Spin Control

Candidates who claim some tie to Spokane: We’ve got a few questions for you

People who want to be elected to statewide office in 2012 are already wandering around the state, announcing their campaigns and trying to establish their bona fides with the good folks hereabouts.

Most candidates for state office have to come from Seattle, or at least the greater Pugetopolis, to have a chance of getting enough votes from the West Side of the state. This is not surprising, because to paraphrase Willy Sutton, that’s where the votes are.

But to prove they seek to represent the whole state, they must also campaign on the dry side of the Cascades, and cite their ties to Spokane or Walla Walla or Curlew, whether they be strong or tenuous. Jay Inslee’s swing through Yakima and Spokane last week as he kicked off the gubernatorial campaign was an example of someone with real, if somewhat dated, ties to the East Side. Inslee represented Central Washington’s 4th District for a term in the U.S. House, in 1993-’94.

Some candidates try to do more with less. I recall one candidate for statewide office who talked about his fond memories of Spokane, where the family always stopped on their way to the lake cabin when he was a child. Being remembered as the gateway to Idaho or a pleasant pit stop never seemed like much of a vote-getter.

When candidates start laying claim to knowing Spokane and understanding its people and their issues, then do something foolish like saying how they’re such a big fan of Gon-ZAH-ga basketball, it sometimes helps to give them a pop quiz on issues a real Spokanite would know. We've put some inside the blog.

Maybe you can think of other questions to test a candidate’s true ties to Spokane. Click to go inside the blog and leave them in a comment box.

So, Mr. Candidate, what was the theme of Expo ’74?
What major league franchise has the Spokane Indians baseball team as their farm team?
What’s the biggest crop growing on the Palouse?
What does the GEG on your luggage tag mean when you fly into Spokane International?
What was the Spokane City Hall building used for before it was City Hall?
What was the original name of the North Spokane Corridor?
Where was Sam’s Pit? Where are the burgers better, at Dick’s or Ron’s? (This is actually a trick question. There’s no right answer, it just reveals whether you’ve spent more time in Spokane or the Valley.)

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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