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Eye On Olympia

More newspapers — including the S-R — backing Gregoire this time…

As the Gregoire campaign notes this morning, five more newspapers endorsed Gov. Chris Gregoire over Republican challenger Dino Rossi this weekend: The Spokesman-Review, Everett Herald, Bellingham Herald, Kitsap Sun and Skagit Valley Herald.

From the S-R editorial:

“Round 2 of Rossi vs. Gregoire differs from Round 1 in a conspicuous way. This year, one candidate has a gubernatorial record to run on – and defend.”

Despite unhappiness with Gregoire’s spending, the editorial board is more unhappy with Rossi’s transportation plan, which consists largely of simply shifting hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state’s general fund — which pays for things like education, health care and prisons — into road work.

Of Gregoire, the editorial says, “She is a brainy, hands-on governor whose qualities are needed to deal with problems, both foreseen and unforeseeable, that confront any state…In 2004, we weighed the two candidates and concluded that Rossi was the more promising answer. Having now seen Gregoire in action for four years, we think she has made a convincing case for re-election.”

The Spokesman and the Everett paper both endorsed Rossi four years ago, as did the Tacoma News-Tribune and the Vancouver Columbian. All four of those have switched to backing Gregoire this year, as are the Seattle P-I, the Olympian, the Oregonian, the Inlander and The Stranger.

Not joining that chorus: the state’s biggest paper, the Seattle Times.

In it’s editorialsays the Times editorial board says Rossi, rather than Gregoire, “can best be trusted to erase the state’s huge projected deficit without raising taxes.”

Of Gregoire’s (and the Legislature’s) billions of dollars in new spending on education and other state services, the Times says:

“She got lucky. In December 2006, Gregoire proposed a new, two-year budget. It was a happy one, with raises for teachers, home-care workers and state employees. Her suggested increase in spending was 12 percent. The revenue forecast was 8 percent. Again, we thought spending was too big, but there were some savings from the previous year. We warned there could be trouble in 2009.

It is now almost 2009, and Gregoire’s luck has run out: The downturn looks to be worse than anyone suspected.”

The paper, echoing a theme made famous this year by Barack Obama, also suggests that the capital — the state capital — could use a shake-out.

“(Rossi) is the best Republican candidate for governor in a long time. He would bring change to the culture of Olympia — and change is good.”


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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