child molester before he was sentenced so he could go commercial fishing?
The call refers to a case Penoyar handled while a Superior Court judge. He was appointed to the court of appeals last year.
According to a story in The Columbian, Boger has raised the case before in the campaign. Penoyar did release a convicted sex offender, David Tarabochia, from jail so he could go commercial fishing. Tarabochia was later sentenced to 10 Â½ years in jail, according to the paper.
Penoyar told the Columbian, "Judges make thousands of tough decisions. If I had to make this one again I might make it differently."
Boger said he thinks the case is a legitimate issue in the campaign, and one of the reasons he decided to run against Penoyar. He said he has talked about it at newspaper editorial boards and with people who Penoyar was soliciting for endorsements, but has "not spent one penny of campaign money publicizing" the case.
Posted by David Postman at 12:17 PM
Congressman Dave Reichert today got rid of $5,000 his campaign had gotten from Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who this morning pled guilty to two criminal charges related to the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal.
Reichert's campaign sent a $5,000 check to the Kent Pediatric Interim Care Center, said campaign spokesman Carol Beaudu. Two of Reichert's adopted grandchildren had prenatal exposure to drugs and were successfully treated at the center.
The check was in the mail, Beaudu said, as soon as they heard about Ney's plea and before I had a chance to ask her about the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee's statement calling on Reichert to give the money back.
The DCCC statement said:
"We knew this day was coming and now that Ney has decided to trade the back room for the courtroom, will Washington State Republican Dave Reichert do the right thing and return Ney's tainted money?" asked Bill Burton, communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
UPDATE: Eli Sanders says Cathy McMorris is also dumping her Ney money.
Posted by David Postman at 11:43 AM
My column in the paper today is about the growing expense and nastiness of state Supreme Court races.
My point is that no one should be surprised given the trends of the past 12 years. This is the system, where judges run for election in increasingly more expensive media markets, while we try to act as if they're not politicians.
I was just talking to former Sen. Slade Gorton, who is one of the leaders of the Constitutional Law PAC, a group that backs Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, Justice Tom Chambers and one Supreme Court challenger, state Sen. Steve Johnson, R-Kent, who is in the race against Justice Susan Owens.
Gorton says politics are a natural part of the system and reflects the court's role in society:
"When judges decide that they are going to set social and political policies, they're going to find themselves in political races. It's very easy to say that these races ought to be based only on lawyers' determination of who is the best lawyer, but that just isn't a valid statement when we have so many really profound social decisions being made by judges.
Posted by David Postman at 9:00 AM
University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato is out with his latest Crystal Ball. He says the overriding emotion that ran through the 2006 primary season is anger. And there's little sign that will change into the fall. He says Democrats and Republicans are mad at each other, of course, but are also directing anger at fellow party members. And voters are agitated.
Some analyses have improperly categorized 2006's rage as solely "anti-incumbent;" and though the electorate is more anti-incumbent than it has been since 1994, the anger we witness is multi-dimensional. Certainly, incumbents of all stripes have a lot to lose this year, and Democrats can be targeted as well as Republicans: just ask the endangered Democratic governors in Michigan, Wisconsin, and other states. ... When voters go wild, when they want to lash out, they can strike any available target. Since the Republicans control all federal branches, they will suffer most from the electorate's surly mood, but no one is guaranteed an exemption.
There's a little chaos theory at work here. Candidates of all persuasions are hoping that the amorphous anger will play their way. You can see it here in the most traditional sense in the 8th Congressional District. Darcy Burner wants to tie Congressman Dave Reichert to President Bush as closely as possible so that Bush Anger becomes Reichert Anger.
In the Senate race, Republican Mike McGavick has a more difficult chore. He needs voter anger to be aimed at incumbents of all parties, which is why as much as he talks about Sen. Maria Cantwell, or maybe even more, he talks about the failings of everyone in Washington, D.C.
Posted by David Postman at 6:58 AM
Sen. Maria Cantwell and Mike McGavick, her Republican challenger, agree that U.N. peacekeeping forces should be deployed immediately to the Darfur region of Sudan. They also agree that President Bush should appoint a special envoy to the region and to impose a no-fly zone in Darfur with the backing of U.S. allies.
That was the thrust of a resolution approved Wednesday night by the Senate. Cantwell was a co-sponsor. She said in a statement:
The recent rise in violence and U.N. warnings about the worsening humanitarian situation make it all the more important that we act urgently and redouble our efforts to stop the widespread killing in Darfur.
McGavick spokesman Elliott Bundy said that McGavick agrees:
He said the situation in Darfur has been ignored by the international community for too long and it is appropriate that the UN step up to end the horrific violence in the region. This is a time when the UN could prove itself useful in helping solve this humanitarian crisis.
In other issues in the Senate campaign, McGavick this week proposed mandatory substance-abuse screening for some welfare recipients.
He wants a three-strikes provision for people with children that could include mandatory testing and treatment, reduction of welfare benefits and even loss of parental rights. Here's the Tri-City Herald story about the announcement made there in a speech and at an "Open Mike" session.
I asked the Cantwell campaign for the senator's position on this twice yesterday but did not get a response.
The PI editorial board doesn't like the idea. The best they said was "McGavick's plan isn't entirely out of right field."
Posted by David Postman at 8:09 AM
Posted by David Postman at 4:31 PM
The Sunlight Network has an idea for giving people more information about what their federal lawmakers are doing to earn their public salaries. You can make some money out of the deal, too.
The group has launched The Punch Clock Campaign:
We are offering members of the public a "goodwill bounty," or fee, of $1,000 for each Member of Congress, and $250 for each candidate, that they persuade to sign the Punch Clock Agreement, an agreement to put their daily schedules on the Internet.
(Thanks Boing Boing.)
Posted by David Postman at 3:48 PM
John Groen issued a press release earlier today saying that a TV ad criticizing him includes false and irresponsible allegations. The ad is paid for by Citizens to Uphold the Constitution, a group of liberal interest groups supporting court incumbents, including Groen's opponent, Chief Justice Gerry Alexander.
Groen's press release says:
John Groen asks that his opponent disavow these ads.
But wait. Less than a week ago Groen was asked about an anti-Alexander TV ad sponsored by Groen's No. 1 backer, the Building Industry Association of Washington.
What did he say then, when asked whether he agreed with the ad's implication that Alexander was getting too old for the court? He said it was against the law for him to say anything about the ad because it came from an independent group. He was wrong about the law, as Ralph Thomas reported:
Groen refused to comment on the BIAW ad, citing a state law that bars candidates from coordinating with groups that are running independent campaigns.
Posted by David Postman at 12:59 PM
The Building Industry Association of Washington is sharpening its attack on Chief Justice Gerry Alexander in the final days of his re-election campaign against attorney John Groen.
The BIAW has already been plenty tough on Alexander. The PAC backing Alexander said in a release today that anti-Alexander ads "imply Alexander is a dotty old man who sympathizes with child killers and drunks."
The most recent ad went on the air yesterday and attacks Alexander for his support of Justice Bobbe Bridge after her 2003 arrest for drunken driving and hit and run.
It is a very tough ad, replete with scary music, oh-so-serious narrator and the worst possible photos of Alexander.
Here's the script:
Announcer: Seattle 2003. Justice Bobee Bridge is arrested for drunk driving and hit and run.
Bridge was arrested for driving while drunk and for hit and run. The hit and run charge was dropped, and the DUI settled when a Seattle Municipal Court judge accepted Bridge's request for deferred prosecution. That meant she had to admit she had an alcohol problem and get treatment.
The day after Bridge's arrest, the AP reported:
Chief Justice Gerry Alexander told KING-TV he hopes Bridge will remain on the court.
And that is what the BIAW is hammering Alexander for. A graphic in the TV ad says over a picture of Alexander: "Gerry Alexander says he's '... fully supportive of her.' " That is credited to KATU TV in Portland and I'm not sure if it was the exact same clip.
Every quote I could find quoted Alexander saying "we were fully supportive," as Alexander appears to be speaking for other justices as well, not that he personally was supportive.
But really, whether he was expressing his singular support or the court's collectively as friends and colleagues, what exactly is Alexander being condemned for?
BIAW executive vice president Tom McCabe told me, "All we're trying to do is educate people about the issues."
And what is the issue in this ad?
McCabe: "The message, I think, is Gerry Alexander is more interested in protecting a colleague than in protecting the public."
I told McCabe I didn't read anything in Alexander's comments to mean he didn't think Bridge violated the law, or that she shouldn't be punished for it. It was, I thought, the blandest of collegial support being offered.
"I don't think he should have said anything. Again, jurists that I talked to and even some lawyers said he should not have said anything. If he supported her he should have said that privately because it is case that could have come before the court."
I've written at least twice before about inaccuracies in attacks from the liberal groups supporting Alexander and other court incumbents this year. Neither side has a monopoly on the truth. But the Alexander ad about Bridge is one of the more negative ads I've seen in a long time.
This race has had no shortage of false claims, exaggerations and nastiness.
Both sides have asked local TV stations to pull the other guy's ads. Today, Citizens to Uphold the Constitution, a liberal-backed group supporting court incumbents,
The latest ad from Citizens to Uphold the Constitution attacks Groen and his financial supporters. Here's the script:
Narrator: Justice for sale?
Groen and the BIAW have said the ad is inaccurate and unfair. Groen says he hasn't taken a position on the issues raised in the ad.
The source the group gives to back up its claims is the Public Disclosure Commission. That's pretty vague, and leaves plenty of gray area about which groups backing Groen "want to gut protections" for the environment. The mention of skirting the law refers to some individual builders who donated large amounts to Groen's campaign right before new donation limits went into effect. The BIAW, by far the largest donor to Groen, did not do that.
As for the claim about abortion, the ad cites as its source the Faith & Freedom Network. McCabe said that's unfair because the group has done nothing to help the campaign. They did put out a call for workers for the BIAW-backed campaign, but McCabe said no one ever was hired through those channels. Nonetheless, the conservative religious organization's Web site still encourages its supporters to back conservative judges and continues to advertise for jobs with the campaign.
The next six days are going to be wild as we see new records set for money spent on court races and the ads get nastier to grab attention of last-minute voters. I'll try to keep up with the ads the best I can. And remember, if you get interesting last-minute mail send it my way.
UPDATE: Steve Zemke at Majority Rules Blog says he has also filed a PDC complaint against Groen's backers.
Posted by David Postman at 9:55 AM
Eli Sanders has a fascinating e-mail exchange up at The Slog with Martin Tobias, the Seattle man who will be hosting a Friday Karl Rove fundraiser for Congressman Dave Reichert.
Sanders says Tobias is a "real live Republican-fund-raising, biodiesel-supporting, Dave-Reichert-endorsing resident of Seattle (not in the 8th District!) who disagrees with Rove on "the gay issue."
Tobias wrote Sanders:
The fundraiser is for Dave Reichert who is a big supporter of biodiesel as part of the solution to improve homeland security. I am a support of politicians of both parties who are serious about reducing our dependence on foreign oil and improving our domestic economy by keeping that money at home. That is an American value, not a left or right value. Regardless of how I may feel personally about Karl Rove or any other administration official, he is in a position to make a difference in this government's policies toward renewable fuels and having direct access to him and the other politicians current running the country is a good thing.
And Sanders asks Tobias:
Also, this question is out of left field, but a friend was looking at your blog and your mention of "Alex," plus the links to the design of your new house, prompted him to wonder whether you are gay.
He's not. Alex is his wife. But left unanswered is exactly what does a gay house design look like?
Posted by David Postman at 9:09 AM
Last Thursday I was at Channel 9 to appear on KCTS Connects to talk about the elections. Before the political panel went on, host Enrique Cerna first interviewed former Sen. and 9/11 Commissioner Slade Gorton on the state of the world. That interview was on tape.
Then as I and the other pundits watched on a TV in the green room, Cerna was in the studio interviewing travel writer Rick Steves "on how America is handling the war on terror." Steves has written some in the local papers about his political view of the world and it is a distinctly liberal view. He's criticized President Bush's foreign policy and supports legalizing marijuana. He said in an op-ed column in this paper:
The greatest risk to our society today is not Islamo-fascist terrorism, but the people who use that term to scare us.
And he's made it clear before that he's not worried about any commercial backlash from his being outspoken.
"I have a responsibility to be a good citizen and to be outspoken," he said. "And not to worry about someone who doesn't want to use my guidebooks."
But when he started talking with Cerna I admit to being surprised at what he said. Steves said that we should get used to hundreds or thousands of Americans being killed by terrorists each year. Steves' point was that America is essentially "spending" lives of its citizens as the price for being a military superpower. He compared victims of terrorism to victims of gun violence in the country.
Here's the verbatim of what he said:
"I think we're 300 million people and if we lose a few hundred people a year to terrorists, that doesn't change who we are and it shouldn't change the fabric of our society. Frankly I think we should get used to losing — as long as we're taking the stance in the world of being the military superpower, you're going to have people nipping at you. And if it's hundreds or thousands — we lose 15,000 people a year to have the right to bear arms and most people think that's a good deal, year after year. We spend 15,000 people for the right to bear arms. What do we spend to be as aggressive and heavy weight on this planet? We're always going to have terrorism."
Steves told Cerna that he thinks the role of the travel writer changed after 9/11. He said it's a more serious job now, but compared it to a court jester of medieval times — someone charged with delivering sometimes bad news to powerful people.
Steves made a provocative counterpoint to Gorton. He certainly said things you don't usually hear in the mainstream media. Some of what he said was startling. At times he sounded almost flip. I think if thousands of people a year were killed in America by terrorists it would, and should, change the fabric of who we are. Steves also made points we've heard before, but perhaps it jumped out at me because it came from that mild-mannered, Mr. Rogers-like character that we've come to rely on for the good restaurant tips in London, not a leftist, geo-political critique.
Whatever the case, it seemed worth repeating here some of what he said.
Steves said America overestimates itself and doesn't give enough credit to its enemies:
"I'm really concerned right now when I listen to Slade Gorton. He's very committed to the safety of our nation and all of this, of course. But I'm afraid in all this talk of, 'we must not be complacent,' that we're forgetting, we're underestimating, the spine of the people we're fighting.
Americas, he said, have "created many more terrorists in the past five years than we have killed."
"Normally we talk about all of our motive is freedom and patriotism and democracy. We're pushing democracy. ... The rest of the world thinks that's laughable. Professors in Central America, I was just down in Central America, and leading professors, respected people, say when they hear the word democracy their bowels move. That's the phrase. It disgusts them because democracy has just been abused, the name democracy, for what our foreign policy is all about."
Steves said his extensive travels have obviously shaped his world view. He has almost an ex-pat's relationship with America and has a deep distrust of the commercial media here at home.
"I'm an odd duck here in America, and I look at the evening news on the commercial channel and I have a very cynical look at it because I see it as, it's just propaganda, spreading around this very potent cocktail of fear and patriotism that I think is messing up our perspective on this."
Posted by David Postman at 3:56 PM
I just read through the court file that exists from Mike McGavick's 1991 divorce. There's nothing there that is newsworthy, or even anything interesting. It looks just like many other divorce cases of far less prominent people. There's no story there for us.
The documents were obtained from the court in Bucks County, PA, by Times investigative reporter Susan Kelleher, who reviewed them carefully. What she saw was the original complaint and the final divorce decree. If there was ever anything other than that it doesn't exist in the records today.
It's unusual to mention things we look at that don't become news stories. But at least since McGavick called his divorce one of his "two great failures" there has been press and blogger interest in the GOP Senate candidate's divorce file. The curiosity was made greater because the file was kept private by court officials, as all divorce records are in Bucks County.
Or at least that used to the policy. After Kelleher's questions about accessing the records, court officials there told her that they were changing the decades-old policy of automatically making divorce files private unless one of the parties agreed to let them be seen. Officials there said the policy was in conflict with the state's open records law.
Posted by David Postman at 12:37 PM
Posted by David Postman at 11:19 AM
Secretary of State Sam Reed's office just released the final count of Tim Eyman's I-917. Eyman submitted 266,034 signatures that were checked and Reed's staff rejected 46,859 as invalid, either because the person was not a registered voter or had signed more than once. There were 10,604 duplicates among those rejected signatures.
Eyman needed 224,880 valid signatures to put the car tab measure on the November ballot. He had been given a preliminary count earlier that showed him falling short.
Reed says the count cost about $125,000. He will ask next year's Legislature for a supplemental appropriation to cover the cost.
Posted by David Postman at 9:45 AM
State Secretary of Transportation Doug MacDonald says he'll give $1,000 to the citizen with the best idea to help solve transportation problems in the state. And I've got the winning idea.
When I was growing up, my father, an engineer, worked on various transportation projects, including rapid transit systems and some of the earliest on-demand traffic signals. At one point he was noodling around with ideas to reduce rubber-necking at freeway accidents. The one idea I remember someone mentioning was giant inflatable walls that could block a crash from view.
But it was my mother who came up with the best idea: Giant signs at each accident scene that read, "Better Crash 5 Miles Ahead."
Pure genius. Go ahead and send me the check Mr. Secretary. Or better yet, send it to my mother. It'd be a nice way to commemorate her birthday today.
Posted by David Postman at 8:24 AM
Sen. Maria Cantwell has two TV ads running this week. They have similar national security themes but different tones depending on what side of the mountains you're on.
The east side of the state gets a tough, militaristic take on security, while on the west, it's more about the importance of jobs and security at the port and criticizing President Bush.
She says she's been pushing for locks and seals on containers and background checks for port workers.
The visuals are of the ports and with a casually dressed Cantwell talking with Puget Sound behind her.
On the more conservative, east side of the state — where Bush is more popular and Republicans dominate public office — there's no criticism of the administration. It's not Cantwell talking this time, but a deep-voiced male announcer.
The 30 second spot, "Security," mentions port and border security, Cantwell's work to keep F-15 fighter jets based in Portland — the only ones in the Northwest — and to provide new equipment to the National Guard.
The ad shows fighter jets on the runway, a speeding boat and border guard posts. Cantwell is shown in business attire at work in a dark-paneled office. The announcer's basso profundo says: "Maria Cantwell is fighting for us."
When I watched the two ads that began last Friday they seemed tailored to the state's two most distinct political regions. The ads don't contradict each other in any way. But the tone and imagery are as different as the weather patterns on each side of the Cascades. The eastern ad is tougher, militaristic, more male even.
Michael Meehan, Cantwell's chief campaign strategist, said the "two-tracking" of the ads is driven in part to capitalize on Cantwell's work on the fighter jets, which he said was a more important issue on the east side of the state.
"It's localized in terms of an accomplishment that we had news clips for," he said.
Both ads were in part a pre-emptive move to what the Cantwell campaign knew would be the Republican's focus on national security in the week of the Sept. 11 anniversary. Mike McGavick had already used an ad to criticize Cantwell on border security, which is why that is emphasized in both ads.
Posted by David Postman at 1:33 PM
The Hotline Blog issues a "Stock Footage Alert" after noticing the same waitress in a TV ad for Maria Cantwell and Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska.
The ad cuts to the waitress in question, and the viewer is implictly asked to link Cantwell's vote to the aspirations of the young woman on the videotape.
Posted by David Postman at 11:55 AM
Posted by David Postman at 9:25 AM
Four years ago I was assigned to write the story of how Washingtonians marked the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks:
The government doesn't have a multihued alert system to signal the appropriate level of mourning, patriotism or reflection. So before dawn yesterday Washington residents were largely on their own as they commemorated the first anniversary of terrorist attacks on America. Was it a day for flag waving or mourning? To go to work in defiance of terrorists, or pause to show national solidarity?
It was the first time in my life that I felt I was a witness to the shaping of American history, and even to the national character. I remember thinking that one day a national consensus would emerge about the day. The evolution of the anniversary would tell us something, I thought.
Four years later we are even further away from consensus. Politics have taken over the day to an extent I could not have imagined. On the second anniversary of the attacks Sen. Patty Murray was criticized for a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser she held in D.C. that morning. I doubt there are any fundraisers scheduled today in D.C. But much of the day's events are steeped in electoral politics.
The White House says President Bush's appearances are, as the New York Times reported, for "remembrance and a reminder of national resolve, not a moment for politics."
But nine weeks before a midterm election that many Republicans fear they may lose, it is impossible to separate remembrance and politics.
The Wall Street Journal was more stark in its report:
President Bush will visit the sites of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks Sunday and Monday for a series of events that the administration hopes can once more lift Republicans to victory.
President Bush's high profile on the anniversary certainly dominates the news. But Democrats invoke the anniversary, too. Sen. Maria Cantwell sent out a press release over the weekend to say she'd be asking TV stations not to run her campaign ads today. The Washington Times reports Democrats in the Maryland Senate primary are invoking the day as Tuesday's election approaches.
Will politics be at all muted today when the Senate is expected to resume debate on a port security bill? Or will there be the mandatory mentions of the anniversary before it devolves into whatever the day's version is of "cut and run" vs. "stay the course"?
We're clearly still not sure what to do with Sept. 11.
In the New York Times Sunday Book Review you can see a review of Judge Richard Posner's new book, "Not a Suicide Pact," where he argues that the courts need to give more weight to national security interests. It's right next to an ad for another new book, "Dog Heroes of September 11." Heroes of the air are honored in another new book, there is a comic book-like retelling of the 9-11 Commission report, and of course, ABC's docudrama that mixed fact and fiction in a way you'd think would be difficult to do this close to the actual events.
Maybe one sign that this day is going to someday look like many others is the cheesy commemorative coin with the pop-up twin towers that are "able to rise up into a breathtaking standing sculpture."
If you want to relive it what it felt like to be a distant spectator, CNN is streaming its Sept. 11, 2001, coverage in real time all day today. Maybe watching that is a way to keep politics from taking over the day.
Posted by David Postman at 3:34 PM
Mike Lowry's venerable shrimp feed fundraiser has been inherited by King County Councilman Bob Ferguson.
The "First Annual Bob Ferguson Shrimp Feed" is the 16th. Lowry will be there to "pass the plate and the tradition" to Ferguson. The two have known each other for years, but became closer in 2003 when Lowry was the only prominent Democratic politician to endorse Ferguson in his challenge to Cynthia Sullivan. "That was huge for me," Ferguson told me.
Lowry, the former governor and congressman and longtime Seattle liberal icon, once drew huge crowds for his shrimp feeds. When I arrived in the state in 1993 it was described to me in almost mythic terms. Lowry could always be counted on to give a rousing address to local Dems, as he did in 1990:
It was vintage Mike Lowry — eyes-flashing, fist-clenching, arms-waving, world-peace-mongering, Star Wars-bashing, gotta-reorder-our-priorities Mike Lowry.
And the crowds still came even as his one term as governor faded away and he battled allegations of sexual harassment. I covered the 1995 event where nearly 900 people showed up as some Democrats made a point of staying away as a way to urge Lowry not to run for re-election.
But the only discouraging word heard yesterday came late in the afternoon when a supporter shook Lowry's hand and said, "You have run out of beer, sir," before turning to leave.
Let that be a warning to you Councilman Ferguson.
Posted by David Postman at 10:22 AM
Mike McGavick is angry at me. He just called to talk about my column in the paper this morning about his character study of Bill Clinton.
There's one sentence that ticked McGavick off. I wrote that his confession about his DUI was an effort at "authenticity," one of the traits he says is largely missing in public life today. And, I wrote, "And in that, Clinton is his model."
"To say I consider him my model is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous," McGavick told me this morning. "The guy was knowingly dishonest and he never, ever, admitted a fault until hounded into that."
McGavick objected to just that sentence. "Model" was not the best word to describe McGavick's study of Clinton. It was one of those cases where a word didn't ring in my head like it did with the person I was writing about. The sentence was on the blog all day yesterday and I wish someone had raised the issue some time before it was in the paper today.
McGavick's certainly right that in the initial DUI confession he was volunteering something the public knew nothing about. It was not a case of being hounded or caught like Clinton and Monica Lewinksy.
My point was that in making a public apology McGavick had given a lot of thought to the issue, and had studied Clinton's "deeper quotient of authenticity" as compared to former UW football coach Rick Neuheisel. He never praised the former president's behavior. But he was interested in how the public reacted to Clinton because of that authenticity. And McGavick described authenticity as being "consistent in exposing your inner motivations ... so there is completeness to who you are."
He told me today that Clinton didn't understand the concept of authenticity as he meant it in his May speech that I wrote about.
"The public had already judged him to be a scoundrel," McGavick said. He said the public was compartmentalizing Clinton's public and private behavior and in "some respects they were OK as long as he did a good job at being president."
Posted by David Postman at 8:11 AM
This from a press release sent this morning:
John Kerry will travel to Keene, N.H., on Sunday, September 10, 2006 to stump for State Senate candidate Molly Kelly in District 10. Kerry will headline a free event with supporters at the home of Molly Kelly followed by door-to-door canvassing throughout Keene.
Yes, a state Senate candidate.
Posted by David Postman at 7:12 AM
In a follow up to Monday's Times story about Sen. Maria Cantwell and political consutlant and lobbyist Ron Doztauer, The Associated Press reports today Cantwell "helped arrange more than $11 million in federal money in the past year for projects benefiting clients" of Dotzauer and his firm.
Since last fall, Cantwell has helped persuade Senate appropriators to set aside $9.6 million — known as "earmarks" in congressional parlance — for a dam project benefiting two clients of Dotzauer's firm and $2 million more for the biotechnology company Inologic also represented by his firm.
Cantwell and Dotzauer have a long and complicated relationship. She worked for him, he worked for her, they dated, he's donated money to her campaign and she's given him a personal loan. From the AP:
"It is clear that this financial relationship web between the senator and the lobbyist creates a huge conflict of interest," said Ellen Miller, head of the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which is working to highlight how lawmakers use earmarks to reward special interests.
Posted by David Postman at 2:59 PM
Tim Eyman just sent the media
The Secretary of State will be reporting soon that the I-917 campaign turned in about 220,000 valid signatures, a few thousand short of qualifying. That's really close and the lesson we've learned is to work even harder from now on. This experience has also inspired us to rededicate ourselves to provide the voters with a greater voice in the political process.
Eyman needed 224,880 valid signatures of registered voters to qualify the initiative. He had claimed he turned in more than 300,000. When the secretary of state's office said it received only 266,006, Eyman said the others had been lost or stolen.
In June Eyman failed to get enough signatures on Referendum 65, which would have forced a vote on the state's new gay right's law.
Posted by David Postman at 11:00 AM
Posted by David Postman at 8:24 AM
If you've read Danny Westneat this morning you know he thinks it's time to move on from the Mike McGavick DUI story.
After dedicating his second column to the subject, Westneat asks: "Can we talk about something else now?"
Nope, not yet. Because something else Danny wrote grabbed my attention. He said of McGavick: "It was his Clintonesque impulse to spill out all his remorse that bugged me."
Bill Clinton is important in understanding why McGavick made his public confession. McGavick's open letter to voters was his try to live up to what he calls "authenticity." And in that, Clinton is his model.
The very philosophy of the public confession is a key piece of the foundation of McGavick's candidacy. Long before his decision to write about his drunken driving, divorce and more public misdeeds, McGavick gave a lot of thought to the art and/or science of PDA, the just-now-coined, Public Display of Apology.
In another plug for a fellow Timesman, Jim Brunner today reports on the 1988 Slade Gorton campaign that McGavick managed:
That race hinged, in part, on Gorton convincing voters he was sorry for having grown arrogant and aloof during his previous Senate term, a strategy that reflected "McGavick's personality more than Gorton's politics," a Seattle Times article noted at the time.
I saw this McGavick personality trait most clearly in one of the first major speeches I saw him give this year. It was at the Mainstream Republicans conference in May. (You can watch or listen to it at TVW.) McGavick began by talking about the decline of trust among Americans.
"Whether in the corporate world or the political world, we see less trust every day."
He said there were four words that were important in trying to rebuild trust: authenticity, transparency, diversity and civility.
McGavick said that authenticity is what some people would call integrity. But he said authenticity is a "richer word."
"Because authenticity to me means you are consistent in exposing your inner motivations. You are open and true to your motivations and honest and open about those motivations with others. So there is completeness to who you are. It is an authentic being. And we sense authenticity in a very powerful way. I think it is one of the great human skills."
To describe what he meant by authenticity, McGavick compared Clinton's Monica Lewinksy scandal to former UW football coach Rick Neuheisel's firing over his involvement in basketball gambling pools.
"In both cases I think any fair observer could say there were lapses in integrity. I think any fair observer could say that. But despite parallel lapses in integrity, one of those people kept their job and the other was thrown out of their job. And I thought hard about why is it that we had this different reaction. Because certainly we would say the stakes of the president are higher than the stakes of the football coach, especially when Husky football is performing poorly we say this."
McGavick said it was because even though no one was especially surprised that Clinton was unfaithful to his wife, the president had a "deeper quotient of authenticity."
"It was who we expected him to be in a sense. But we believed he had integrity when it came to his public trust, his service as president. And as a result, when he finally came clean there was some sense of forgiveness, completion and moving on. So we had a different reaction.
By most assessments, McGavick's confession did not end up projecting authenticity. But that wasn't because of lack of forethought on McGavick's part. He seems to have the theory down, but still needs work on the practice. Which could probably be said about most of us.
Posted by David Postman at 7:43 AM
This is from Congressman Jim McDermott's speech last night on the House floor:
The Republican Party will spend the next 30 days trying to make you afraid. They are afraid of losing power, and the only way they know how to govern is to play the fear game.
The code words, though, are fast slipping away.
ABC News' The Note reports that later this morning the conservative group Progress for America will announce a media campaign focusing on "the reason for the War on Terror." The event will feature David Beamer, father of Todd Beamer, a passenger on Flight 93.
The TV ad is called "They Want To Kill Us."
Posted by David Postman at 7:16 PM
The professional dominatrix business just isn't what it used to be. Mistress Madison is bouncing checks and unable to make good on her latest try at role-playing: GOP financier.
The Southern California dominatrix wrote a $1,000 check to Mike McGavick's campaign in June. The donation is listed on the FEC forms as coming from Janique Goff of La Jolla, Calif. The address for Madison Communications, the company she lists as owning on her FEC form, is the same as that for "Mistress Madison & All-leather Fantasies," according to this La Jolla city guide and other Web sites. In 1995 it was reported that Mistress Madison has legally changed her name from Janique Kilkeary Goff-Madison.
The McGavick campaign isn't sweating the donation, since the check was no good. Said campaign spokesman Elliott Bundy:
"Apparently business is slow at "Madison Communications," the check came into us non-sufficient funds. Too bad though, for a second I thought we had a chance to get the endorsement of the Stranger."
Mistress Madison is fairly well known in California, where she ran for Congress as a Reform Party candidate and helped spearhead a fetish community charity drive. In 1995 The Associated Press reported: "Madison said she chose the Reform party because the Republican party is too conservative and the Democratic party too liberal."
According to PoliticalMoneyLine Goff has donated a total of $8,500 to Republicans this cycle, with checks written to Minnesota Senate candidate Mark Kennedy, California Congressman Darrell Issa, Montana Sen. Conrad Burns, Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele and California Congressman Ken Calvert. She also gave to a political action committee that helps GOP senators and Senate candidates.
The Baltimore Sun figured out the Goff/Mistress Madison connection last week.
The GOP is a big tent
Goff may not be a Republican at all of course. If the checks are bouncing maybe it's part of a prank to put the GOP on the spot. I couldn't reach Goff this afternoon. (Note to editor: Please excuse my Google tracks as I searched for numbers for her under her various names and fields of expertise.)
Posted by David Postman at 7:54 AM
I'm going to be on Fox News at about 9:45 a.m. to talk about the Senate race.
Posted by David Postman at 7:47 AM
The New York Times reports this morning that Democrats and some Republicans agree that, "Attacking Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is a way to lift them to victory."
Senate Democrats want to introduce a resolution calling for a vote of no confidence in Rumsfeld. At the same time more Republican candidates for office have been open about their criticism of the defense secretary.
Mike McGavick is featured in the Times story as well as one in The Hill this morning. From The Hill:
"I sure don't feel good about the job he's done," McGavick said. "And if I'd have had my way, he'd have resigned long ago."
From the NY Times:
"If I had my way, he wouldn't be secretary of defense now," Mike McGavick, the Republican challenger to Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, said in an interview Tuesday. "I would have accepted his resignation after Abu Ghraib. I have lost confidence in him."
But McGavick wouldn't say what he thought about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's call for a vote of no confidence. He said it was up to President Bush to decide what to do with Rumsfeld.
Why is Rumsfeld suddenly a target of Republican candidates? I mean, other than the fact that he compared critics of the Iraq war to those who pushed for appeasing the Nazis and that the war effort he leads is increasing unpopular, and all the other things that might jump to mind.
Rumsfeld is a handy surrogate for Republicans who want to distance themselves from the Bush administration, and the unpopular war, without aiming anything directly at Bush.
The Times says:
For a small but growing number of Republicans, attacking Mr. Rumsfeld is a way to criticize how the war has been conducted without turning against the war itself.
And The Hill explains:
When it comes to President Bush, Republican candidates around the country are struggling with the well-publicized delicate balance between accepting his fundraising help and separating themselves from his unpopular leadership. So far, that balancing act has yet to yield any major candidates denouncing the president outright. When it comes to Bush's defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, however, the gloves are increasingly coming off.
UPDATE: A reader, Art Gary, e-mailed after I posted this yesterday, questioning whether it was accurate to say that Rumsfeld "compared critics of the Iraq war to those who pushed for appeasing the Nazis."
Gary wrote in defense of Rumsfeld:
He did not say Bush critics are the same as the appeasers of the 1930's. He wasn't specific like that. Why doesn't the media just quote him, and not interpret him? His speech is right there.
I went back and read the speech, too. I think the coverage was a fair reporting, and I told Gary that reporters have to condense, summarize and sometimes interpret.
But, you decide. Here's Rumsfeld's speech.
Posted by David Postman at 2:46 PM
On 710 KIRO, Dori Monson interviewed Mike McGavick just now about his drunken driving arrest. McGavick's spokesman said last week that McGavick wouldn't be talking about his 1993 DUI again in the campaign.
But Monson put McGavick through some tough but polite questions about discrepancies in the candidate's mea culpa and details that emerged with released of the police report.
McGavick said there was no attempt to mislead anyone and that his campaign tried to get the police report but was unable to find any records about the arrest that police in Maryland released to the media last week. He said if he had remembered all the details he would have included them in his open letter to voters.
"Why wouldn't I have? I wanted this out. I just said what I believed had happened and I was wrong on a couple of details, and I'm sorry that I was wrong on a couple of details."
Monson asked McGavick if he still drinks. "I enjoy a drink. Drink too much and drive? No. No, I will not," McGavick said.
But Monson pressed him on that, asking if he drives after drinking at all.
"Social drinking is a part of my life," McGavick said.
But why not have a zero tolerance policy about drinking and driving?
"Because I don't have any risk that I won't follow what I know is right. So, I don't feel the need to do that. The law takes all this into account, Dori."
If you are going to confess past foibles in the context of a political campaign, you need to put everything on the table -- not offer it up in bits and pieces. McGavick still has a chance to unseat Maria Cantwell (D), but it has diminished over the past week.
UPDATE: McGavick isn't just answering questions, he clearly seems to want to say more about the DUI and the fallout from release of the police report. He just sent this e-mail message to supporters:
Posted by David Postman at 11:26 AM
Republican Senate candidate Mike McGavick returned $14,000 in campaign contributions last week from employees and executives of an Alaska company at the center of a federal investigation.
McGavick campaign spokesman Elliott Bundy told me just now:
"as soon as word of the FBI investigation in Alaska broke, the campaign returned all contributions from employees of VECO. While the exact subject and people at the heart of the investigation have not been announced, Mike wanted to err on the side of caution."
VECO ranks No. 10 on a list of donors to McGavick's Senate campaign ranked by employer, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The center's website showed $12,000 had been given to McGavick by VECO Chairman Bill Allen, president Pete Leathard and other VECO employees. Bundy said $14,000 is the total.
Allen and his company have long been big supporters of Republicans in the Alaska Legislature and in key Congressional spots. That includes Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, a prominent McGavick backer, whose son, Ben, is the president of the Alaska Senate and whose office was searched by the FBI.
Stevens helped organize a fund raiser for McGavick in Alaska in April. Allen was among the co-sponsors listed on the invitation.
Few details are known about the Alaska investigation. But it is clear VECO is of interest to federal agents. My former employer, The Anchorage Daily News, reported:
Federal agents swarmed legislative offices around the state Thursday, executing search warrants in a coordinated series of raids that appeared to target the long-standing relationship between the oil field service company Veco and leading lawmakers.
UPDATE: McGavick's move frustrates Democratic efforts to play the Alaska investigation angle. The state party put out a release this morning calling on McGavick to return the money and saying, "McGavick continues his sellout to the corrupt big oil interests that are bankrolling his campaign."
But McGavick had already given the money back. Bundy said of the Democratic move:
"Their lack of originality is astounding."
It's Democrats who faced this question most recently. When the Jack Abramoff scandal exploded, Maria Cantwell first said she wouldn't return money from clients associated with the disgraced lobbyist. But then she announced she would give about $17,865, which included "any funds from organizations or individuals that have ever been connected to Abramoff based on media reports."
Sen. Patty Murray, though, kept the $35,000 in campaign donations she got from Abramoff tribal clients, saying at the time, "I will not rush to scapegoat those tribes who have already been victimized by Jack Abramoff."
Posted by David Postman at 9:31 AM
On this first day of the rest of the 2006 campaign season there's a plethora of news and views about the state's U.S. Senate race between Sen. Maria Cantwell and Republican challenger Mike McGavick.
Posted by David Postman at 8:55 AM
Over oatmeal and tea this morning Rep. Ed Murray told The Stranger's Eli Sanders that he has decided to weigh into the 43rd District race to replace him in the House.
Given the marriage decision from the supreme court, and given, in particular, the reprehensible language used in the decision, I believe that the political ground under the gay and lesbian community has shifted significantly. It was an earthquake of a setback and the need to move forward united and strong every place we can is the reason I'm endorsing Jamie ...
Sanders says Murray's endorsement could decide the race in the crowded Democratic primary.
Posted by David Postman at 5:40 PM
This intersection between the politics and the fashion it would appear to be at the corner of the Dull Street and the Boring Boulevard.
I'm off for a three-day weekend. Play nice, and I'll see you Tuesday when the election season officially begins.
Posted by David Postman at 9:10 AM
Jerry Cornfield of The Herald in Everett gets the first look at the Maryland police report about Mike McGavick's DUI. He writes this morning, "A Maryland police report obtained Thursday offers four pages of details that include McGavick's alleged failing of roadside sobriety tests, falling asleep during processing and registering a 0.17 blood alcohol level 90 minutes after being stopped."
McGavick said in his on-line confession that he was pulled over in the 1993 incident after he "cut a yellow light too close." According to the police report, the officer saw McGavick's Mazda Miata "drive through a steady red signal."
The McGavick campaign told Cornfield McGavick did not plan to talk any more in the campaign about the DUI.
UPDATE: Here's the report.
And here's The Seattle Times story on the police report.
Posted by David Postman at 8:02 AM
I grew up with Pluto as a planet, many of us grew up with Pluto as our ninth planet, and I think it should be grandfathered in or given honorary planetary status. Re-elect Pluto !!
Kilk's campaign has drawn quick media attention, including a mention on last night's Countdown with Keith Olberman on MSNBC. Here's the Columbian story that started what Kilk said has been "a little bit overwhelming but fun for me."
Kilk, a 45-year-old engineer at Hewlett-Packard, told me this morning he's also hearing from lots of regular folks ready to sign up for the campaign.
One woman wrote Kilk, "I have a 5 year old who was hilariously distraught about Pluto not being a planet anymore. How can we get a sign?" He's working on that.
Posted by David Postman at 7:36 AM
The Times includes Mike McGavick's recent confession among the surge of apologies it says is "remarkable in its frequency and sweep."
But it may all be for naught:
"None of these apologies are effective because no one believes them anymore," said Chuck Todd, editor of the daily political tip-sheet, Hotline.