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About 250 attend Jindal event for McKenna

More than 250 people attended a fundraiser for Republican candidate for governer Rob McKenna in Spokane County Wednesday evening.

The event featured Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and was held at the home of Mike and Pam Senske, who live southeast of the city of Spokane, according to an invitation for the event. Mike Senske has long been active in Spokane-area politics and their son, Mike A. Senske is the chief executive officer of Pearson Packaging and was a member of the transition team for Spokane Mayor David Condon. (An earlier version of this post incorrectly listed the younger Senske as the host of the fund-raiser.)

McKenna's campaign had declined on Wednesday to say where the fundraiser would be held.

Attendees were charged $125 per person to attend a "pre-reception and photo opportunity" and $40 to attend an "outdoor dinner."

Republican star stumps for McKenna in Spokane

The frontrunner to be the Republican nominee for Washington governor brought a GOP star to Spokane on Wednesday to help raise money for his campaign.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – often listed as a potential vice presidential nominee this year as well as in 2008 – joined Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna soon after disembarking from a private jet at the Spokane International Airport about 5:15 p.m.

After speaking briefly to reporters at a podium not far from the parked plane at the XN Air terminal, Jindal and McKenna were headed to a fundraiser at an undisclosed private residence in Spokane. McKenna spokesman Charles McCray said he didn’t have details immediately available about how many people were expected or how high of a contribution was required to attend. He declined to say who was hosting the event.

Labrador, Farris speak out on health care reform repeal vote

Idaho 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador today defended his vote in the House to repeal the national health care reform law, saying, "Since my time in the Idaho State Legislature, it has become clear to me that Idahoans oppose every aspect of Obamacare. … This law forces Idahoans to purchase a product against their will under the threat of paying a tax for not doing so."

Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger, former NFL football player Jimmy Farris, criticized the vote, saying Congress shouldn't be backing repeal of help for uninsured Idahoans while its members enjoy health insurance benefits. "The fact is, Congressman Labrador is a well paid obstructionist with no plan," Farris declared in a statement. "While making $174,000 and enjoying a Cadillac health care plan provided by the taxpayers, he abandons 294,000 uninsured."

2nd District Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson also voted for the repeal in the House today; it passed on a 244-185 vote, with five Democrats siding with all House Republicans. The vote was symbolic, as repeal doesn't have the votes to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. It followed dozens of similar House votes in the last year and a half.

Labrador said, "I will continue to fight to repeal Obamacare in Congress until the job is done. We must enact real health care reform such as health savings accounts, tort reform and association health plans which will lower the cost of and increase access to health care. We can even look at retaining such provisions as coverage for pre-existing conditions or the ability to keep our kids on our insurance for a longer time - but we must find ways to do so without raising taxes on millions of Americans." You can read Labrador's full statement here.

Farris countered that the repeal vote sought to do away with those very provisions protecting young people and those with pre-existing conditions, without proposing replacement programs; and also would reverse a ban on insurance companies imposing lifetime caps on benefits. He called on Labrador to reveal how he'd reform the health care system and cover uninsured Idahoans; click below to read his full statement.

Charter school fans spent $2 million for signatures

OLYMPIA — Supporters of a ballot measure to put charter schools on the Washington ballot for the fourth time paid more than $2 million to an out-of-state firm to gather the signatures that virtually assure them of a vote.

Reports filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission show the campaign for Initiative 1240 paid about $2.1 million to PCI Consultants Inc. of Calabasas, Calif. A spokeswoman for the campaign had refused to reveal the amount spent on signature-gathering, or the company that received it, when supporters turned in signatures last Friday.

That expenditure allowed I-1240 to gather about 350,000 signatures, almost 110,000 more  than the minimum required to qualify for the ballot, in a little more than three weeks. That's far more than the cushion recommended by the Secretary of State's office, and makes certification all but certain.

PCI has a long track record of gathering signatures for ballot measures in Washington, receiving a total of more than $8.3 million over the last seven years, campaign disclosulre records show. It was paid to gather signatures last year for I-502, the marijuana legalization proposal on this year's ballot, as well as for an initiative that required more training for home health care workers and one that would require more humane treatment of farm animals. In 2010, it was paid to gather signatures for a proposal to impose an income tax on upper income residents and for one of two plans to end state control of liquor sales.

All but the farm animal initiative reached the ballot. But of the three that went before voters in the last two general elections, only I-1163, the home health care worker proposal, passed.

The $2.1 million may represent a record expense for signatures to get an initiative on the Washington ballot. PDC records show it far exceeds any previous payment to PCI from a client and also outstrips the reported costs of gathering signatures for last year's liquor sales initiative, about $1.12 million.

The signature campaign for the charter schools initiative was bankrolled by some of the big names in Washington's high tech industry, including $1 million from Bill Gates, $100,000 from Paul Allen and $450,000 from members of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's family.

I-1240 would allow the school districts or nonprofits to open as many as 40 charter schools over five years, which would be held to the same teacher certification and performance requirements as standard public schoos, but exempt from some laws and district policies. The per-pupil allotment from the state would bo to the charter school.

Easy voter registration deadline is today

Today is the deadline for the easiest way to register to vote. That is, online or by mail.

Yes, there is another deadline, later this month, for people who are willing to make the trip to their local county elections office and sign up in person. But let's face it, most people who are willing to jump through that hoop are already registered.

For the average, marginally motivated voter who puts things off until the last  minute, this is probably the preferred way to go. And it's the last minute.

So click here to go to a website where you can get yourself registered.

This is grass-roots democracy?

Friday’s deadline for turning in initiatives demonstrated clearly that letting voters approve legislation at the ballot box might still be an exercise of government of the people, but getting a measure on the ballot is all about money.
Of some 55 proposals that were filed this year and a half-dozen or so that made at some level of effort to gather signatures, only two reached the deadline with enough names to make the ballot. Both relied heavily on large infusions of cash from businesses or wealthy donors to pay people to collect those names. ..

To read the rest of this item, go inside the blog.

A video voter’s guide for the primary

TVW and the Secretary of State's office have put together a video voter's guide for statewide candidates on the Aug. 7 primary election.

For voters who want to see the candidates before making a choice, here's your chance.

If the video is taking too long to load, (it's a big file)  try the TVW website here.

Today’s fun video: The best (worst) political ads


BuzzFeed has compiled its list of the 10 best political ads of the year so far. Or, they may be the 10 worst, depending on your outlook.

The one above is No. 1, but the others are pretty good, too and can be found at this link.

Eyman to turn in signatures on I-1185

OLYMPIA — Signed petitions on an initiative to reiterate the supermajority needed for the Legislature to approve tax increases will be turned in Friday morning. 

Tim Eyman and other sponsors of Initiative 1185 will be carting boxes of petitions into the Secretary of State's Elections Division office at 10:30 a.m., Eyman said. That's about 90 minutes after petitions for an initiative to allow public schools to set up charter schools

His announcement followed just one day after he told supporters "we're not there yet" and urged them to get even partially filled petitions to the campaign offices because "every signature counts."

Initiatives require about 242,000 valid signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot, and state elections officials always urge campaigns to collect at least an extra 15 percent to account for duplicates, people who arent registered and signatures that don't match the state's voter registry. 

GOP gov candidates split over health care reaction

OLYMPIA — In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have a split in their party's candidates for governor.

Attorney General Rob McKenna, by far the GOP frontrunner for governor, joined one of the key lawsuits that because he doubted the constitutionality of the individual mandate, said post-decision that that question was answered. Time to get on with implementation and stop talking about a wholesale repeal of the law, he said in a press conference.

Shahram Hadian, an Iranian-American Christian pastor is a long-shot to be sure, but is trying to close the gap by vowing to be as resolute against federal health care reform and "join other fiscally conservative, freedom loving, citizen defending, courageous governors to rise up against the implementation of this unconstitutional and outrageous law."  He lists some current Republican governors who he says are refusling to implement Obamacare in their states, and includes Idaho's Butch Otter in that list. (In fact Otter hasn't said much post-decision because he was out of the office when it came down, other than he's not calling a special session to deal with setting up a health insurance exchange or other looming provisions of the federal law.)

Hadian isn't the only other Republican sharing the primary ballot with McKenna, but he's the only other one with anything close to an active campaign, and the only other one allowed to address the GOP state convention. He a sent out a fund-raising appeal and press release late last week based on fighting federal health care reform: "As the next governor, I will invoke the 10th Amendment rights and fight tooth and nail in refusing to implement any part of Obamacare. Period."

It's a strong appeal to the Tea Party wing of the GOP. But it seems to ignore the fact that unlike Idaho, the Washington Legislature has already set the state on course to have a health insurance exchange in time for the federal deadline. So he'd have to convince the Lege to repeal that law,  toss out that work and give up the promise of federal funds for the exchange.

Of course, if Mitt Romney wins the White House and Republicans take control of both house of Congress, that  all may be taken care of in the other Washington. But that would be the case for McKenna… or even Democrat Jay Inslee, should he win.

Sunday Spin: Appealing to the geeks

Politicians are always looking to expand their base, even when they divide the electorate into different groups. Business owners. Union members. Blue collar workers. Soccer moms. Seniors. College students.

John Waite is offering some political training next week to a segment he believes is generally uninvolved, and as such, often underrepresented in politics.

Geeks. . .

Governor’s race comes down to Hoopfest vs. Bloomsday

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee will be on the court Saturday at Hoopfest in a team that also includes Democratic state House candidate Marcus Riccelli.

Their team, the Evergreen Dream Team, will play its first game at 8 a.m. Saturday on Washington Street between Main and Riverside, according to a news release.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna already participated in a popular Spokane sporting event this year. He ran Bloomsday.

High court may be done with health care act, governor’s race is not

OLYMPIA – When a divided Supreme Court settled the question of whether federal health care reform is constitutional Thursday, it turned up the spotlight on the issue for Washington’s hotly contested governor’s race.
Now the question is, how long before that light dims?
Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, one of the original plaintiffs in the failed multi-state challenge, said he was surprised at the ruling but insisted he was relieved, not disappointed.
Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, Inslee’s likely Democratic opponent for governor this November, was happy: “I always believed this was constitutional. I had no qualms in voting for this bill.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire, who disagreed so strongly with McKenna’s decision to draw Washington into the court battle that she filed as a “friend of the court” on the other side, was both celebratory and caustic.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Hotline puts WA gov race No. 2

Hotline, a national political publication is ranking Washington's gubernatorial race as the second-most likely to switch from one party to another in November.

North Carolina is first.

Here's what the Hotline staff had to say about the Washington race:

WASHINGTON (Open D, Gov. Christine Gregoire retiring) (Last month: 3)
Attorney General Rob McKenna's lead was never going to hold. As Democrats begin to wrap their heads around having ex-Rep. Jay Inslee as their party's standard-bearer, polls show him closing on the popular Republican. According to recent surveys, it's a statistical tie — or close to it. McKenna must overcome Democratic headwinds, but in a state that hasn't voted Republican for governor since 1980, he presents the party with its best possible shot.

To read the entire article, click here

State primary is officially underway

OLYMPIA — Your election calendar might not say Washington State Primary until Aug. 7, but in reality, the election has already begun.

Some 50,000 ballots have been sent to deployed service members and other state residents living overseas. Some went by regular mail, others went by e-mail, depending on what the voter requested.

All of the state's 39 counties sent out some ballots, the state Elections Division said today. Spokane County sent out 3,722, which was the fifth highest in the state.

Ballots to the rest of the state's voters will be mailed out in mid-July, and have to be dropped off or postmarked by Aug. 7.

And just a friendly reminder: If you are eligible to vote, but aren't registered, you have until July 9 to register online. If you aren't registered, you can start the process by clicking here. If you can't remember if you're registered at your current address, that link will help you find that out, too.

Campaign complaint filed against Spokane House candidate

A Republican precinct committee officer is challenging the campaign advertising of a GOP candidate for state House.

But the candidate, Ben Oakley, said he cleared his signs and logos with the state Public Disclosure Commission before he started using them.

Oakley, a Republican, is running for the 6th Legislative District Houseseat currently held by Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane. Ahern is retiring. Oakley faces two other Republicans, attorney Jeff Holy and Cheney Public Schools Superintendent Larry Keller, and one Democrat, former state Rep. Dennis Dellwo, in the August primary.

Julian Hale, who is a precinct committee officer in the 7th Legislative District, filed a complaint with the state Public Disclosure Commission on Sunday.

Farris to Dems: ‘It’s about bringing people together, not dividing them’

Idaho Democrats are gathered for their state party convention today and tomorrow in Boise, while Idaho Republicans will gather for their state convention next Thursday through Saturday in Twin Falls. At today's Democratic confab, 1st District congressional candidate Jimmy Farris was the luncheon speaker, drawing an enthusiastic response from a crowd of about 100. Farris, a former NFL football player and Lewiston native, was wearing his Super Bowl ring, and led off by thanking his "team," as he  introduced his campaign staffers. Farris looks younger than his 34 years, and has an unmistakably athletic bearing, particularly when he doffed his jacket and worked the crowd.

"I've accomplished a lot and learned a lot and sacrificed a lot, and ultimately I'm running because I care a lot, I want to make a difference," he said earnestly before his speech. "Don't let the young face fool ya."

He shared stories from his NFL days, decried the current state of things in Idaho from school funding to unemployment to crumbling infrastructure to high numbers of uninsured, and said his experience has been rooted in "working with people from different backgrounds and being able to work together" to solve problems. He also painted freshman GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, the incumbent, as a promoter of "division and gridlock." Said Farris, "That's what this campaign is all about. It's about bringing people together, not dividing them. It's about being part of a team, not a … one-man show."

Farris acknowledged he has a "tough campaign" ahead of him, challenging a sitting congressman from a Republican state who's become a tea party favorite in the nation's capital. "I say here today it's time we put Congressman Raul Labrador on waivers," Farris declared. "Let's give him a two-year head start on his run for governor." Among those in the audience was former state Sen. Mary Lou Reed, D-Coeur d'Alene, who called Farris "refreshingly strong" and "a very smart guy."

Accusations highlighted AG debate between Dunn, Ferguson

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Dunn v. Ferguson debate AG clip: “I was doing doughnuts…”

For all the attention on this week's debate between the two main gubernatorial hopefuls, it was really the showdown between two of the candidates for attorney general that was more exciting.

And above is the link that highlighted it all, an exchange that started with a question about the death penalty. Democrat Bob Ferguson opposes the death penalty, but pledged to uphold the law. Republican Reagan Dunn supports it. But that really wasn't what made the interaction interesting. What makes it a fun listen is the accusations thrown first from Dunn at Ferguson, then Ferguson at Dunn, and then Dunn's rather successful attempt to diffuse Ferguson's accusation with the line: "That was 25 years ago. I was 17, and I was doing doughnuts in a parking with snow. I'm sorry."

DCCC needs to check its math

National political groups try to find deep meaning in local elections, so it's not surprising the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants to spread Tuesday's victory in Arizona over as much of the country as possible.

But they may need a new calculator before they use it as a bellwether for Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District.

Wednesday afternoon the group dedicated to electing Democrats to the U.S. House sent out a press release with this headline:

Democrats Win Special Election in More Republican District Than Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers

That, not surprisingly, had us at Spin Control scratching our heads. Didn't the district in question, Arizona's  8th Congressional District, have a Democratic congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, for the last five years? Whereas Eastern Washington's 5th hasn't had a Democratic congressperson since 1994.

How do ya figure "more Republican"? Spin Control asked Steve Carter, the DCCC representative for western states.

There's no one way to rate how partisan a district is, Carter said. "That's one way to look at it," he said when we brought up the 18-year gap for electing a Dem to the House. The DCCC, however, chose to look at it a different way…

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click to go inside the blog.

Post debate: AWB endorses McKenna, Dunn

In a move that may shock no one, the Association of Washington Business endorsed Republicans Rob McKenna for governor and Reagan Dunn for state attorney general.

The business group, which functions as the state's Chamber of Commerce, co-hosted debates in Spokane Wednesday for both offices with McKenna facing off against Democrat Jay Inslee for the first time and Dunn against Democrat Bob Ferguson.

The AWB board determined that "McKenna is the best candidate to lead our state to better times" and Dunn is "the best candidate to represent business interests" in the AG's office.

It probably didn't hurt that McKenna discussed his support for charter schools, which Inslee opposes, and the AWB came out in favor of an initiative that is gathering signatures to put a charter school proposal on the November ballot.

The AWB generally endorses Republicans for the state's chief executive. But it didn't just endorse GOP candidates today. It endorsed Democrat Jim McIntire for state treasurer.

McIntire, it should be noted, is running unopposed.

Many distinctions drawn in first Inslee-McKenna debate

The two leading candidates for Washington governor debated for the first time on Tuesday and agreed that new taxes aren’t needed to improve schools.

But they disagreed on most other points, including education in the hour-long debate at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane.

Former Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee declined to promise that he would add a billion dollars in the next two-year budget to improve basic education in a way demanded by the state Supreme Court in a ruling made earlier this year. His opponent, Republican Rob McKenna did, noting that $1 billion is just 3 percent of the state budget.

But Inslee accused McKenna of “faulty math” for supporting significant budget increases for education, higher education and Medicaid funding while also supporting to exempt more than 100,000 businesses from the state’s business and occupation tax.

“We do have to realize that we don’t have a printing press,” Inslee said. “My opponent has made promises that we just cannot keep.”

McKenna responded that he would push for business and occupation tax relief only after schools are “fully funded” and the higher education budget is boosted.

“It’s not something we can afford to do right away,” McKenna said. “If it’s not part of your vision, you’ll never attain it.”

Gov, AG debates today in Spokane

Just a reminder that the two likely finalists for governor and state attorney general will be debating this afternoon in Spokane at the Bing Crosby Theater.

Democrat Bob Ferguson and Republican Reagan Dunn are up first in the debates sponsored by the Association of Washington Business and Greater Spokane Inc. The attorney general candidates debate at 2 p.m.

Democrat Jay Inslee, the former congressman, and Republican Rob McKenna, the current attorney general, are on at 3:30 p.m.

Moderator for both debates is Austin Jenkins of Northwest Public Radio. If you don't have a ticket, both debates will be carried live on TVW, and on NPR stations around Washington. And Spin Control will be live-blogging the governor's race.

The AG's race probably has the less familiar candidates, especially in Eastern Washington…

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog

Referendum signatures forged

OLYMPIA — State officials doing the check on petitions submitted for the same-sex marriage referendum say they found what they suspect are about 1,000 forged signatures. . .

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Sunday Spin: Gov campaign heads for Spokane

Spokane will be in the political limelight Tuesday as Washington’s first gubernatorial debate of the season takes the stage at the Bing Crosby Theater.

The Association of Washington Business and Greater Spokane Incorporated are co-hosting the premier head-to-head between Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee at 3:30 p.m., the second debate on a two-event card. Two guys who want McKenna’s current job of state attorney general, Republican Reagan Dunn and Democrat Bob Ferguson, are the warm-up debate at 2 p.m.

Usually the AWB waits until the field is winnowed to two by the primary, but this year they wanted a draw for their quarterly meeting in Spokane. Of the seven other gubernatorial hopefuls, the only person who has a semi-legitimate complaint of being shut out is Shahram Hadian, a Republican from Mill Creek who has a full-fledged if underfunded campaign but the misfortune not to be the person his party thinks can put them back in the governor’s mansion for the first time since 1984.

The two business groups have given away all their tickets for the debates, but the four campaigns each got 100 tickets and might have some left, AWB spokeswoman Jocelyn McCabe said.

The Inslee campaign scheduled a debate watch party at the Saranac Public House, 21 W. Main Ave., and Republicans will likely have one, too, although at press time they hadn’t picked a venue. Check with them early this week at (509) 838-6162.

Or watch from home or other favorite location on TVW, which will carry both forums live, with several political reporters offering insightful comments before and after the debates – and me trying not to say anything too embarrassing.

The debate has been an ongoing source of political fodder for months. .  .

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, go inside the blog

Roskelley challenge dismissed

A visiting county auditor dismissed the challenge to John Roskelley's voter registration, and the Democratic challenger will appear on the ballot for the Spokane County commissioner in District 1.

That will likely bring to an end the separate challenge in Spokane County Superior Court, which tried to block Roskelley from the ballot on a different tack.

The challenge to his voter registration was filed first, by Spokane County Republican Chairman Matthew Pederson, who argued that Roskelley wasn't properly registered because he used an address where he doesn't currently have a house, or any other building.

Roskelley had moved out of his long-time home in the district witih plans to build a new home on East Heron View Lane, and used that location on his voter registration. But he was living with his son, whose house is outside the district, while completing a building permit for the property.

A commissioner candidate must live and run in that particular district in the primary. Pederson argued that Roskelley didn't; Roskelley said he was acting on information from Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton about where a legal residence is for registering to vote, and said Pederson's complaint was just politics.

In previous court cases, the intention to move to a particular location has been ruled enough to allow a candidate to claim that as a residence for voter registration.

Dalton recused herself from the complaint and asked Chelan County Auditor Skip Moore to hear the case. This afternoon Moore said Roskelley presented enough evidence to prove that his residence is the one on his voter registration.

Roskelley faces Republican County Commissioner Todd Mielke in the primary. Because they are the only two candidates for that office, they'll run countywide in the November general election.

Dalton said she'd begin printing primary ballots, which must be mailed to overseas and military voters by June 22.

Inslee campaign complains about AWB donor

OLYMPIA — The campaign for Jay Inslee said it was concerned about a big donation an oil company gave to the sponsor of next week's gubernatorial debate in Spokane. But the Association of Washington Business said he needn't be.

The $100,000 isn't for use in the governor's race. It's dedicated to an initiative campaign that would try to keep the two-thirds supermajority requirement on all tax votes the Legislature might want to take for at least the first two years of the next governor's term, the AWB says.

AWB got the money from the Tesoro Company, which is the company that operates a refinery in Western Washington as well as gas stations around the state. The refinery was the site of a fire in 2010 that killed seven workers, the Inslee campaign said. The company also gave $1,600 to the campaign of his opponent, Republican Rob McKenna.

"As you can imagine, accepting $100,000 from a major oil company openly supporting Mr. McKenna leaves the impression that the money is intended for eventual use on behalf of Mr. McKenna and against Jay Inslee," Campaign Manager Joby Shimomura wrote. "This raises serious concerns for us, and we imagine it will raise concerns for many viewers and voters as well."

To make sure the public considers everything is fair in next Tuesday's debate, which AWB is co-sponsoring with Greater Spokane Inc., the business organization should give the money back.

Not going to happen, AWB says. The money from Tesoro isn't going to candidates. It was a pass-through, coming in to AWB and out to the Initiative 1185 campaign, as Tesoro and several other big money donors requested.

"None of these funds were allocated toward any candidates. Our PDC filings indicate as much," Don Brunell, president of AWB wrote back. "Moreover, we are not in a position to dictate where our members choose to donate their own political funds. We only control those funds given to us, and in this case, they were received and then transmitted to the I-1185 campaign for the purposes of signature gathering."

To be fair, the PDC records, some of which were filed by AWB the same day the Inslee campaign sent its letter, aren't crystal clear on this. Tesoro money came in on April 24 and was part of a total of $185,000 reported to the PDC on May 15 as earmarked for I-1185, although nothing was said about signature gathering on that report.

No such amount shows up on the I-1185 campaign reports, and AWB's Tuesday filing doesn't mention the initative, it says it paid the $185,000 to Citizen Solutions, a signature gathering firm, but doesn't say for what. The I-1185 campaign, which does use Citizen Solutions, has yet to report the $185,000 as an in-kind contributions.

But Brunell has a point. AWB couldn't spend that kind of money on McKenna, or any other candidate. The only place where a PAC can dump six figures is in an initative campaign.

Taken a step farther, if some company wants to give AWB $100,000 to pass along to an initiative campaign, who is AWB to say "no way, Jose"? People who don't like this kind of money maneuver should take it up with the Legislature, not the poor PACs.

Brunell added the business group is "pleased to know that Mr. Inslee remains committed to our debate … and look forward to hearing him articulate his ideas about the key issues facing our state."

Just as Inslee's letter could be seen as lobbing a few shells before the big battle, that line from Brunell could be seen as just the tiniest dig, because AWB and the Inslee campaign had a minor dust up over the debate scheduling earlier this year that almost led to the organization giving the stage to McKenna, solo.

But maybe it was just a heartfelt, "see you in Spokane."

That debate, and a head-to-head for the two main attorney general candidates, occurs Tuesday afternoon at The Bing. They will also be televised live on TVW.

Romney stopping somewhere in WA today, with McMorris Rodgers

GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney has at least  one thing in common with President Barack Obama: He's treating the Puget Sound like an ATM machine.

Romney will make a stop somewhere in King County today for a fund-raiser. There are no public events and the Romney campaign has been closed mouthed about where the money  even takes place. Even State Chairman Kirby Wilbur said over the weekend he hadn't been told where it would be.

Two days earlier and he could've had a really high-profile venue with a stop in Tacoma on Saturday at the GOP State Convention, fired up his supporters, won over some Ron Paul supporters with a good speech to the 1,500 or so Republicans in attendance. Oh, well.

One of the co-sponsors of today's fund-raiser is U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who was given a new campaign job Monday in advance of the event. She's already the state co-chairwoman of the Romney campaign as well as a Romney delegate to the national convention.

The new job: Campaign liaison to the Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The campaign actually announced the new position for early this morning, way in advance of the fund-raiser, via press release with the expected quotes from Romney and McMorris Rodgers about how each is honored to be working with the other. It can be read in full here, for those who want the "full scoop."

Obama was in Seattle last month, for two campaign fund-raising events and anyone who wanted a glimpse of something other than the motorcade had to buy a ticket. But there was news coverage of both events.

TNT: Demo convention attendance light

Many years, Washington's two political parties have their state conventions in the same place but on different weekends. This year, they had them in different places on the same weekend.

The Spokesman-Review opted for the Republican state convention in Tacoma. To read the Tacoma News Tribune's coverage of the Democratic state convention in Seattle, click here.

Talking politics on Dialogue tonight…

Tonight on Idaho Public TV's "Dialogue," host Joan Cartan-Hansen will host a reporters and pundits roundtable discussion on the primary elections results, Idaho politics and more; on the panel will be Idaho Statesman editorial page editor Kevin Richert; Idaho Falls Post Register editorial page editor Corey Taule; Greg Hahn, host of IPTV's "Idaho Reports," and myself. Got a questions about Idaho politics? Call in and ask us. The show airs live at 8:30 p.m. Mountain time, 7:30 p.m. Pacific. Before the show, you can send your questions in by email to dialogue@idahoptv.org; during the show, call in toll-free to (800) 973-9800. There's more info here, where you can also watch the show online after it airs.

Outed Idaho Dem seeks new title: Youngest lawmaker

Nate Murphy knocked on 8,000 doors and spent just $10 on his successful 2011 campaign for Pocatello's school board, but the 22-year-old's current bid to become one of Idaho's youngest-ever legislators is exacting a higher price, reports AP reporter John Miller. Murphy is running for Pocatello's District 29 House seat as a Democrat in a Republican-dominated state. He also has a misdemeanor marijuana conviction from 2008 he knew he'd likely have to explain to voters before November. And in March, he was accidentally outed as gay after Idaho's only openly gay lawmaker told The New York Times that Murphy would be taking up her legacy. That's how his father and grandmother found out about his bisexuality.

Given those distractions, Miller reports, Murphy is working hard to refocus voter attention on the topics that matter to him, not diversionary issues he says distract from his core message of improving Idaho education, a theme that won him his School District 25 trustee seat last year. "At the end of the line, I think the election is going to be my record in public service and the issues important to my district," he said; click below for Miller's full report.