Vice President Al Gore plans to attend a rally in Spokane next Monday as part of a campaign swing through the Northwest.
A tentative time and location for the rally could be announced today, said Joe Cerrell, a spokesman for the Washington state Clinton-Gore campaign.
“A top priority of this trip, in addition to shoring up support for our candidates, is to boost Judy Olson and Rick Locke,” Cerrell said.
Olson, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Eastern Washington, and Locke, the party’s candidate in Central Washington, are expected to address the rally as well, he said.
Dave Field, a spokesman for Olson, said her campaign hadn’t been told any details of the visit but the candidate will likely attend the rally if it is in the morning. Olson is scheduled to attend forums at noon in Spokane and in the evening in Pullman.
Gore’s visit will be the first to Spokane by either of the major parties’ national candidates this year, and may be the last.
Kraig Naasz, a spokesman for the state’s Dole-Kemp campaign, said he knew of no plans for either of his party’s nominees to visit before the Nov. 5 election.
“That’s not to say one will not occur,” Naasz said. “They are spending a large amount of time out in California, so a stopover in the Pacific Northwest might be in the cards.”
Early on, the Dole campaign held out the prospects of a visit by one of their candidates. But on Wednesday Naasz downplayed any suggestion that a stop was necessary to help them win the state.
“It doesn’t materially affect the plans we have now,” he said, adding they would continue with plans for a mass mailing and phone banks to motivate voters.
Recent polls have shown the incumbent president with a substantial lead over the former Senate majority leader. Naasz claimed a visit by the vice president - whom he called Al “Land Grab” Gore because of stands on environmental issues - would help Dole.
“This race will tighten up after he comes to Spokane,” Naasz said. “There are a heck of a lot of independents and moderates who don’t agree with him on key issues.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo