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Spin Control

Archive for November 2008

TW3 and videos for the weekend

That was the week that was

Obama picked Richardson for Commerce, Napolitano for Homeland Security, Holder for Attorney General, Daschle for Health & Human Services, and (probably) Hillary, for State. For commentary on the picking, click here.

Sarah Palin pardoned one turkey, but the rest of the farm was getting the ax.

Washington state’s projected deficit for ‘09-‘10 got to the OMG regions of $5.1 billion. Republicans said ‘We warned you about that.’ Read about the deficit projections on Rich Roesler’s Eye on Olympia.

Washington got a fer-sure record turnout, topping 3 million voters. State Republicans asked to see about 7,000 ballots in the 6th Legislative District. Judge Moreno said “No dice.” Read more about it here.

Coming this week: Final numbers in all but the 6th District “Johns” race between Driscoll and Ahern. That one’s going to a recount the first week of December.

Fun videos: Some McCain supporters are trying to rewrite history

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

For more videos, go inside the blog

Today’s odd video: Gobbling it up

Can’t quite call this one a fun video. (Be warned, it’s pretty gross, particularly if you don’t know how meat gets to your local supermarket.)

The back story: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin goes to a turkey farm and pardons a turkey in honor of Thanksgiving. While she answers media questions, the pardoned turkey’s less fortunate brethren suffer the more standard fate.

And if you want to read more about the presidential practice of pardoning turkeys (it isn’t what you’ve probably been told, check out this History News Network report.

A very cautious guy

State Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, seems perfect for the Number 2 spot in the conservative GOP House caucus.

How conservative is he? Consider this quote from his press release announcing he’d been named Deputy House GOP leader:

“Once the votes were tallied in my district, I turned my focus to the legislative session and how I can best serve my constituents and the citizens of Washington,” said Kretz.

Which doesn’t sound so unusual unless you consider…

Today’s fun video

Pickings are getting slim on the political video front. Must be the post-election doldrums.

Here’s the opening segment from last night’s The Daily Show, which admittedly isn’t among their best, but it’s the best available.

Talk among yourselves: The 6th District race

That close 6th District House race is generating some comments on the blog, which are reprinted inside.

It’s even attracting some attention over on the West Side. Sound Politics picked up one of yesterday’s posts.

Care to join in and mix it up with our readers? Click here.

Full court press on ballots

House Republicans are suing over the ballots they want to see in Spokane’s close 6th Legislative District race.

The House Republican Organizational Committee is holding a press conference at 1 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the lawsuit over the race between incumbent GOP Rep. John Ahern and Democratic challenger John Driscoll.

Driscoll leads Ahern by 63 votes, with only some late mail-ins, about 50 “remade” and provisional ballots, and some ballots with questionable signatures left to be counted. Absent some huge shift for one or the other, this one’s headed for a hand recount and seems sure to earn the eventual winner the nickname of “Landslide.”

House GOPers wanted to see all 7,000 remade ballots from the district. Those are ballots that arrived in some form or another that they couldn’t be read by the machines…

Vote check on Tuesday

Spokane County elections officials will be reviewing Tuesday morning some 200 ballots that were “remade” because of problems in the way voters originally makred their ballots.

But they aren’t inclined to review more than 7,000 ballots in that close 6th Legislative District race, which is the request from House Republicans.

The canvassing board Monday agreed to compare a batch of 200 remade ballots countywide with the original ballots. That group was held out of the count, so there’s no need to break the seals on the containers holding the other remade ballots.

If there are problems with that control group, they might agree to a complete check of all the remade ballots in the 6th. But no guarantees.

Today’s fun video: Next phase in election gadgets

What’s next? After CNN’s holograms, what will the other news networks try…

From the e-mail bag

One reader alerted us to a rather nasty comment on a post from earlier this week regarding Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. As stshore pointed out, a poster who used the name “Tongue in Cheek” went beyond his pen name and reasonable political discourse, slamming headlong into personal comments about the congresswoman and her family.

We took it down. And we apologize for not catching it earlier.

Ben Johnstone-Anderson wrote to say he likes the election maps, and wonders what software the newspaper uses. It’s called ArcView 9.3.

While the software is pretty sophisticated (much more so than the person who uses it) what makes the maps work is the cooperation from Spokane County Elections and the Secretary of State’s office. Without the easy access to their data, and the assistance in computer maps from county Elections and county GIS, that fancy software wouldn’t do us much good.

Island of blue, sea of red

The City of Spokane is an island of blue, floating in a county of red.

Or that’s the way the presidential election looks.

The final vote totals won’t be available for about a week, but we know enough to say that John McCain won the county, but Barack Obama won the city of Spokane.

Driscoll inches a bit ahead

John Driscoll won a vote count for the first time since Election Night in that close 6th Legislative District race.

As the chart shows, Ahern was actually winning the individual counts on Wednesday through Friday, but Driscoll did better in Monday’s tally.

They are 63 votes apart. Expect a recount.

6th District race stays tight

The race between Rep. John Ahern and Democratic challenger John Driscoll remains a nail-biter.

The number of ballots is shrinking, and as the chart above shows, Ahern continues to win the later counts, but by smaller margins.

The winner might not be known until all the votes are counted, and all the so-called question ballots — those with mismatched signatures or no signatures — are given a chance to be “cured.”

Stay tuned.

Celebrity endorsements: Who cares?

Apparently, not very many of us.

That’s what a poll by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion concluded.

They asked a focus group of 245 people if celebrity endorsements had any influence on their decision in the presidential election; 90 percent of men and 87 percent of women said No.

Only 2 percent of men and 3 percent of women said they were “heavily influenced” by celebrity endorsements. About one in 10 admitted the endorsements had a slight influence.

Who had the most influence? Go inside the blog to read more.

Who stole what?

Washington Republicans and their allies have been warning about Seattle stealing the governor’s election for months.

Now that the results are in, it would seem that it wasn’t Seattle, but most municipalities…including Spokane.

Chris Gregoire has a lead of more than 20,000 votes in the City of Spokane, although she currently trails countywide. To see a larger version of the above map, click here.

Drilling down in that close 6th District race

Democrat John Driscoll has led Republican Rep. John Ahern since the vote totals started coming in on Tuesday night.

But he hasn’t always had the most votes that were counted in any particular ballot tally.

Driscoll won both counts on Tuesday. Ahern won both counts on Wednesday, by larger margins.

Go inside the blog for more details.

More signature problems

Spokane County turnout currently tops 85 percent, but as the number of ballots increases, so does the number of ballots that have no signature or a signature that doesn’t match the registration records.

There are about 910 voters in Spokane County who need to do something with their signature.

For a current list of voters who have signature problems, click here.

Rossi concedes

Republican Dino Rossi conceded defeat this morning.

At a press conference in Bellevue, he said he’d called Chris Gregoire to congratulate her on victory, adding that he’d pray for her and hoped Washington voters would hold her to her no new taxes and fees pledge.

He noted that he’d run ahead of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, even more than he’d outpolled George Bush in 2004. “But it wasn’t enough,” he said.

He also managed a reference to 2004 when he said he was “certified twice as the winner.” But as everyone learned that year, it was the third one — the hand recount that put Gregoire ahead — that counted

Gregoire has a noon press conference scheduled in Seattle.

Morning update: Gregoire, Minnick still ahead

Chris Gregoire is increasing her lead in Washington’s governor’s race, both in terms of percentages and total votes.

As the Inland Northwest pauses for its morning coffee break:

Gregoire has 53.5 percent of the vote to Dino Rossi’s 46.5 percent. She’s ahead by about 114,000 votes, and leads in every county around the Puget Sound, plus Spokane and Clark counties. He has not conceded, but she has claimed victory.

Closer races statewide include lands commissioner, where Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark has a 16,500-vote lead over Republican incumbent Doug Sutherland; state school superintendent, where challenger Randy Dorn has a 22,000-vote lead over incumbent Terry Bergeson; state treasurer, where Democrat Jim McIntire has a 60,000-vote lead over Republican Allan Martin. The other statewide races are pretty much blowouts for the incumbents. Check out the numbers here.

In Idaho, the close race is in the 1st Congressional District, which includes the Panhandle. Democratic challenger Walt Minnick leades freshman Republican Bill Sali by about 3,600 votes after a night when the totals have see-sawed.

For other Idaho races, go inside the blog:

Rossi not conceding

Despite the fact that Gov. Chris Gregoire declared victory, and regardless of what the networks say, GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi says the race ain’t over yet.

Rossi spokeswoman Jill Strait issued a statement looking toward tomorrow’s counts

“At this hour, fewer than 50 percent of ballots have been counted statewide. We saw in 2004 and again in the primary this year that later votes cast and counted trended heavily toward Dino Rossi. If that happens again in this general election the results will change. The Rossi campaign simply does not feel that we are in a position to know who will win. Thus, Dino is not ready to concede. We expect to give a new statement tomorrow after we see a second round of returns in the lower-turnout counties.“

Gregoire back in lead

King County has reported some ballots, and they are almost 2-to-1 for Chris Gregoire.

So she’s up by about 2 percent right now.

Nothing from Pierce County yet. Stay tuned, it could be a long night.

On to the governor’s race

With John McCain’s concession speech, the presidential election watch is essentially over for us. Feel free to keep up on the Electoral College count on the Web sites posted earlier on the blog.

We’ll be tracking the governor’s race from here on out.

Chris Gregoire currently leads, with about 50.5 percent of the vote, or 304,900 votes.
Dino Rossi has 49.5, or 299,337 votes.

Of note: Rossi’s leading in all Eastern Washington counties except Spokane, where Gregoire has a narrow lead. Neither King nor Pierce County has reported yet.

Where’d all those Democrats come from?

Spokane County Democrats are overflowing from their election night results watch party.

They were expecting about 500 at the Inn at the Park. They have about 1,000.

So if you don’t like crowds, be warned. There’s a big one forming there.

For those coloring at home

To recap, here are the states “called” for one candidate or another at this point
North Dakota

District of Columbia
New Jersey
New Hampshire
New Mexico
New York
Rhode Island

Obama 200
McCain 128

McCain wins AL, AR

The Associated Press has called Alabama and Arkansas for McCain.

Obama wins PA, NH

The Associated Press and most networks have called Pennsylvania and New Hampshire for Obama.

Electoral College count
Obama 101
McCain 69

Another good site to check

CNN’s Web site has an interactive map which will break down a state by county and show you how they vote on the red-blue scale.

Click here to check it out.

1 reason to like mail balloting

There are lines to vote at the poll sites in the two counties where Washington still has poll site voting.

There’s a two-hour wait at some polling stations in Pierce County, the Secretary of State’s office reports. King County also has long lines.

The memo also says that anyone in line by 7:59 p.m. has to be allowed to vote, even after the deadline passes.

What does this mean for the rest of us? Look for late returns out of Pierce and King counties tonight.

Polls close in six states at 4 p.m. PST

Polls will close soon in six states, and the vote-counting and projecting will begin.

Those states are
South Carolina

We’ll blog the results as we get them. Stick with Spin Control and the other Spokesman-Review blogs as we await the first results from Washington and Idaho.

Spokane County will have two vote counts tonight. One shortly after 8 p.m., and another at around 10:45 p.m. They’ll count again at noon Wednesday and 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Kootenai County Elections Supervisor Deedie Beard says they will not go home until they’ve counted all their ballots. She’s guessing 1 a.m. Wednesday or so.

Turnout was reported heavy in many states, including Virginia, where elections officials estimate 75 percent of eligible voters will cast ballots.

And of course Washington and Idaho voters will say “75 percent. That’s nothing. We expect to be above 80 percent.”

That’s true, but we have a history of being strong-voting states. And this isn’t a competition.

Well, not really.

But if reports of local turnout translate across the states, Washington and Idaho voters won’t have anything to be ashamed of when all the votes are counted.

Just a reminder: “all the votes counted” in Washington doesn’t happen for more than a week.

Debatable Point: Do undecideds drive you nuts?

David B. responded to Sunday’s help for undecided voters with this missive:

“Undecideds” drive me nuts. At the risk of intentionally offending all of them, the more accurate name for them should be “slow witted”. The Presidential race has been going on for two (count ‘em), blasted years! The only reason we don’t know every little detail about Oama and McCain is because Obama hides a lot. And what I do know about him scares the bejesus out of me. Still, if you own a TV, read a newspaper, or have access to a computer all the information you can digest in a month of non-stop research is out there.
That said, what the heck are you “undecideds” waiting for?
I’d honestly like to know.

So whaddya think folks? Does David B. have a point, or are there good reasons to be undecided still?
Click to comment.

Track the vote

Think you can do a better job of predicting the Electoral College results than John King and his magic map?

Here’s your chance to give it a try. USA Today has compiled results for the last four presidential elections and created an interactive map for everyone to be an instant expert. What’s more, you can send your map to that friend who’s always bragging how much he knows about politics.

See the map by clicking here.

Note to drivers: Be careful out there

On your commute Monday and Tuesday, it will be very important to keep an eye out for an extra traffic hazard.


They will be everywhere, waving signs and trying to convince the remaining voters that have yet to decide how to fill in those little ovals for all the races that they are the correct choice.

As if all the yard signs, billboards and mailers weren’t enough.

For example, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and GOP gubernatorial hopeful Dino Rossi will be at Division and Ruby between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. Monday, probably flanked by some supporters. Try to slow down as you cross the Sen. Sam Guess Bridge.

(It’s doubtful that Sam Guess ever stood on a street corner and waved a sign, but I can’t be sure.)

This is a very common campaign tactic in Spokane.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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