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Spin Control

Posts tagged: WA Senate race

Both sides in Senate race ‘figure’ on a win

Patty Murray and Dino Rossi both think the numbers are on their side for a win in Washington’s close U.S. Senate race.

Republican challenger Rossi’s campaign released a statement late Tuesday night citing his favorite statistics that would make the race go his way. Among them are that Republicans usually gain a couple percent in ballots counted after election day and that he’s doing very well in Spokane County, which still expects to count large numbers of ballots.

Democratic incumbent Murray’s campaign countered just after midnight with a different analysis, noting that King County, where she was polling about 62 percent of the vote, may have as many as 350,000 votes left to count.

As morning dawns Wednesday, they are separated by about 14,000 votes, or 1 percent of those counted so far. New numbers won’t be rolling in until this afternoon. To borrow a phrase from Bette Davis, Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

To read the full analyses, go inside the blog.

Candidates race to finish line

Candidates for Washington’s top electoral prize, a U.S. Senate seat that could determine which party controls that chamber of Congress for the next two years, started their full final day of the campaign at dawn, on opposite sides of the state.

Republican challenger Dino Rossi had breakfast at a downtown diner, greeting the morning crowd at the counter and telling eight longtime supporters “We’re getting there.” Rossi said he tries to stop at Frank’s Diner just south of the Maple Street Bridge whenever he’s in town. After fueling up with a full breakfast, Rossi caught a plane to the Tri-Cities, where he’ll be waving signs in Kennewick mid-morning then attending a lunchtime “meet and greet” in Everett before attending the vote-watch party in Bellevue this evening.

Democratic incumbent Patty Murray was on “dawn patrol”, greeting ferry commuters at the Seattle docks at 6:30 a.m. She’s scheduled to  meet volunteers in Everett mid-morning, in Tacoma at 11:15 a.m. and attend the election night party at the Westin Hotel in Seattle.

Around Spokane, morning commuters passed candidates and their supporters waving signs at intersections in a last attempt to drum up extra votes. Washington state election officials estimate that more than half the voters who are going to vote have already sent in their ballots, but that still leaves a large bloc of voters who still have ballots that were mailed to them sitting around the home somewhere.

Idaho voters go to the polls, which are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and under a new law must show ID when getting their ballot.  Residents who have not registered, but who have lived in the state for at least 30 days and are American citizens, can register and vote by bringing a government-issued photo identification and proof of residency to their local polling place.

For information on polling locations, drop boxes, voter service centers, and phone numbers for local county elections offices, click here.

The last frenetic days of the Murray-Rossi race

Washington’s U.S. Senate candidates spend Election Day eve attacking the Puget Sound from different directions.

Republican challenger Dino Rossi started south and moved north along the I-5 corridor. He began with a morning rally in Vancouver, had a noon rally in Puyallup and a Bellevue rally in the evening.

Democratic incumbent Patty Murray started north and worked her way south along the corridor. She started in Bellingham, had a noon rally in Mount Vernon, a mid afternoon rally in Everettin the morning, a late afternoon rally in Edmonds and an evening rally and concert in Seattle.

You might think that they’re finished…but you would be wrong. They’ll get up and do it again on Tuesday, with more stops, including a Spokane visit by Rossi.

Murray  will be greeting ferry commuters at the Seattle Docks before dawn Tuesday, then meet volunteers in Everett mid morning with another meeting in Tacoma at 11:15 a.m. and attend the election night party at the Westin Hotel in Seattle Tuesday evening.

Rossi has a “meet and greet” at 7 a.m. in Spokane at Frank’s Diner, 1516 W. 2nd Ave. He’ll be waving signs at an intersection in Kennewick at 9:30 a.m., and meeting supporters in Everett around 12:30 p.m., then attend the election night party in Bellevue.

Murray, Rossi in Spokane Saturday

Washington’s U.S. Senate race comes to Spokane Saturday as both Patty Murray and Dino Rossi are scheduled to make stops on their final campaign swings through the state.

Murray, the Democratic incumbent, has a get out the vote bus tour across the state that starts in Spokane at 8 a.m. at Hamilton Studios, 1427 W. Dean (also known as Toad Hall, that’s the site where Democrats will be gathering in advance of the “Rally to Restore Sanity” at Riverfront Park at noon, to watch the Washington, D.C., version.) She also has a 12:30 p.m. rally at Walla Walla Community College’s Center for Enology and Viticulture; a 3 p.m. rally in the Tri-Cities at the Highlands Grange Hall, 1500 S. Union St. in Kennewick; a 6 p.m. rally in Yakima at Essencia Artisan Bakery & Chocolaterie,  4 N. 3rd St.

Rossi, the Republican challenger, stops four places in Eastern Washington, starting with a 1:30 p.m. rally at the Quality Inn, 110 E. 4th Ave. He’ll also be in Colville at 4 p.m. at Stephani’s Oak Street Grill, 157 N. Oak St.; in Republic at 6:15 p.m. at Diamond K Guest Ranch, 15661 S. Highway 21; in Omak at 8 p.m. at Koala St. Grill, 914 Koala.

Poll roundup in the Senate race

Three polls of Washington’s U.S. Senate race released in the last 24 hours have different numbers, but actually conclude the same thing: The race is very close.

Rasmussen Research late Thursday had the race at 47 percent Dino Rossi, 46 percent Patty Murray. It’s a survey of 750 voters, has a margin of error of 4 percent. So in other words, it’s tied, although Rasmussen notes that Murray was up 49-46 in a similar poll last week.

Also on Thursday, SurveyUSA had the race in an actual tie at 47 all in a poll it did for KingTV.  It’s a survey of 678 voters, with a margin of 3.8 percent.

At noon today, the Washington Poll, conducted by the University of Washington, had two figures from two sets of 500 voter surveys. For all voters, they  have the race at 49 percent Murray 45 percent Rossi; among likely voters, they have it at 51 percent Murray, 45 percent Rossi. Their margin of error is 4.3 percent for each of the 500-person surveys.

More on the Washington Poll results, which asked about issues important to voters, later on Spin Control and Sunday morning in The Spokesman-Review.

Michelle Obama: Get fired up

First Lady Michelle Obama campaigned for Patty Murray today in Bellevue.

The Spokesman-Review didn’t send a reporter. No disrespect to the First Lady, but our closest reporter is in Olympia, and while he made the trip to Seattle for the president, and another to Tacoma earlier this month for the vice president, the accountants are starting to wonder about all this mileage he’s been racking up, plus the 2+ hours it takes to crawl up I-5 at any time between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

But we do have what’s known as the FLOTUS Pool Report, which is the local reporter assigned to write what the First Lady Of The United States did at her events open to the press gaggle. The Associated Press’s Curt Woodward was assigned the task, and we have every confidence that he represented it accurately.

It’s designed to be more chronological than standard news style, so don’t look for the knock your socks off lead. It can be found inside the blog.

McCain: Murray part of ‘corrupt process’

U.S. Sen. John McCain tried to give a boost to Republican Dino Rossi’s chances of joining him in the Senate by saying Democrat Patty Murray “engages in a corrput practice.”

McCain stepped an inch back from calling Murray, a three-term incumbent with whom he’s had significant disagreements, corrupt.

“I think (use of earmarks) is a corrupt practice. She engages in that corrupt practice. Whether she is corrupt or not, I’ll let others decide,” McCain said in a telephonic press conference arranged by the Rossi campaign Monday morning.

The Murray campaign was quick to label McCain as “anti-Boeing”, noting the long-running fight over awarding the bids for a new Air Force tanker in which the Arizona senator pushed to open the bidding, which resulted in European-based Airbus briefly getting the nod for the plane to replace the KC-135 tanker. That was later pulled back because of contract irregularities, and Boeing and Airbus are again vying for the contract. Murray says the Pentagon shouldn’t award the contract without taking into account the subsidies Airbus gets, and is criticizing McCain for protesting that stance and Rossi for campaigning with someone who “worked against Washington state’s interests at every turn.”

Monday’s teleconference was designed to highlight earmarks, federal spending directed by members of Congress which are a key element of Rossi’s campaign against Murray, on a day when First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, are in Bellevue campaigning for Murray. It was supposed to have two GOP heavy hitters, McCain and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, but Coburn didn’t get connected to the call and McCain was cut off before the last question could be asked.

Rossi wasn’t on the call, although his staff quickly arranged another teleconference for him to reiterate his opposition to earmarks, although he declined to say whether he was in the state.

McCain blasted earmarks as “the gateway to corruption” and “a disgraceful process.” He said Congress should do away with them permanently. This is slightly different from Rossi’s position that he will not seek earmarks until the federal budget is balanced, and at that point might consider them along with changes in the budgeting process.

“I don’t know why that should be a criteria,” McCain said. “I respectfully disagree with my friend Dino on that.”

In his later press conference, Rossi indicated that he and McCain have further disagreements on earmarks as well. McCain said such locally directed spending should only come from the Administration or the authorizing committees in Congress. Members of the Appropriations Committees shouldn’t be adding things into their bills, he said. States and districts aren’t really helped by earmarks, he added: “It’s like welfare.”

Rossi said that while he’d be happy with eliminating earmarks altogether, he thinks the executive branch has too much power in deciding where the money goes right now.

That seems to put him somewhere between McCain and Murray, who has said that it’s better for members of Congress to direct money to worthy projects supported by people in their states than leave the decisions up to unelected “bureaucrats.”


Deja vu fight: Who pays for Obama’s stop in Seattle tomorrow

President Barack Obama’s trip to Seattle Thursday for a backyard chat and a political rally at University of Washington is bringing up a dispute Spokane folks can relate to.

No, not health care reform. Or Wall Street reform. Or birth certificate provenance.

It’s a cost fight, as in “Who picks up the tab?”


WA Senate race: Rossi in Seattle, Murray in Vancouver today

Sen. Patty Murray joins Vice President Joe Biden in Vancouver today for a campaign rally, marking the second time in two weeks the veep has come to the state to campaign for Murray. Former president Bill Clinton was in Everett on Monday, and President Obama will be in Seattle Thursday.

Republicans, not surprisingly, have a less than positive take on this, calling this Day 2 of the “D.C. Bosses Tour.”

Murray takes a break from appearances with national figures on Wednesday for a campaign stop in Spokane. Unless one considers the executive vice president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare a national figure. It’s at the West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt, at 10 a.m.

Dino Rossi, meanwhile, is in Seattle today accepting the endorsement from the Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriffs.He’ll make stops in Moses Lake, Yakima and Olympia on Wednesday.

Senate Debate aftermath: Claiming victory

After last night’s Senate debate, the two combatants — er, candidates — came out for the obligatory post-event press conference to answer questions. The obligatory first question was, how do you think you did.

Surprisingly, each thought they did well, but their opponent? Not so much.

“I feel great about it,” Sen. Patty Murray said, reiterating what she repeated several times, that she had answer questions but her opponent had not.

“I think it went well,” challenger Dino Rossi said, grousing slightly that they didn’t get a question about the bailouts. But he answered the questions, he added, and Murray didn’t.

(An aside: From the debate set, it seemed each had instances where they preferred to answer the questions they wanted to be asked, rather than the questions they actually were asked. Don’t know if it looked like that on television.)

Both campaigns were attempting to “fact check” the opponents answers during the debate, sending out e-mails questioning the veracity of some part of an answer.

First to declare victory was the Washington State Republican Party, for Rossi. Amazingly enough, they declared victory at 8:01 p.m. with a written statement quoting state chairman Luke Esser. So folks at the state GOP can either type really fast or were predisposed to declare Rossi the victor. We’re guessing the former.

Rossi’s campaign declared victory at 8:08 p.m., and the Murray campaign at 8:18 p.m., because they first issued one more challenge to something Rossi said in the closing minutes.

Strangely enough, the Rossi and Murray camps agreed on one key point: that the debate offered the voters a “clear choice” in the election. Considering that both sides have commercials suggesting the opponent is so low they’d have to climb an extension ladder to be equal to pond scum, that may be welcome news to voters thinking there’s not a dimes worth of difference between these folks.

If you want to decide for yourself, click on the box above to see the debate, courtesy of KXLY-TV’s website.


Live tonight from Spokane: Rossi v. Murray

The first debate in Washington’s U.S. Senate race between Patty Murray and Dino Rossi comes to you live from Spokane at 7 p.m.

It will be carried on KXLY-TV and KSPS-TV in Spokane and surrounding communities, on public television stations throughout Washington including KCTS Channel 9  in Seattle, and on the second digital channel for KOMO-TV in Seattle. [Update: KXLY also will be streaming the debate.]

Candidates arrive at the KSPS studio on the South Hill between 5:30 and 6 p.m., and the campaigns can be expected to have folks to cheer their candidate and jeer the opponent on the sidewalk, so be advised if your normal commute takes you up Regal at that time.

Partisans will likely leave shortly after 6, because there won’t be much to see after the candidates get inside, and they want to get somewhere to watch. Democrats and Republicans each have their own debate watch parties: Rs at the Quality Inn Valley Suites at I-90 and Argonne; Ds at Toad Hall at 1427 W. Dean.

Format is a one-hour session with questions e-mailed in from the public and from a panel of reporters. (Full disclosure: I’m on the panel so this might be considered a shameless plug. Jonathan Brunt will be covering the debate for Friday morning’s S-R.)


Biden making another trip for Murray

In a sign of just how much the Obama administration wants Patty Murray to hold onto her Senate seat, Vice President Joe Biden is making a second campaign stop in Washington this month.

Biden will attend a rally with Murray in Vancouver next Tuesday at the Pearson Air Museum. That’s just 11 days after he attended a rally with Murray in Tacoma. And two days before President Obama attends a rally with Murray at the University of Washington campus in Seattle. And six days before First Lady Michelle Obama attends a luncheon and fundraiser for Murray in Bellevue.

Dino Rossi’s campaign called the visits “a lineup of D.C. insiders comoing into town to bailout her campaign.” 

Dems to party, too, for debate

Not to be out-partied by Republicans, local Democrats have scheduled a debate watch party for the live televised face-off between Dino Rossi and Patty Murray.

Democrats will be snacking and cheering at one of their favorite hangouts, Toad Hall, not far from the County Courthouse north of downtown Spokane.

As mentioned previously, the Republicans of Spokane County will be debate-watching (excuse the terrible verb construction) at the Quality Inn in Spokane Valley, I-90 and Argonne.

Obama making return trip for Murray

President Obama will return to Washington next week to campaign for Sen. Patty Murray’s re-election. The two will appear at a rally at the University of Washington’s Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Oct. 21.

Obama was in Seattle on Aug. 17 to talk about small business assistance and attend two fund-raisers for Murray and the state Democratic Party. Vice President Joe Biden was at a rally for Murray last Friday at the University of Washington Tacoma branch campus and First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled for a campaign stop on Oct. 25.

Details for the Michelle Obama event haven’t been released but a Murray campaign source confirmed it is still on the schedule.

Expect Rossi forces to say soon (if they haven’t already) that all this attention shows how well he’s doing and how worried Democrats are that she’s losing.

WA Senate: Playing the ‘Big Union’ card

Dino Rossi and state Republicans are leveling a charge against Patty Murray that Republicans often use on Democrats, that she’s kowtowing to the union bosses. But they may have picked the wrong backdrop to launch this attack.

As recounted today by S-R reporter Chelsea Bannach, the Spokane Labor Rally, a biannual feature of the local political scene, was held Wednesday at the Spokane County Fairgrounds.

For those unfamiliar with the labor rally, it’s a chance for union members, their spouses, kids and miscellaneous family members and friends to have some food and drink after work while listening to candidates the unions’ endorse – mostly Democrats – make a pitch for votes and news media types try to take the temperature of the blue collar voters.

(There is a myth among the state’s political reporters that a chili dog ingested at the Labor Rally will sit uncomfortably in one’s stomach until election day. This is not true; it has never been known to last past Halloween. And Beth Thew of the Spokane Labor Council advises that there weren’t any chili dogs at Wednesday’s rally, but there were veggie burgers. One has to wonder what the labor movement is coming to. But I digress…)

2nd WA Senate debate set

The second, and likely last, debate between Dino Rossi and Patty Murray is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 17 in Seattle at the KOMO-TV studios.

Murray and Rossi will debate the week before in Spokane, at 7 p.m. Oct. 14, in a debate jointly sponsored and broadcast live by KSPS-TV and KXLY-TV. Getting the two campaigns to reach agreement for timing on the second debate was a bit of a problem until Tuesday evening, a KOMO spokesman said.

Both will be live. The Spokane debate features a moderator, a panel of reporters and a studio audience. The Seattle debate will have two moderators, a pair of KOMO anchors, and no panel.

Like the Spokane debate, the Seattle debate is soliciting questions from viewers.To suggest a question for the Spokane debate, click here. To suggest one for the Seattle debate, click here.

The Seattle debate will be broadcast on a delayed basis in Spokane on KXLY-TV. We’ll report the time and date when that information becomes available.

Got a question for Murray or Rossi?

The first — and so far only — televised debate to be scheduled in Washington’s U.S. Senate race takes place in Spokane next week.

Live, from the South Hill, it’s Thursday night.(That is to say, it will be at KSPS-TV Channel 7’s studio, and it will air live, starting at 7 p.m.)

Sponsors of the debate, KSPS and KXLY-TV, are soliciting questions from the public to throw into the mix of things the candidates will be asked. Some of the details of the format aren’t set yet, so it’s unclear how many questions will come from the public and how many from a panel of journalists.

But if you have a question you’re dying to ask one or both of them, you can send it in by clicking here.

Another televised debate has tentatively been planned for Seattle on KOMO-TV, but the details of that remain uncertain.

Murray v. Rossi on veterans

OLYMPIA–Candidates with at least half a brain rarely pick a fight they cannot win. So it seemed odd last week when a Seattle television station had Dino Rossi challenging Sen. Patty Murray on veterans’ issues and alleging the federal government was “spending recklessly” on veterans programs.
Not only does Murray have a campaign commercial with a slew of veterans from around the state singing her praises, but she has a reputation for actually working on an issue to which most members of Congress merely pay lip service. It’s a recognized strength, sort of like recruiting point guards at Gonzaga.
And saying Uncle Sam is spending recklessly on veterans is a bit like saying mothers are spending recklessly on milk and medicine for their children.
Yet a story on Seattle’s KOMO-TV on Tuesday seemed to have Rossi dissing Murray and veterans programs. But did he?…

Dino Rossi: Champ of Freedom?

Dino Rossi has a new title to add to  his resume along with state senator, Ways and Means Committee chairman, gubernatorial candidate, U.S. senate candidate, businessman…

Champion of Freedom.

Rossi is so listed on the program for Friday night’s FreedomWorks Take Back America convention in Washington, D.C. No information from the group — led by former U.S. Rep. Dick Armey, R-Texas — on what series of contests one must win to earn the title. But other champs of freedom on the agenda include Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul and Florida Senate candidate Mark Rubio. It’s possible C of F is a title given to speakers who don’t currently hold federal office, as U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachman of Minnesota is listed as “congresswoman” rather than C of F.

The convention should not be confused with the Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, which happens Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial. Two separate things entirely.

And it may be just because it’s Friday of a long week, but does anyone else think the convention logo has an odd, 1930s Soviet Realism feel to it?

WA Sen race: Murray accepts 2 debates

Sen. Patty Murray’s re-election campaign said it is accepting two debate invitations, one in Spokane and one in Seattle, both to be televised around much of the state.

Both would likely occur in October, after the Senate recesses. The Spokane debate would be sponsored by KSPS-TV and KXLY-TV, and air on stations in Yakima and the Tri-Cities. The Seattle debate sponsored by KOMO-TV would air simultaneously in Spokane and several other cities.

The Rossi campaign replied that the Republican challenger still wanted six debates, and suggested Murray was sticking to a safe strategy, hiding behind consultants and negative ads. But they stopped short of saying they wouldn’t agree to the two debates Murray has accepted.

Jennifer Morris, a spokeswoman for Republican Dino Rossi’s campaign said he “looks forward to debating Sen. Murray more than twice” and is still reviewing the letter from the Murray campaign.

Last week Rossi challenged Murray to a total of six debates — five in the state and one “national debate” — to occur once a week starting in early September.The campaign has multiple requests for debates and has not committed to any of them yet, including the ones mentioned in the Murray campaign letter, Morris said.

“We’re not dodging,” Morris said. “We’ve just received the letter.”

While the Rossi campaign may continue to push for more debates, the Murray campaign indicated that was unlikely.

“We have accepted these two debates. We do not plan on accepting any further debates,” Murray campaign spokeswoman Julie Edwards said.

Murray debated only twice in 2004, when she ran against then U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt and once in 1998, when running against then U.S. Rep. Linda Smith. Both times, the Republican opponents called for more debates, but she declined.

To see the back and forth between the campaigns, go inside the blog.

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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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