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Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey had an interesting report over the weekend on how freshman Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador has been campaigning in Nevada and Colorado for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, joining former SBA chief Hector Barreto and Romney's Spanish-speaking son Craig to pitch Romney to Hispanic voters, including addressing Hispanic business groups and doing interviews with Spanish-language media. You can read Popkey's full report here, which also examines other to Idaho officials' close ties to the Romney campaign. Now, Labrador's Democratic opponent, Jimmy Farris, has issued a news release criticizing Labrador for the move, saying he's ignoring voters in his home state.
“Congressman Labrador is ignoring the people of Idaho,” Farris said in his release; click below to read it in full. “He’s in Colorado and Nevada wooing Hispanic voters for Romney, but he’s failing to answer the simplest of questions from voters in his own state." Labrador has consistently refused to comment on anything Farris has brought up in the campaign so far, though he has agreed to debate him on live statewide TV on Oct. 25; the debate will air on Idaho Public Television.
Democrat Jay Inslee's gubernatorial campaign is all aglow today with President Barack Obama's endorsement of their guy.
Wait a minute. Hasn't Obama been a fan of Inslee's all along. Didn't he wish him well last spring in marking Inslee's departure from Congress to campaign full-time? Didn't he say nice things about Inslee during his May stop at the Paramount Theater in Seattle?
Yes, but -
"He's been supportive but hasn't officially endorsed," Inslee campaign spokeswoman Jaime Smith said. "Obama is a very popular figure here, so obviously we're excited to use this."
The most recent statewide poll we could find, which was the SurveyUSA poll from the beginning of August, had Obama over Romney 54 percent to 37 percent.
In ticket-splitting Washington, some of that popularity might not carry down the ballot into the governor's race. In 2008, Obama beat John McCain by 17 points, but incumbent Gov. Chris Gregoire beat Republican Dino Rossi by 6.5 points. In 2004, John Kerry beat President George W. Bush by 7 points, but Gregoire beat Rossi by .0047 points, after two recounts and a court case.
The Twin Falls Times-News reports today on a tiff over comments in the statements for and against the school reform referenda - Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on the November ballot - in a state-funded voter guide that goes out statewide. Despite concerns raised by both sides and requests to make changes, the arguments are running as submitted - because the Secretary of State has no legal authority to alter them after the deadline for submitting them. Times-News reporter Melissa Davlin reports that there has been one exception: In 1994, an argument submitted for the voter guide regarding an anti-gay rights initiative included a claim that an Idaho deputy attorney general was a homosexual. The Secretary of State's office removed the man's name after he threatened to sue for libel. You can read Davlin's full report here.
One of the first things a candidate does these days, after announcing he or she wants to do good things for the good people of this good community, is get a website.
While any campaign website worth its salt must offer a chance to become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, on contribute via PayPal, the main purpose is to give voters something about the candidate’s background (Click here for BIO) and ideas (Click here for Issues).
But when voters read a candidates websites, or an e-mail or a campaign letter, for that matter, should they expect the candidate wrote it? Or that the candidate read and approved it? Or that the candidate is simply responsible for it?
These are the questions facing Republican state Senate candidate Nancy McLaughlin, as a Democratic group takes issue with her website’s issues page, as well as some other campaign material…
Some people think Clint Eastwood's 12-minute schtick with an empty chair at last week's Republican National Convention was great theater. Others think it was bizarro sad.
Your opinion may depend on your political leanings.
Republican Mike Baumgartner, the state senator from Spokane hoping to unseat U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, is apparently a fan. So much so that his campaign is staging its own Eastwood moment on Friday, announcing that Baumgartner will debate an empty chair at the Spokane Republicans Breakfast Club.
Baumgartner has been frustrated for months at Cantwell's refusal to commit to debates. At one point, he proposed one debate per county, which would be 39; he has since lowered the number to 10. Last week, her campaign said they would debate, but declined to say when, where or how many times.
So at 7 a.m. Friday at the Riverview Thai Restaurant, 1003 E. Trent, he will debate an empty chair, the campaign announced this morning.
"Participating in a debate during an election campaign is a civic duty of a public servant. It is admirable this empty chair is willing to serve the voters of Washington so graciously and without hesitation," Baumgartner said in a press release.
This strategy is not without risks, of course. Suppose, for example, the empty chair were to win the debate?
While voting to re-elect Barack Obama, please help keep Republicans from taking control of the Senate, Patty Murray asked delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
Murray, Washington's senior senator who also leads the organization dedicated to electing Democrats to that chamber, got an early evening speaking slot to boost Obama, knock GOP nominee Mitt Romney and make a pitch for a Democratic Congress.
She reiterated the Democrats line of the night, that Obama believes in "an economy that's built from the middle out, not from the top down." That Republican proposals could turn Medicare into a voucher system, repeal health care reforms and take away abortion rights.
"To them, every problem is a nail and the onlly hammer they have is cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires," she said. "With a Republican Congress riding shotgun, Mitt Romney will put the middle class on the roof and take our country on a long ride."
'About an hour after her speech, the Republican National Committee issued a statement that Democrats were resorting to “false attacks to distract from their abysmal record” that includes high debt and employment above 8 percent for 42 months. “Nothing the Democrats can say will change the fact that voters know they are not better off after four years of failed policies and leadership,” Ted Kwong, a GOP spokesman, said.
Loyal Washington Democrats who didn't get to go to Charlotte for their National Convention, but are dying to watch President Obama accept the nomination and make a speech Thursday, are planning parties around the state to make it a shared experience anyway.
Some will have special guests, like Gov. Chris Gregoire, who will be at a Seattle pizza parlor with U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott.
In Spokane, the setting is more business-like. They'll meet at the party Field Office, 239 W. Main, at 6 p.m. Congressional candidate Rich Cowan will be the special guest.
OLYMPIA — The Nov. 6 ballot will be long on measures and well-populated by candidates for everything from president to state legislator.
The Washington Secretary of State's office has produced a summary that could be considered the Cliff Notes version of a Reader's Digest take. It fits on a little more than one page, with some important dates and websites to fill out the rest of a two-sided sheet of paper.
We submit it for your perusal.
State Rep. Kevin Parker has plenty of time on his hands, politically speaking.
The Republican from Spokane's 6th District doesn't have an opponent in this year's election. So over the weekend, he signed on as honorary chairman of Cathy McMorris Rodgers' congressional re-election campaign.
According to the press release, she is pleased and he is honored. She wants him to help her campaign "move forward". He wants to make sure the campaign stays in touch with voters while she's back in that other Washington.
The press release also contains some bio information on Parker, such as his co-ownership of coffee shops, serving as a leadership instructor at Fairchild Air Force Base and adjunct business prof at Whitworth University.
He was also "honorary commander for Fairchild" last year, it notes. We're guessing as honorary commander of the base, Parker didn't get to order launches of any of the planes. Perhaps this honorary gig will be more action-packed.
OLYMPIA — Charter schools would be constitutional in Washington state under the system proposed by this year's ballot initiative, Attorney general and wouldbe governor Rob McKenna said Tuesday.
Answering questions about charter schools during a weekly press conference, which he supports, McKenna dismissed any concerns that the separately established schools would be unconstitutional.
"It clearly is (constitutional) because the schools are public charter schools," he said. "They are public schools so they are constitutional."
It wouldn't matter that the commission that would oversee charter operations statewide is appointed, while public school boards are elected, he said. Public universities' boards of regents and trustees are appointed, too, he said.
His Democratic opponent, former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, has said he opposes charter schools for fear they'd draw limited funds out of the public schools, and will instead expand other innovative programs in schools.
McKenna made his comments during a telephonic press conference that was marked by technological glitches. The candidate and his staff were dialed in to one line, waiting for reporters to call in with questions, for about 15 minutes while reporters were dialed into a separate line, waiting for word that McKenna was present and ready for questions.
On a separate topic, McKenna said he would not "categorically" reject any expansion of Medicaid that's available under the Affordable Care Act, as some Republican governors already in office have vowed to do. But he is concerned that some people who would qualify for Medicaid under the expanded income limits of the act could drop private coverage they now have and apply for government assisted health care, increasing the costs to the state. He also wants to see what the state can afford, how flexible the plans are, he said.
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.
OLYMPIA — Here's Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee's ruling on the challenge to Barack Obama's eligibility to be on the ballot that's mentioned in Sunday's Spin Control column.
Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin publicly apologized this week to her opponent in her race for state Senate for using false information on a campaign mailer she sent before last month’s primary.
Her apology was made as the state Public Disclosure Commission began inquiring about the mailer in response to a formal complaint.
McLaughlin, a Republican, now acknowledges that state Rep. Andy Billig, McLaughlin’s Democratic opponent for the seat being vacated by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, never sponsored bills for an income tax that didn’t also include repeal of business and occupation taxes or reductions in sales taxes, as she claimed on her flier.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has kicked off the last two nights of the Republican National Convention as the gathering's host.
She hasn't generated much national attention, though as the host, she probably isn't supposed to.
Here is her first night's speech:
Click inside this post to watch her speech from Wednesday.
VANCOUVER – Washington voters unhappy with their state government won’t see much change unless they stop a 28-year string of Democrats in the governor’s office, the Republican attorney general contended in a debate here Wednesday night.
“I’m not the one who’s been in Olympia for the last seven years,” the Democratic former U.S. representative congressman countered.
In their first debate since the primary, Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee clashed over coal trains, the need for a supermajority on tax increases and the need for light rail on a new bridge over the Columbia River. . .
Why do you think the two-thirds majority is undemocratic when voters have approved it repeatedly
Inslee: I believe in democracy. It gives people who vote no more power than people who vote yes.
McKenna: Voters are going to have the fourth opportunity, likely to pass it again. He'd be likely to overturn the voters will again. Another example of people in charge of Olympia for years not getting it.
People of this state have the right to decide how they're going to govern.
Rapid fire questions:
Huskies or Cougars: Both Huskies
DB Cooper dead or alive: Both dead
Aplets or Cotlets: Both Applets
Umbrella in rain: No Inslee, Yes McKenna
Clams or Mussels Clams Inslee; mussels, McKenna
Privatize liquor working:
Wazzu vs. Oregon ducks? Both Cougs.
Where do you stand on coal ports
McKenna: The state does not get to stop coal shipments, that's government by federal law. They need to go through strict environmental standards… People in ports are hurting, they're desperate for good-paying jobs, they want these jobs recognizing the projects need to meet strict standards. Wouldn't we rather have these jobs when they're going to come here or go to Canada.
Inslee: There are pluses and minuses. Pluses in the jobs for construction and in the ports. Some minuses from long trains bisecting communities. In Washougal, they're concerned about 2-mile long trains running through town 18 times a day. We need to have a cummulative assessment, up and down the line, and for multiple ports. That is the direction we are going.
McKenna: I agree the transportation impacts have to be analyzed. If the ports are here, we are more likely to get crossing improvements.
Inslee: It's not a slam dunk they'd go to Canada. It costs more money there
Would you be brave enough raise taxes for education?
McKenna: The voters have been very clear on not supporting higher taxes. Not raising tax rates is not the same as raising tax revenues. Revenues are projected to go up. We need to prioritize. (Democrats) running Olympia for the last 28 years haven't directed the increases to education.
Inslee: I have a plan to find a way to get more financial resources for education. We are first in the high-tech jobs that we have, but 46th in production of students to take those jobs. I've focused like a laser beam to get people back to work, that will create revenue.
What about higher education?
Inslee: We need a job creation program to create more resources and have money for colleges. We need to use the Lean Management that businesses use and put them to work in government….and take that money and put it into higher education and K-12.
We need to bring down health care costs or it will "eat us alive."
McKenna: Talk about higher revenues by having more people employed. But that hasn't happened in Olympia. The people running Olympia have cut funding for higher education and ratcheted up tuition…They've cut the share going to higher education from about 16 percent 20 years ago to about 8 percent today. We need to get back to at least 50-50 (between the state and education.) We need to dedicate more of the state revenue that we have.
Inslee: I've heard my opponent talk about giving money back to education. First time Republicans had control of the Legislature, they cut money out of education… The fact is, as an attorney general, six times in a row, he asked for additional money for his bureaucracy while we were leaning out colleges. As for numbers, we are going to do hundreds of millions of dollars on lean
McKenna: I did not support their education cuts. I called Republican leaders and said any cuts to education would be wrong. When we asked for more money it was for work the Legislature had asked us to take on.
Inslee: I'm glad the lawsuit was rejected by the Supreme Court…Breast cancer survivors can get access to health care. On Medicaid expansion, we know everyone is paying about $1,000 a year to pay for people who don't have insurance…a hidden tax in our insurance bill.
I believe we should use Uncle Sam to take that burden off us.
McKenna: My mother had breast cancer…and I deeply resent politicizing breast cancer. Supreme court didn't reject the case. They told us we were right on taking away Medicaid funding, and the individual health insurance mandate is not constluttional under the commerce clause. Instead they called it a tax.
Nearly one in three Washington residents would be eligible for Medicaid. Is that the safety net we want? I think that is not the vision we want.
Inslee: That's like Custer won the Little Big Horn. If this lawsuit had succeeded, women with breast cancer would not be able to buy health insurance.
McKenna: Women of the state would not get to choose the policy they want. Now the federal government gets to tell you what kind of insurance you get.
Inslee: Building the bridge is one of the most direct things we can do.
I want to build a working Washington. I want to get up every single morning figuring out how to jump start the economy. I have a plan on the internet. It's not partisan. Need a research and development tax credit. Innovation based businesses need to get access to research from Washington State University. I want to remove those restrictions.
McKenna: 7 percent of the jobs have gone away. I remember what it was like when my dad was unemployed (in the 1970s) Focus on private sector job creation. They need ongoing relief: B&O tax relief for small businesses. Regulatory relief. Workers comp. Unemployment insurance relief. Not another agency..
Inslee: Washington state's very unique … on airplanes and software. We need to lead on clean energy and agriculture. We need to protect intellectual property.
They don't need government picking winners and losers. They need relief across the board.
Question: What's the problem with your opponent's plan.
McKenna: ;It's not the state's job to structure the economy.
Inslee: The plan for Labor and Industries is not going to fly, it's been rejected three times… We need a governor to do some common-sense things…like access to broadband. I'd help consumers and businesses get access to financing…We are not picking winners, except for Washington..
VANCOUVER — Do you support the new bridge over the Columbia River and how will you pay for it?
Rob McKenna: Everyone agrees the crossing is too important to jeopardize. important for regional and national commerce. … How it's going to be paid for. The heaviest burden falls on Washington taxpayers. Clearly the burden will fall more on washington commuters than oregon's. We need to slow down and make sure we have a sustainable plan. It's one-third each from Washington, Oregon and feds. Need to slow down and have a good plan.
Jay Inslee: It is a national imperative for the economic wellbeing of this country. .. Failure is not an option in building this bridge. All of us are going to do some hard work on building some consensus on the financing package. Clark County residents need to weigh in… This bridge will not be built unless we figure out how to get light rail on it…I will do that.
McKenna: Light rail is not necessarily the priority of Washington. It is in Oregon. We'll see in November.
Inslee: It is a reality of federal law. We'll need to find a consensus on light rail.
VANCOUVER — Waiting for Paul Ryan to finish his speech to the GOP convention before the debate goes live on Portland television.
OLYMPIA — A trial judge quickly rejected an effort to keep President Barack Obama off Washington's general election ballot, saying such "birther" allegations have been around for years, and rejected for years as well.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee dismissed the challenge brought Monday by Linda Jordan of Seattle, who tried to block Secretary of State Sam Reed from putting Obama on the ballot, in part because she challenged the validity of his birth certificate. Jordan claimed Obama wasn't a "natural born citizen" as required by the U.S. Constitution.
McPhee devoted six pages of his opinion to dismantling Jordan's claims based on findings in other courts that rejected similar challenges. "I do not usually devote so much time quoting the decisions of other courts in other cases. I do so here to make the point that just as all thhe so-called evidcence offered by (Jordan) has been in the blogosphere for years, in one form or another, so too has all the law rejecting plaintiff's allegations. I can conceive of no reason why this lawsuit was brought, except to join the chorus of noise in that blogosphere."
VANCOUVER — Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna are set to debate at 8 p.m. at the Washington State University campus here. Organizers are checking the lights and sound levels and tossing out practice questions.
First question: What will you do about the Columbia River crossing. That's the big transportation issue here as commuters move back and forth between Vancouver and Portland.
It was also the first question guessed in a carpool full of reporters driving down from Olympia. We also guessed it might be the second and third question, too.
We'll see if it's the first question in the debate.
Format is pretty simple: No opening statements. Alternating first answers to questions from a moderator, with each candidate getting 90 seconds to respond. Each candidate gets to ask the other two questions.
Debate scheduled to last one hour.
One of the organizers said they were happy but a bit surprised to land the debate a few weeks ago. The last gubernatorial debate in Vancouver was in 2004, she said..
Wi-Fi connection seems good, so Spin Control will live blog the debate.
Democrat Rich Cowan and Republican Mike Baumgartner seem to have a shared problem of getting the incumbents they want to unseat to debate with them as many times as they want. Or at all.
Cowan, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives against Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, proposed 10 debates, one in each county for Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District. McMorris Rodgers agreed to two, both in Spokane. One would be sponsored by Greater Spokane Inc., the other by KSPS-TV, which has handled a 5th District debate for years, even in those elections when no one else cared to.
Baumgartner has proposed 39 debates, one in each county of Washington state, against Democrat Maria Cantwell. So far, Cantwell hasn't agreed to any, although there are several invitations pending.
In replying to Cowan's letter requesting 10 debates, McMorris Rodgers used Cantwell as her leverage in accepting two: "I contemplated following the lead of our junior senator and only schedule debates with my opponent when she has scheduled debates with hers."
But folks in Eastern Washingo deserve to hear a discussion of the issues, so she was agreeing to the GSI and KSPS invitations. "Additionally, if you are able to encourage Senator Cantwell to debate Mr. Baumgartner in all 39 counties, I would be happy to debate you in all 10 counties located in the 5th Congressional District. We could arrange our debates in tandem with senate debates as well."
A spokesman for the Cantwell campaign said she has dozens of invitations for a variety of forums, debates and editorial boards, as well as "a large chunk of September" that will be taken up by the Senate's work schedule.
"We will debate," Kelly Steele said, but there's no commitment at this time on how many times, when or where. That will likely become clear in early September, he added.
This leaves us at Spin Control pondering the question of which is stranger: Ten debates in Eastern Washington, which would essentially be one a week between now and the election? 39 debates across the state, which would essentially be one every other day between now and the election? Or one candidate conditioning her debate schedule on her opponent convincing a candidate for another office to debate an opponent of another party?
Feel free to weigh in, in the comment section.
Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee have their first post-primary debate tonight in Vancouver, at the Washington State University branch campus there.
Word is the auditorium for the one-hour debate is relatively small — about 200 seats — and expected to be full. Vancouver hasn't been the site for a gubernatorial debate since no one is sure when.
The 8 p.m. debate will air live in Vancouver on KATU-TV and in Seattle on KOMO's second digital station, but apparently no one is picking it up live in Spokane. KATU will stream it live on their website, which you can reach by clicking here.
The sponsors promise good Wi-Fi coverage, so Spin Control will live blog it if at all possible. Check in later this evening.
The two last debated in Spokane in June, at a forum sponsored by AWB and GSI Inc., at the Bing Crosby Theater.
OLYMPIA — Barack Obama makes jokes about people who question his birth certificate, and his campaign even is selling a coffee mug with the presidential face on one side and a reproduction of the certificate on the other.
Mitt Romney tried to make a joke about birth certificates in Michigan last week. Some people laughed, some people didn't.
But Linda Jordan of Seattle apparently is not joking in court action filed this week in Thurston County Superior Court against the Washington secretary of state, asking the court to keep Obama off the November ballot because, she contends, his birth certificate is forged and he is not a "natural born citizen."
The state Attorney General's office was also serious in its reply today that Jordan's lawsuit is flawed for several reasons, all of which could lead to its dismissal: It doesn't name Obama as a plaintiff; it's a federal issue, involving the U.S. Constitution; the secretary of state doesn't have the authority to check on the eligibility of candidates and toss one off if he or she doesn't measure up.
Beyond that, Deputy Solicitor General Jeff Even says in a court filing, Jordan doesn't provide any proof that Obama isn't a natural born citizen. "She merely claims to have offered evidence of a forged birth certificate — a birth certificate that has never been requested by or submitted to, the secretary of state — and to have offered additional suspicions regarding a social security number."
Hearing tomorrow afternoon before Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee. Some pertinent documents are "submitted for your approval," as Rod Serling used to say.
Washington spent more than $200 million on enforcing and prosecuting marijuana laws and incarcerating the folks that violated them, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington estimates.
The organization released an interactive map today of what it estimates each county spent on marijuana law enforcement. Although not specifically tied to Initiative 502, which gives voters a chance to legalize marijuana use for adults under some circumstances, ACLU is a supporter of the ballot measure.
Regardless of one's stand on I-502, the map is fun to play with.
Tropical Storm Isaac might be bad news in general for the Republican National Convention, but the storm clouds at least have a silver lining for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
The storm is shortening the convention by one day, by knocking out all but the official opening from today's agenda. McMorris Rodgers was among the long list of people scheduled to speak from the podium tonight on the theme of "We can do better."
Now, the Eastern Washington congresswoman won't be making that speech, but will be on the stage for the three remaining nights as the convention's "host." This may sound a bit strange when one considers her district is pretty far from Florida — you can't get much farther without leaving the lower 48. When one throws a party, the "host" is usually the person whose house the party is at, or who is paying the bar tab at the restaurant, and neither of those descriptions fit.
"I wouldn't look at it from a geographic perspective, but from a national political perspective," her spokesman Todd Winer said.
McMorris Rodgers has been involved in the Mitt Romney presidential campaign for months, and is currently campaign co-chairwoman for Washington state, campaign liaison to the House of Representatives, co-chairwoman of Farmers and Ranchers for Mitt and co-chairwoman of Women for Mitt.
The title of convention host is a new rule for this GOP national convention, Winer said. McMorris Rodgers, who had been slated for a seven-minute speech in the original game plan, will speak from three to five minutes at the beginning of each night's events, explaining who the speakers are and the evening's theme. (There's a different theme for each night.) . She'll be on the stage a fair amount, throughout the convention, Winer said.
For the complete "Order of Business" for the convention, click here.
The Republican National Convention is in Tampa this week, if Hurricane Isaac doesn’t blow the GOP into the next county. They just released a revised schedule, because Monday is going to be a quick opening and then folks will mostly hunker down.
That moves the speech by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, of Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, to Tuesday. She still has a prime-time speaking gig, at least on the East Coast, sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. The original speech was going to go 7 minutes, her staff said. We'll see if she has to cut back.
State Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, who would like to be U.S. Sen. Baumgartner, R-Wash., also will be in Tampa. No speaking slot, but his campaign says he’ll be available for interviews through Tuesday. Not sure if the national press corps knows to use a five-second delay on live broadcasts, in case they need to bleep out anything.
Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed and his brother Roger Reed, a Spokane attorney, are both Romney delegates to the convention. Sam is an avid Coug, so look for WSU colors during shots of the state delegation.