The banner was up. The flags unfurled. The blue, green and white balloons floated in the entrance way to the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute boardroom.
It was a picture-perfect setting for the kickoff of Seattle Mayor Norm Rice’s campaign for governor - except for one little thing.
Using a room in the state-funded building for political purposes was illegal.
Minutes before the 8 a.m. speech was to begin, Mayor Jack Geraghty, a Rice supporter, broke the news to the crowd. Everyone would have to move outside for the official kickoff.
An attorney general’s opinion says politicians are free to visit, tour and investigate the workings of the state-funded higher education facility. But using it for a campaign announcement crosses that line, Geraghty said.
Putting up with Eastern Washington weather gave Rice a chance to demonstrate a campaign theme - that he’s not just a mayor from that city on the other side of the mountains.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo