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Tonight’s annual televised Chase Youth Commission debate will have a noticeably absent candidate: John Ahern.
While Ahern has appeared with his opponent, incumbent Democratic State Rep. John Driscoll, at several other forums, Ahern also missed last month’s debate sponsored by the League of Woman Voters of the Spokane Area. That event was the only other televised forum that would have featured the two side-by-side.
A Spokane group of motorcyclists is fighting for attention among local politicians.
The Inland Empire Chapter of ABATE, a motorcyclist rights organization that opposes helmet laws and other restrictions on motorcycle riding, has been hosting a series of candidate forums that are restricted to one topic: motorcycle law.
Tonight, Democratic nominee for Congress Daryl Romeyn and state House candidates Democrat Andy Billig and Republican Morgan Oyler will participate. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at The Ticket, 1221 N. Howard St.
Steve Puccio, the legislative affairs director for the Inland Empire chapter, said the group works to keep politicians in contact with motorcyclists. He said ABATE stands for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments.
“They enact legislation and regulations taking away our rights, and they’ve never talked to us,” Puccio said.
In the 6th Legislative District, it has endorsed Republican Michael Baumgartner over Democratic incumbent state Sen. Chris Marr.
In an interview on Tuesday, Baumgartner declined to say if he supports the law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. He said he has “no plans” to sponsor legilsation that would repeal the helmet rules, but added he is ”sympathetic to the personal liberties” of motorcyclists.
The chapter has declined to endorse either incumbent Democrat state Rep. John Driscoll or Republican John Ahern in the 6th District state House race, Puccio said.
The group has endorsed Oyler and Billig’s opponent, Republican Dave White, in the state House races in the 3rd Legislative District.
Puccio said Oyler and White support the repeal of the state law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.
Shelly O’Quinn, a Republican who lost her bid in the highly contested battle for state House representing the 6th Legislative District, said Wednesday that she is not allowed to endorse any candidates in the general election because of her job.
Incumbent Democratic state Rep. John Driscoll and former state Rep. John Ahern, a Republican, won the primary and will face off in November.
O’Quinn is the workforce development manager for Greater Spokane Inc., the region’s Chamber of Commerce. She said after the election she restarted her full-time work schedule.
“Due to the nonpartisan nature of our organization, I’m prohibited from making any political endorsements,” O’Quinn said. “I definitely hope that the Republican Party can unify. It’s important for the Republican Party and it’s important for the community.”
O’Quinn said because of her job, she did not endorse any candidates during the primary – though she was listed, as of Wednesday morning, on the endorsement list of state Senate candidate Republican Michael Baumgartner.
Baumgartner said Wednesday O’Quinn was listed as an endorser because she was one of more than 20 Republicans who were filmed saying, “We like Mike” or “I like Mike” for this youtube campaign ad.
Baumgartner said he understands O’Quinn’s job obligations and that her name will be pulled from his list of endorsements.
Former Republican state Rep. John Ahern said today that his former Republican opponent, Shelly O’Quinn, called him on Monday to congratulate him on his second-place finish.
Ahern said he’s grateful O’Quinn, who finished third, ran for the seat and that she made him a better candidate.
O’Quinn told Ahern that she will not be able to make a formal endorsement in the race for the November election because of her job with Greater Spokane Inc., the region’s Chamber of Commerce, Ahern said.
Ahern said he plans to take O’Quinn to lunch next week at the Chalet Restaurant, near 29th and Grand Boulevard.
“I’m going to encourage her to run for another office,” Ahern said.
Ahern faces the top finisher in last week’s primary, incumbent Democrat John Driscoll, in the general election race for state House representing the 6th Legislative District.
Here’s more on attempts to unify the parties after last week’s primary.
After last night, it looks like it will be round two for John Driscoll and John Ahern as they appear likely to advance to the November election.
At the Democratic Party celebration last night, Driscoll said he would start today reaching out to supporters of the third place finisher, Republican Shelly O’Quinn. Driscoll took the seat from Ahern two years ago in a vote so close it had to be recounted.
Driscoll, who won 41 percent of the vote, told the crowd that he’ll need to gain 9 percentage points to win in November.
“We’ve got to take those from Shelly O’Quinn followers, and we’re going to start tomorrow,” Driscoll said as he addressed the crowd at the Democratic celebration at Hamilton Studios.
At an election party last night for O’Quinn and candidates for county office, Chris Bugbee and Steve Salvatori, O’Quinn wasn’t conceding.
“Obviously, I was disappointed. It still can go either way,” she said.
O’Quinn was reluctant to say who she will back for November if her third-place finish doesn’t change.
“I’m willing to support the candidate who will put Washington on the right track,” O’Quinn said.
Reporter Tom Clouse contributed to this report.
A fourth in a series of videos of Rep. John Driscoll and former Rep. John Ahern giving their thoughts on election issues is now available at spokesman.com.
The two are campaigning for a House seat in the highly competitive 6th Legislative District. Driscoll, a Democrat, won the seat against Ahern, a Republican, two years ago in a close battle.
A third candidate, Republican Shelly O’Quinn, declined to be filmed when she was interviewed by The Spokesman-Review.
It’s the case of the unknown videographer, and it highlights the tension between the campaigns of John Ahern and Shelly O’Quinn.
A low-tech video of O’Quinn speaking to the Friday Morning Republican Breakfast Club was posted on YouTube on May 4. O’Quinn said she was unaware she was being filmed.
O’Quinn and Ahern are competing against incumbent Democrat John Driscoll in next month’s primary for a state House seat representing the 6th Legislative District.
“It’s not the content that bothers me,” O’Quinn said in an interview earlier this month. “It’s the fact that it was taken under the table.”
The clip shows O’Quinn standing before the group and giving some of her opinions on the environment and abortion.
But when the video was first posted, it included a picture of O’Quinn’s campaign logo with a President Obama logo superimposed on it, O’Quinn said. She called Ahern and told him that the video violated election rules.
“The whole point of the video was to say I was not Republican enough,” she said. “I have chosen to run a positive campaign in spite of the way they chose to run their campaign.”
Ahern said the video was not from his campaign.
“She threatened me with (Public Disclosure Commission) violations,” Ahern said. “I don’t respond very well to threats.”
Ahern said he agreed, however, to make some inquiries and he asked some people he knew to take down the video if they were responsible. The video was taken off of YouTube soon after. But it soon was reposted without O’Quinn’s or Obama’s logos.
Ahern said he suspects he knows who posted it, but he declined to name him or her and said people have a free speech right to post candidate comments. He also questioned why O’Quinn remains concerned that the video remains on YouTube.
“She shouldn’t be concerned about it. It’s her own voice,” he said. “She could pick up some votes from that I would think. Then again, she could lose some, too.”
There have been no debates for one of the most contested primaries in Eastern Washington, the race for a state House seat representing the 6th District.
The one debate that was scheduled for incumbent Democrat John Driscoll and Republicans Shelly O’Quinn and John Ahern was cancelled after Driscoll and Ahern decided not to participate.
O’Quinn sent a news release criticizing both her opponents for not appearing at The League of Women Voters of the Spokane Area forum on July 13.
“While their reluctance is a testament to the momentum that this campaign has developed, it is unfortunate that the voters will not have the opportunity to see the candidates next to one another talking about the issues,” she said in her news release.
Ahern said he decided not to show up after he got word that Driscoll wasn’t going to be there. He said he questioned if O’Quinn would participate because O’Quinn earlier declined to participate in video interviews with The Spokesman-Review.
“She might just get scared and not even show up for the forum,” Ahern said. ”That definitely went through my head.”
He said he attended a campaign event in Spokane Valley instead.
“There was uncertainty whether she would show up or not,” Ahern said. ”I decided I got better things to do.”