Many of the state's Democratic candidates will be appearing Wednesday afternoon at the Spokane Labor Rally at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds.
The Labor Rally is one of the iconic events on the political calendar in even-numbered years. The speeches rarely reach the level of great oratory, but it gives candidates a chance to "press the flesh" with average folks while the union members and their families eat burgers and sip beer or sodas at rows of tables. Hundreds of people drop by after finishing their shift and picking up the family.
It's about as close to a must-show for an endorsed candidate as there is in Spokane Democratic politics. About the only acceptable excuses for not showing up would be being in jail on a nonbailable offense, or dying. Both U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee are on the list of scheduled speakers.
There was once an axiom among the state's political reporters that a chili dog consumed at the Labor Rally will occupy a spot in one's stomach until Election Day. True or not, labor organizers in recent years have stricken chili dogs from the menu in favor of more healthy food and perhaps a chance to show the labor movement has moved into the 21st Century.
One other nod to present day: Attendees this year are being asked to bring a donation to the Second Harvest Food Bank.