Eye On Olympia

But wait: It gets nastier: stolen elections and allegations of Wiccan sea-turtle dressing...

Both sides in the Gregoire/Rossi rematch also seem to be rolling out the rhetorical siege guns in this final week.

State Republican Party chairman Luke Esser, for example, sent out a blistering statement yesterday saying flatly that Gov. Chris Gregoire stole the 2004 election.

"If there's one thing Christine Gregoire and her allies have learned, it's that stealing an election after the votes are cast is a messy and uncertain affair," Esser begins. "When they did it in 2004, they were just barely able to eke out a victory through a series of tainted recounts and questionable King County court rulings."

(The results that Esser decries, it should be noted, were also certified by Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed. And the election was finally decided not in King County, but after a lengthy trial before a judge in staunchly conservative Wenatchee.)

Esser continues, saying that "This time, their machine is much more well-oiled...They have created a multimillion-dollar network of liberal groups, lobbyists and activist lawyers who can do Gregoire's dirty work for her."

He also blasts Seattle attorney Knoll Lowney, who's suing the conservative Building Industry Association of Washington over its support of Republican candidate Dino Rossi. He paints Lowney as a litigious gadfly, and extends the favor to Lowney's sister-in-law, citing a 2001 Seattle Times story:

In an attempt to get an initiative passed in Seattle that would have raised water rates, Lowney enlisted the help of his sister-in-law, a self-described "stealth millionaire" and "pagan" who dressed herself and her children up as sea turtles during the WTO riots and, along with Lowney's brother, "used to participate in small Wiccan rites venerating the four elements -- fire, earth, air and, of course, water."

Wacky? For many, sure. (Although not here in Olympia, where few would bat an eye at Wiccan turtles.) But is a relative's sea-turtle-dressing seven years ago really relevant to a campaign fundraising lawsuit today?

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