Latest from The Spokesman-Review
A website known as "Bad Lip Reading" has taken clips from the first presidential debate and substituted new words. Worth a watch, and one can only wonder what they'll do with tonight's debate.
Political junkies can watch a debate triple-header tonight, or as much of three different matchups as they can stand.
The second presidential debate, this one a Town Hall style matchup, starts tonight at 6 p.m. Pacific. The 90-minute debate is live on the three major networks, the cable news channels and C-Span. If you have the TV on, you'll actually have to work a little bit not to see it.
At 8 p.m., the final Washington gubernatorial debate takes place in Seattle at KING-TV, and will be carried in Spokane on KREM-TV Channel 2, which is part of the Belo network. At 9 p.m., KSPS-TV Channel 7 will air the U.S. Senate debate; it was taped last Friday afternoon (our story is here) and aired in Seattle that evening, but this is the first time it has been broadcast in Spokane. (Editor's note: An early version of this post listed the wrong time for the Senate debate.)
Democrats are gathering to watch the presidential and gubernatorial debate at the Obama campaign Spokane field office, 239 W. Main. No word yet on a Republican gathering to watch the festivities.
Last night's public forum on the school reform ballot measures drew a near-capacity crowd of 350 at Centennial High School, the Idaho Statesman reports; you can read their full report here.
The state’s campaign watchdog on Monday rejected complaints about contributions and spending by Democrat Jay Inslee.
Just days before Washington’s voter get their ballots in the mail and just over three weeks before the deadline to mail them back, the Public Disclosure Commission voted unanimously to reject a complaint against Inslee filed by McKenna’s campaign manager, Randy Pepple…
To read the rest of this post, or to comment, go inside the blog.
Washington has too many licenses and permits for business, and doesn't do a good job of making it easy for companies to find out what they need to get them, Rob McKenna said today.
The Republican attorney general running for governor promised to do more to streamline the state's processes for obtaining all that paperwork.
To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.
Tonight, the League of Women Voters, Transform Idaho and the AAUW are sponsoring an educational panel discussion on Idaho's school reform referenda; the forum, which is free and open to the public, will be at Centennial High School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. “The objective is to clarify the referendums and the impact of the resulting vote on Idaho's educational system,” the groups said in a news release announcing the event.
The panel will include Ken Burgess, partner at Veritas Advisors and campaign manager of the Yes4Idaho campaign, and Jason Hancock, deputy chief of staff to Idaho state schools Superintendent Tom Luna, representing the “yes” side; and Mike Lanza, chair of the “Vote No on Props 1,2,3” campaign, and Cindy Wilson, government teacher at Centennial High, representing the “no” side. Current perspective on how the laws are working in the Boise and Meridian school districts will be provided by Don Coberly, Boise schools superintendent; A.J. Balukoff, Boise school board president; Eric Exline, Meridian School District community relations director; and Anne Ritter, vice chair of the Meridian School Board.
Jim Weatherby, emeritus professor at BSU, will moderate. Those attending are encouraged to arrive by 6:15 p.m.; Centennial High School is located at Cloverdale and McMillan roads in Boise.
1st Congressional District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador reports today that he's raised $177,609 in the latest campaign finance reporting period - a total of $797,686 for the election cycle to date; he's spent $87,073 ($510,197 to date), and had $290,984 in cash for his campaign at the close of the reporting period, which ran from July 1 to Sept. 30. His Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, reported raising $32,606 in the reporting period - $69,993 to date; spending $31,024 ($60,086 to date), and had just $9,888 on hand at the close of the reporting period.
You can read Farris' 54-page report here, and Labrador's 115-page report here, both at the Federal Election Commission website.
Just over half of Farris' fundraising for the period, $17,000, came from unions. The rest was from individuals, including online donations through the ActBlue Democratic fundraising site, or from Democratic Party committees.
Labrador raised $119,109 from individuals, including lots of business owners and top executives in Idaho, and $58,500 from PACs during the reporting period. His biggest single donation was $10,000 from The Freedom Project, House Speaker John Boehner's House GOP leadership PAC; he also received $2,000 from Friends of John Boehner. Other donations of note to Labrador were a total of $10,000, in four pieces, from two couples from Louisiana who own one of the largest vessel brokerage businesses in the Gulf of Mexico serving the oil and gas industry; $1,000 each from two out-of-state Indian tribes, in Minnesota and Washington; and $2,500 this period for a total of $7,500 to date from the beer wholesalers' PAC.
Labrador continued to pay his wife, Becca, a $2,063 per month salary for her work on the campaign.
Both Labrador and Farris used some of their campaign funds for expenditures identified as political donations. Farris gave $5,000 to the Idaho Democratic Party. Labrador gave $10,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee; $5,332 to the Idaho Republican Party; $500 to the Idaho Freedom Foundation; $310 to the Conservative Women of Idaho State PAC; and $1,000 each to the re-election campaigns of GOP Reps. Joe Walsh of Illinois and Jeffrey Landry of Louisiana.
Mike Lanza, chairman of the "Vote No on Props 1,2,3" campaign, asked why the National Education Association gave $1.06 million to the campaign against the school-reform measures, said, "Because they're an organization of teachers and they support their subsidiary organizations around the country. Their membership helps decide these things, what they want to support. They, I think, recognize that what's going on in Idaho is similar to what's happening in other states, and that frankly these are key education questions about how our schools are going to run for many years to come." He said, "We appreciate the fact that there are teachers outside of Idaho who support what we're doing as well."
As for the pro-reform campaign's latest TV ad, which uses an edited 2009 video clip to suggest that the reason the NEA is backing repeal of Idaho's reform laws is to flex the muscles of union power, Lanza said, "The other side has been wanting to portray this from the get-go as union vs. Tom Luna. But I think they're dodging a mathematical reality that we would not be talking about that, and it would not be on the ballot, if it wasn't for the fact that there's widespread opposition to these laws beyond teachers. We got 74,000 signatures." The Idaho Education Association, Idaho's teachers union, has roughly 13,000 members.
The "No" campaign's most recent campaign finance report showed the group has raised $1.4 million and spent $1.3 million, with the largest chunk of its fundraising, $1.06 million, coming from the National Education Association, $280,000 from the Idaho Education Association and the rest from hundreds of small donations from individuals across the state.
The "Yes" campaign's report showed it's raised $164,858 and spent $112,679; the biggest contributions were $50,000 from Melaleuca and $15,000 from Hagadone Hospitality, with other big givers including the Idaho Prosperity Fund at $20,500 and the Idaho Republican Party and Lorna Finman at $10,000 each. In addition, Parents for Education Reform reported raising and spending $200,350 from undisclosed donors; and the Idaho Federation of Republican Women reported raising and spending $115,000, $110,000 of that from Melaleuca.
Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says he's likely to demand that a group helping finance the campaign to save Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's education reforms reveal the names of its contributors, the AP reports. Education Voters of Idaho collected at least $200,000 to promote Luna's reforms ahead of the Nov. 6 referendum, but says it doesn't have to disclose donors because it's a nonprofit organization under federal tax law. On Monday, Ysursa said the group has yet to provide a legal explanation for why it's not a political action committee required by Idaho's 1974 "Sunshine laws" to disclose donors ahead of the election. "It eviscerates the law if we don't get disclosure," Ysursa told the Associated Press. "We personally do not believe there's a doubt here."
Absent a response from the group, Ysursa said he'll seek "legal remedies" that could include a request for a court order for it to reveal its donors. He expects to act this week. Susan Buxton, Education Voters of Idaho's attorney, didn't return a call seeking comment Monday. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Ken Burgess, spokesman for Yes for Idaho Education, is defending his group's use of an edited clip from a July 2009 speech by a retiring NEA official in a campaign commercial that says it shows "the national teachers union as they explain why the union is spending millions to defeat education reform like Props 1, 2, and 3 here in Idaho." "The purpose of that ad is to demonstrate to Idahoans really what and who the NEA is all about," Burgess said. "What's most important to them really is just being able to have members."
Asked how the 2009 clip shows why the NEA is spending big on the Idaho campaign in 2012, Burgess said, "Oh, they've engaged in these types of efforts in many states around the country where education reform has been attempted. It's nothing new for Idaho, it's nothing new for this year. … It's stuff that they have done all along, because they basically oppose reform of the status quo."
Burgess said an earlier ad in favor of Props 1, 2 and 3 that was being run by a group coordinated by lobbyist and political activist John Foster is no longer running, but he promised "a very aggressive effort on our part … all the way through Nov. 6" to push for support for the measures, possibly including additional ads. The new TV commercial is running across southern Idaho, and a radio version is running statewide.
The latest campaign commercial in the school reform fight comes from "Yes for Idaho Education," the group leading the campaign in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, and features an edited clip from a July 2009 retirement speech by then-National Education Association general counsel Bob Chanin, talking about why he believed the NEA had become an effective advocate during the 41 years he'd been with the group. That's not what the ad says the clip is about, however.
"Listen to the national teachers union as they explain why the union is spending millions to defeat education reform like Props 1, 2 and 3 in Idaho," the ad states. It then plays this edited clip from Chanin's speech: "It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children, and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. It's because we have power." The narrator then says, "Don't let the union stop education reform in Idaho - vote yes on Props 1, 2 and 3."
However, not only is the statement not about why the NEA is backing the campaign against the reforms - which campaign finance reports show it's doing to the tune of $1.07 million so far - the clip is of statements made more than two years before Idaho's reform laws even passed. The same cropped video clip has been used repeatedly over the past three years to try to discredit the NEA, notably in February of 2011 by Sean Hannity on Fox News and by conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh, both of whom used the clip to suggest that the national teachers union doesn't care about children; and in a March 2011 anti-union ad from Crossroads GPS and Karl Rove that prompted criticisms both from the NEA and the conservative Cato Institute; Talking Points Memo reported here on that dustup.
Yes for Idaho Education has not yet responded to reporters' inquiries about its new ad.
A new statewide poll out sponsored by the Idaho Statesman newspaper shows Idahoans deeply divided over the school reform referenda measures on the November ballot, Propositions 1, 2 and 3. The poll of 625 likely voters, conducted last week and released over the weekend, showed these results:
Prop 1: 42 percent against, 38 percent in favor, 20 percent undecided
Prop 2: 42 percent in favor, 39 percent against, 19 percent undecided
Prop 3: 47 percent against, 40 percent in favor, 13 percent undecided
Plus, when asked if the propositions, if approved by voters, will improve the quality of education in Idaho public schools, 44 percent said no, 39 percent yes, and 17 percent were undecided. You can read a full report here in the Statesman.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C. conducted the poll for the Statesman; pollster Brad Coker told Statesman reporter Dan Popkey that the high number of undecided voters is likely to end up breaking 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 against the measures. "The fact that all the results are close is misleading," Coker told the Statesman. "The truth is that all three face a stiff uphill battle. All things being equal, they are likely to lose by margins much larger than what these numbers show."
This is the first independent poll conducted and released on Idaho's hottest election-season issue this year.
Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports today that eastern Idaho millionaire and GOP activist Frank VanderSloot is planning to sharply up his spending in support of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the school reform referenda, now that a legal dispute over disclosure of donors is holding up a big batch of anonymously raised funds intended for the campaign. VanderSloot, CEO of Melaleuca, already has spent more than $200,000 on behalf of the "yes" campaign backing the measures, including $50,000 donated to Yes for Idaho Education, $110,000 to the Idaho Federation of Republican Women for radio ads, and $20,000 a week for the last several weeks for his own separately funded full-page ads in newspapers across the state.
VanderSloot told Popkey that campaign finance reports showing opponents of the measures have raised $1.3 million from teachers unions - along with undisclosed internal polling showing the measures trailing - prompted him to dig deeper himself; you can read Popkey's full report here. VanderSloot also told both Popkey and the Idaho Falls Post Register that he never donated to the anonymous fund.
Meanwhile, VanderSloot also told Popkey that despite his backing of the reform plan, he's "not very enamored with Prop 3," the measure that requires the state to provide every high school student with a laptop computer and mandates a new focus on online learning. "I never have been," VanderSloot said, telling Popkey he's more concerned about the other two measures, which roll back teachers' collective bargaining rights and impose a new merit-pay bonus system. You can read Popkey's full post on that here.
Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna clashed over same-sex marriage, Medicaid and the best way to get more money to the state’s public schools Thursday night.
Each accused the other of ignoring the “will of the voters” when it was convenient. Each claimed the ability to forge bipartisan consensus while contending the other was tainted by their recent government service.
But neither broke completely new ground in a televised gubernatorial debate in Seattle sponsored by most of the city’s television stations.
Former Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick is back in the news.
Kirkpatrick, who turned in her badge last year after voters ousted Mayor Mary Verner, has caught the attention of King County sheriff's candidate John Urqhart, who says he would hire her to serve as his chief deputy if voters elect to the post next month.
Urqhart spent 24 years with the King County Sheriff's Office in various roles and is challenging Sheriff Steve Strachan, who was appointed to the post by the King County Council in April.
Here's a link to the article about Urqhart's announcement that SR reporter Nicole Hensley put together today.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will come to Idaho the week after next to hold a fundraiser for GOP Rep. Raul Labrador. Labrador said, "I am thrilled that Congressman Eric Cantor is coming to Idaho. He is a thoughtful and effective leader who understands the challenges Idaho families face everyday. I look forward to helping him become better acquainted with our great state." The Oct. 24 event will feature a roundtable discussion with Cantor and Labrador, followed by a reception; PACs pay $2,500 for the discussion, individuals are $1,000 a head; and it's $250 to attend the reception and get a photo; there's more info here.
Meanwhile, longtime Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank sent out a fundraising email this week for Labrador's Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, writing, "The Tea Party extremists have essentially taken over the Republican Party, and the right wing majority on the Supreme Court has guaranteed that these extremists will have virtually unlimited fat cat money being spent on their behalf. Since their substantive record is indefensible, they have gone on the attack, and Democratic candidates face a barrage of twisted, demagogic attacks." Urging donations to Farris, Frank's email said, "We have to fight back against the Tea Partiers and their wealthy backers, which is why I volunteered to help Jimmy, who is one of their targets, because of his commitment to the values we believe in, and that they have never been so seriously challenged as they are this year."
In practically every legislative district in the state where there's a contested race - and even one where there's not - the Senate Republican PAC has made a campaign contribution to the Republican candidate. The two exceptions: Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, in District 8, and Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, who's running for the Senate seat now held by the retiring Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene.
It turns out that Pearce was left out by mistake. "It was an oversight if we didn't make him one," said Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg. "We need to make one to him. … It wasn't intentional." Pearce, chairman of the Senate Resources Committee, faces Democrat Alma Hasse in the November election.
Nonini was another matter - it was no oversight. Hill said, "We had talked to him. He had $21,000 at the end of the last reporting period and his opponent had, like $30 or something like that, and it didn't seem like he needed the support on that." He added, "Might there be feelings if he received funds from that PAC when some of the people that helped raise the money for that are people that he tried to get defeated? There may have been. That may have been part of our consideration, but it certainly was not the only consideration."
Nonini targeted three sitting GOP senators for defeat in the primary, pouring thousands into their primary opponents' campaigns, but failing in all three cases to unseat them.
The remaining Senate GOP incumbents and aspiring GOP senators, even those facing long odds, got donations from the leadership PAC of $250, $500 or $1,000 each. Hill said the money was allocated "where we felt the need was, and where the funds would do the most good." The unopposed senator who received money - $500 - was Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint. Her Democratic opponent withdrew from the race in June. Said Hill, "I hate to appear behind the times, but I don't think we knew that."
Jon Stewart skewers the over-use of polls by the national media.
Joe Biden and Paul Ryan aren't the only debate on the schedule tonight for Washington voters.
In a sense, they are the opening act for Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna, who will debate in Seattle at 9 p.m. (Although some people might argue the governor's debate is more like the second movie at the drive-in double feature, the one many people don't bother to stay up to watch all the way to the end. But it's all about personal preferences.)
The debate is such a huge deal in Seattle that it is on most of the city's broadcast stations, and most are supplying a moderator or questioner to the show. In Spokane, KREM-TV is carrying it.
Ryan v. Biden is a 90 minute event, which starts at 6 p.m. local time. McKenna v. Inslee is scheduled for 60 minutes.
Speaking of debates, what is likely to be the only debate of the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell and Republican challenger Mike Baumgartner occurs Friday, also in Seattle at KCTS-TV, the public television studio. The Spokesman-Review will be there for same day coverage on the web and print coverage the next morning. It will air in Spokane next Tuesday, on KSPS-TV, channel 7.
The folks at KSPS worked mightily to bring a second Senate debate to Spokane, but the Cantwell people have so far only agreed to one debate, total.
There's a precedent for Cantwell agreeing to a late debate in Spokane. That happened in 2000, in her run against incumbent Slade Gorton, when no one was sure until the last minute whether she'd appear at a Rotary-sponsored debate. Her campaign said no, then it said yes, but she almost didn't make it because fog was delaying flights that morning at Spokane International Airport.
If something similar happens this year, it may not appear on the tube. Late commitments are hard to work into a television schedule.
Not all the campaign finance reports are in from yesterday's 5 p.m. deadline, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're late: This deadline is a postmark deadline, so some candidates could have mailed their reports with a postmark by 5 p.m. yesterday, and still be on time. Among the North Idaho legislative races for which both reports are in is the race for outgoing Rep. Phil Hart's seat between Republican Ed Morse and Democrat Dan English.
English reported raising $5,076 in the reporting period and spending $4,213, and had $863 cash on hand and $310 in debt at the close of the period. He received nine donations from individuals in North Idaho; his biggest contribution was $400 from the Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee. Most of English's spending was for campaign literature and advertising.
Morse reported raising $9,873 in the reporting period and spending $5,874; he had $3,999 cash on hand and $10,000 in debt left over from the primary race. Morse received a slew of PAC contributions, $1,000 from Idaho Power Corp., and $500 from House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. Most of Morse's campaign spending went to Strategery Group of Post Falls.
Idaho's campaign finance deadline came and went Wednesday without any word on who funded a statewide TV ad campaign in favor of controversial school reform measures - and backers say they don't plan to disclose their donors. Former state Rep. Debbie Field, the former two-time campaign manager for Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, said potential donors to the campaigns backing the reform laws are being told they have two avenues: Donate to the official "Yes for Education" campaign, which means their contributions will be reported; or give anonymously through two new groups she's chairing.
Field said she believes people have been intimidated by unions on the school reform issue, and the groups provide an avenue "for people who really wanted to give, but didn't want to go through the intimidation." She said, "They will give if they feel like they can give anonymously to a place that will support education, but they don't want to be maligned." The arrangement is currently under legal review at the Idaho Secretary of State's office, opponents of the measures decried it as a front for mischief and called the intimidation claim "preposterous." You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
On the eve of Washington's next gubernatorial debate, a video featuring Republican Rob McKenna doing Gangnam style dancing apparently has gone viral.
That's according to Geek Wire which also suggests McKenna may have an edge on capturing the dork vote with his performance at a Global Korean Day celebration in Seattle last weekend.
Not all reviews are positive, however. The candidate's wife, Marilyn McKenna, tweeted that one child says it takes embarassment of one's parents to a whole new level, and another is offering her $10 to never do this again.
McKenna will debate Democrat Jay Inslee at 9 p.m. Thursday in a Seattle meeting that will air on KREM-TV in Spokane, as well as most broadcast stations in Seattle. It will start about an hour after the vice presidential debate and the "post-game" analysis by television talking heads.
Those wondering what the Initiative 502 would do with that boatload of money it is sitting on have at least part of an answer. Today they unveiled a television ad that features three federal law enforcement types — two former district attorneys and one former FBI agent — arguing that legalizing marijuana would be a good thing.
A copy of the ad can be found here.
Kate Pflaumer was the U.S. attorney for Western Washington under Bill Clinton, and John McKay had the job under George W. Bush. Also on the ad is Charles Mandigo, was once the special agent in charge in Seattle. McKay and Mandigo both testified at a legislative hearing earlier this year in favor of the change in law.
I-502 would legalize marijuana use in Washington for adults in many instances. The pro campaign, which is called New Approach Washington, has collected more than $4.8 million, but has spent only about half of it so far.
A check of the Public Disclosure Commission records shows that total is driven in part by some big out-of-state donations, including $1.7 million from Peter Lewis of Mayfield Village, Ohio, the retired board chairman of Progressive Insurance, and 1.3 million from Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York based group working on changing drug laws. Biggest Washington donor is Rick Steves, noted travel writer and marijuana activist, who's in for $350,000.
The No campaign, which goes by the name Safe Access has raised about $9,300, much of it from medical marijuana operations which oppose the law, Another group, No on I 502, has raised just under $5,800. Those totals are a bit dated, because neither has reported any contributions or expenditures since the end of August.
The National Organization for Marriage, which is opposing the ballot measure which would let Washington recognize same-sex marriage, posted a video on its blog that suggests President Obama was hiding his support for such unions for several months.
It's a clip of Gov. Chris Gregoire telling a group that when Obama visited Washington state in February right after she'd signed the bill that's behind Referendum 74, the president whispered in her ear to thank her for that and said "history will be on our side."
Note the use of the first person plural.
It wasn't until May that Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, saying up until then only that his position was "evolving." Gregoire's remarks suggest the evolution was complete months before, NOM contends, wondering if other politicians also were receiving "secret support" from the president to change marriage laws.
So where does this video come from?
Read the rest of this item inside the blog.
Today, we launch a series of videos on local election, giving candidates a chance to explain their platform and positions on several issues. We'll start with the race for state Senate in central Spokane between state Rep. Andy Billig and Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin.
Watch for videos later this week in which McLaughlin and Billig answer questions on energy, transportation and education funding.
While the Democrats tried their hand at comedy, Republican Rob McKenna tried his feet at dancing last weekend.
Appearing at the Global Korean Day Celebration in Seattle on Saturday, McKenna joined some young dancers on the stage for some Gangnam style dancing. From the video, it would appear that he sometimes substituted some Western style moves for the steps he couldn't quite emulate. From the video, it would also appear that his wife Marilyn (on the other side of the stage) is the one with rhythm.
Should he lose the November election, will McKenna go for a spot on "Dancing With the Stars"?
One interesting side note: According to The Atlantic, Gangnam style dancing, and its main practicioner, is somewhat subversive, mocking class and wealth in contemporary South Korean society. Of course, the way McKenna is doing it, it may just be a good cardio workout.
Wednesday Update: Geek Wire says the video has gone viral, and suggests McKenna may have locked up the dork vote. Marilyn McKenna tweeted that one child says it takes embarassment of one's parents to a whole new level, and another is offering her $10 to never do this again.
Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports that Debbie Field, Gov. Butch Otter's former drug czar and two-time campaign manager, has raised $200,350 from a single source and spent it on broadcast ads supporting Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the "Students Come First" school reform laws. Field filed a campaign finance report today saying the money, all spent on the broadcast advertising, came from a group called "Education Voters of Idaho" that shares the same Boise post office with Field's group, "Parents for Education Reform," and referred Popkey to John Foster for information about the funding group; Foster told Popkey the funding group is a 501c4 non-profit that doesn't have to disclose the source of the money. Popkey reports that the Idaho Secretary of State's office said that question is "currently under legal review." You can read Popkey's full post here.
The Democratic opponent of U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the November election used much of the first debate for Congressional seat representing Spokane working to portray the incumbent Republican as an engrained fixture in a bickering Congress.
But McMorris Rodgers used her time to defend her record, which she said proves that she fights for Eastern Washington and can work with Democrats. She noted her work on bipartisan legislation on hydroelectric power.
Washington Democrats got together recently to give out awards, and the prize for "Rising Star" went to former legislative and congressional aide Marcus Riccelli, a current candidate for the state House of Representatives.
One might think that Democrats might want to hold off on proclaiming stardom until Riccelli actually beat Republican Tim Benn for that seat — imagine something akin to the political equivalent of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx — but apparently they believe the 3rd Legislative District is blue enough that winning the primary makes him a sure bet in November.
To mark the occasion, two of his former bosses, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and state Sen. Lisa Brown, performed a Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" style tribute to Riccelli. While it has a few good lines and cute bits — notice the big map behind them is a state map — it makes clear that Cantwell and Brown should not quit their day jobs.
But wait a minute. Brown actually did quit her day job as Senate Majority leader, and the dominoes that fell, with Rep. Andy Billig running for her seat created the opening that Riccelli is trying to fill. So cancel that. Let's just say that when Brown figures out her next career, it probably won't be in standup comedy.