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Spin Control

Posts tagged: endorsements

GOP group backs four in Central WA race

The group whose goal it is to elect Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives has weighed in on Central Washington's 4th Congressional District race.

But Republicans looking for some help in narrowing the field of eight GOP candidates down to one might not find it too helpful. The National Republican Congressional Committee has put four of those candidates “on the radar.”

That term apparently is the first step to getting the coveted title of “Young Gun”, which means some moneyed members of the caucus like a candidate's prospects enough to start big money flowing. Young Gun was a term coined by a group that included soon-to-be-ex Rep. Eric Cantor, so it may have lost a bit of luster. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Sunday spin: Times wades into McKenna, Ref. 74 campaigns

OLYMPIA – The biggest news in the state’s political campaigns last week probably was not made by a politician or group working for or against a ballot measure.

It was made by the Seattle Times Co., with a decision to run a full-page ad in support of Republican Rob McKenna’s gubernatorial bid, at no cost to the McKenna campaign.

The newspaper said it is paying out of its own coffers for McKenna ads and for others supporting the same-sex marriage measure, Referendum 74. It’s an effort, the great minds in the Times’ business offices say, to prove how effective newspaper advertising can be for a campaign.

To be clear, this is not merely a reprint, in giant type in case anyone might have missed them, of editorials the Times has already published endorsing McKenna and Referendum 74. These are ads with art and graphics and color that someone, or several someones, in the newspaper’s ad department conceived and labored over.

They go down in the Public Disclosure Commission’s books as independent expenditures: between now and Nov. 6, the company plans to spend $75,750 for McKenna and $75,000 to help get a yes vote on the ballot measure. Although the newspaper endorsed both on its editorial pages, the decision to run the ads was made without consultation or even advance notice to the news side of operation.

Not surprisingly, the Inslee campaign, the state Democratic Party to which he belongs and the group opposing same-sex marriage reacted negatively. So did some journalism organizations. More than 100 Times staff members signed a letter protesting the decision, saying it threatened to compromise the paper’s integrity by making it “part of the campaign machinery.”

Publisher Frank Blethen said the letter just proved that there was a separation between the business and editorial sides.

Maybe for Blethen, but probably not for much of the rest of the political world or the news-consuming public. The fact that newspapers endorse a candidate or an issue on their editorial pages, while common, nonetheless creates a problem for some voters. Even some candidates or campaign workers ask: How can a reporter be fair to us when his or her editors are supporting the opposition?

The quick answer: We don’t care about endorsements, and most of us don’t even read the editorial page during campaign season. I usually know who The Spokesman-Review has endorsed in a race I cover, because for 24 hours afterwards they’re treating me like their new best friend, and the other side isn’t returning my phone calls. After a while, both sides get over it.

If anyone asks about endorsements, I tell them two things: I don’t have input, let alone a vote, in the process, and an endorsement carries as much negative juju as positive juju. Depending on where you’re running in the Spokane area, it can be the kiss of death.

But the Times’ campaign takes this friction to a whole new level and seems bad on a couple levels. First, newspapers are struggling through declining staffs and shrinking news holes, so tossing around more than $150,000 is not chump change.

The other is, McKenna currently is behind in the polls. If he doesn’t win, what, if anything, does that say about the effectiveness of campaign ads in the Times?

Referendum 74 is an even bigger gamble. It’s slightly ahead in the polls, and if it wins there’s no way to measure the impact of the ads. If it goes down, the supporters of same-sex marriage are going to look for someone to blame. They might draw a bull’s-eye on the Times.

Sunday Spin: Endorsements galore

This is also the time of the campaign season when candidates show off their endorsements and awards. Some readers and campaign staffs ask why the newspaper pays scant attention to them. The answer is we look for endorsements that are so surprising as to constitute news.

For example, the National Federation of Independent Business announced several top of the state ticket endorsements last week, to go with earlier endorsements in legislative races. The NFIB almost uniformly endorses Republicans, and this list was no exception. Almost any incumbent or challenger in a competitive race with an R after his or her name is A-OK with NFIB.

Similarly, Fuse, which is a progressive organization that includes some social service groups and unions, passed out its Sizzle and Fizzle awards. The former are for exemplary efforts in the Legislature, the latter for the opposite. All the sizzles went to Democrats, all the fizzles to Republicans.

What’s the surprise in that?
  

Gov candidates playing up endorsements

OLYMPIA — Washington's gubernatorial candidates are playing the “look who's endorsing me” game today.

Republican Rob McKenna has an afternoon press conference to announce the latest round of “Democrats for McKenna” names at a Seattle cafe. One can only hope it goes smoother than the campaign's morning telephonic press conference, for which reporters were on one line for about 15 minutes with no McKenna, and the candidate and his staff were on the a different line, with no reporters.

Democrat Jay Inslee's campaign put out a “Rob endorses Jay” announcement. But it's not THAT Rob. Rather, it's Rob Hill, another Democrat who ran for governor in last month's primary. He got 3.22 percent of the vote. On Wednesday, Inslee has a press conference with folks from the clean technology at a Seattle bio-diesel facility. 

A site for endorsements

With the Aug. 7 primary approaching, some harried voters are looking for all help possible to help them decide among the long list of candidates, many of them unknown, for offices, many of them unfamiliar.

Spokesman.com has the Election Center which gives you information about the candidates' background and issues. Now, we also have a link to a page for the newspaper's endorsements.

This is not to suggest that Spin Control believes you should vote your ballot the way the newspaper endorses.

For one thing, it's not really possible, because in many races the editorial board picks two candidates, and you only get to choose one.

For another, we realize that while some people may would look to the newspaper's sage advice for guidance in selecting a candidate, at least as many — and probably more — look at a Spokesman-Review endorsement and immediately vote the other way.

We're just collecting all of the endorsements in one place, as a service to our readers. What you do with them is up to you.

We've got no stake in the endorsements to begin with, because reporters don't sit in on the discussions before endorsements are made, and don't pay attention to them after they are published. 

Home builders backing mostly GOP

The Spokane Home Builders Association released its list of candidate endorsements this week, and they're going mostly Republican.

Mike Baumgartner and Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress

Republicans for most statewide executive office, except for Democrat Jim McIntire for state treasurer, who has no Republican opponent.

Republicans in most Spokane-area legislative races except for Democrat Bob Apple, the former city councilman, in that crowded 3rd District House race. No endorsement in the other 3rd House race. They went for Jeff Holy for the open House seat in the 6th District, which has two other Republicans looking to replace John Ahern.

Incumbent Todd Mielke in the District 1 Spokane County commissioner race. Silent on the more hotly contested commissioner race, which features two Republicans, Shelly O'Quinn and County Treasurer Rob Chase.

Into endorsements

Washington candidates are scrambling to announce endorsements this week as filing week approaches.

The gubernatorial candidates are taking turns touting nods from “first responders.” Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, the likely Democratic nominee, is in Spokane today to pick up the endorsement of Fire Fighters Local 29. They'll have a formal laying on of the hands at 2:15 p.m. at the union hall, 911 E. Baldwin.

Attorney General Rob McKenna, the all-but-certain Republican nominee, announced Monday that he'd been endorsed by the Washington State Troopers Association.

The State Labor Council weighed in over the weekend with its endorsements, which were, depending on one's point of view, strongly pro-Democrat or anti-Republican. The council is backing Rich Cowan against U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the 5th Congressional District, and picked a D in eight of the other nine districts. For District 3 in Southwest Washington, they didn't have a good Democratic option, so they came out opposed to Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.

In Spokane Legislative races, the labor council showed an ability to shift quickly to the winds of Sen. Lisa Brown's surprise retirement last week. endorsing Andy Billig for the now open Senate seat and Marcus Riccelli for Billig's former House seat. One problem with the quick turnaround: They misspelled Riccelli's name. Also on their list: Amy Biviano in the 4th District and Dennis Dellwo in the 6th.

Speaking of that potentially crowded 3rd District House race, Democratic leaders seem eager to jump in line behind Riccelli. Brown endorsed her former aide this morning, as did former state Sen. Chris Marr, former Reps. Alex Wood, Jeff Gombosky, John Driscoll and Don Barlow, and most recent past county party chairpersons.

That's a pretty quick closing of the ranks, considering the seat became open less than a week ago, and at least two other candidates — Spokane businessman John Waite and Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder — have expressed interest in filing.

Filing week, by the way, begins Monday morning.

Sunday Spin: Does familiarity breed endorsement?

With presidential candidates making their quadrennial stops in the Inland Northwest ahead of the caucuses, Republican voters might be wondering how to pick among the four remaining candidates.

After all, none of the four has very strong connections to the region, or has spent much time in the area when not on the campaign trail. And some haven’t even made so much a pit stop here yet.

Spin Control decided to get some insight from one fairly well-known Republican who served with at least three of the four would-be nominees. Former Rep. George Nethercutt was elected to the House in the historic GOP takeover engineered by Newt Gingrich, and served with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul during his six years there.

So who’s he backing? . . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Billig gets Democratic nod over Apple, Chadez

Spokane County Democratic Party officials voted this week to endorse Andy Billig for the Statehouse seat now held by Democratic Rep. Alex Wood.

Billig, president of the Spokane Indians Baseball Blub, announced his candidacy last fall, before Woods announced his retirement.

Spokane City Councilman Bob Apple and social worker Louise Chadez also are running as Democrats on the August primary ballot. No Republicans have announced a run for the Third Legislative District seat, which represents central Spokane and is Eastern Washington’s most reliable Democratic district.

Billig’s endorsement doesn’t come as much of a surprise. He already had won backing from many prominent Spokane Democrats, including three of Apple’s colleagues on City Council: Richard Rush, Jon Snyder and Amber Waldref.

The county party has typically not weighed in on candidates until after primaries, but county Chair Amy Biviano said state party officials decided that the party should select candidates in response to the top-two primary system.

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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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