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Obama, Romney Pursue Women Vote

Mitt Romney and President Obama spent much of Wednesday battling for the support of women voters — a form of electoral hand-to-hand combat that is likely to persist all the way to Nov. 6. As Time Magazine's Michael Scherer put it, “there was no doubt about the winner of the second presidential debate: Women. Both candidates lurched onto the campaign trail Wednesday with new appeals to shore up support among a key demographic that may decide the outcome in key swing states.” And ABC News political analyst Nicolle Wallace said on “Good Morning America” today that “all women are making trade-offs with both of these guys. I don't think men — but particularly women — were attracted to the nastiness in that debate. Women, more than men, are turned off when it gets below the belt”/Michael Falcone & Amy Walter, ABC News. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Why does the media and candidates try to focus on women as a monolithic group that can be pidgeon-holed rather than a widely diverse group that simply shares gender?

Gov debate 4: Fights continue over school funding, partisanship

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.
  

Stapilus: Why Luna ‘BS’ Matters

Superintendent Tom Luna and wife, Cindy, talk with North Idaho College trustee candidates Paul Matthews, left, and Ron Nilson at the GOP Women's Club monthly lunch at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Thursday. (Duane Rasmussen photo special to HucksOnline)

Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press explains why it matters whether or not Superintendent Tom Luna uttered the BS word to Democrat Brian Cronin at their debate over the Luna Laws in Boise this week, especially if both run for governor in 2014:

That's mattering a little more as time goes on, because the dispute is unresolved. If, say, Luna had acknowledged the remark Cronin alleges — whether it was real or not, or maybe some kind of half-mea culpa (“I may have been a little heated there,” or something similar) might have sufficed — he would have had the whole matter behind him; the subject is asked and answered. Representative Raul Labrador did that when his opponent criticized him for missing too many votes in Congress. He offered a partial explanation, but then said that, yes, he had missed more votes than he should have, and he would try to do better in future. That closed the subject (for now anyway). It's the nagging loose ends that give the story some legs. The comment Luna was said to have delivered wasn't, after all, so terribly extreme even if true. But the did-he or didn't-he aspect may not specifically go away, and it may feed into other narratives down the road. Full column here.

Question: Am I the only one who thinks this flap is silly?

Luna Reimburses Lobbyist For Lunch

After first saying, “I don't have a problem with it,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna reimbursed a lobbying firm that represents Apple and other clients with an interest in upholding his 2011 education reforms in November. Four state staffers were part of a table of 10 at Tuesday's City Club forum on Props 1, 2 and 3 featuring Luna and Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise. Most of the others at the table were guests of Luna's. Two representatives of the Boise firm Sullivan Reberger Eiguren were present, lobbyist Gloria Totoricaguena and an intern who studies at Boise State. Luna repaid the lobbyists out of his own pocket, said his spokeswoman, Melissa McGrath/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Photo: Superintendent Tom Luna and Democrat Brian Cronin at City Club lunch in Boise)

Question: Did Superintendent Luna handled this situation properly?


Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/10/03/idahopolitics/for_lunas_idaho_education_department_staff_there_actually_a_free#storylink=cpy

Poll: Most Tune In To Debate

  • Wednesday Poll: Prior to the first 2012 presidential debate last night, 7f6 of 123 respondents (61.79%) said they planned to watch the event. Only 38 of 123 respondents (30.39%) said they wouldn't. 9 (7.32%) were undecided.
  • Today's Question: Who do you think won the debate?

Obama, Romney Come Out Swinging

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talk at the end of the first presidential debate in Denver Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In a showdown at close quarters, an aggressive Mitt Romney sparred with President Barack Obama in their first campaign debate Wednesday night over taxes, deficits and strong steps needed to create jobs in a sputtering national economy. “The status quo is not going to cut it,” declared the Republican challenger. Democrat Obama in turn accused his rival of seeking to “double down” on economic policies that actually led to the devastating national downturn four years ago – and of evasiveness when it came to prescriptions for tax changes, health care, Wall Street regulation and more. With early voting already under way in dozens of states, Romney was particularly assertive in the 90-minute event that drew a television audience likely to be counted in the tens of millions – like a man intent on shaking up the campaign with a little less than five weeks to run/AP. More here. (AP photos)

Question: Who won the debate?

Debate: What Did Luna Say?

Both sides are standing by their conflicting versions of what was said yesterday in the Luna-Cronin clash at the City Club of Boise, shown here, when, just after Rep. Brian Cronin's opening remarks, state schools Superintendent Tom Luna leaned over to him and expressed displeasure about Cronin's remarks. This photo, taken by Dan King, contract photographer for the City Club, captures the moment. I requested the audio from Boise State Public Radio, which broadcasts City Club forums, and will broadcast this one on Saturday evening; the forum also is scheduled to air on KTVB's 24/7 channel twice tomorrow, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Cronin maintains that Luna said something like, “That's the biggest piece of bullshit I've ever heard.” Luna maintains he said something like, “I could not believe the rhetoric in your speech” or “I could not believe what you said in your speech”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Would it make a difference to you if Luna has said (BS)?

School Reform Gets Personal

Idaho Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna is shown at a Robotics competition in Boise a few years back in this file photo provided by Duane Rasmussen. On Tuesday, Republican Luna and Democrat Brian Cronin engaged in a passionate debate about the three referendums on the November ballot that would nullify Luna's education reforms of 2011.

Here’s how fiery the debate over school reform has gotten in Idaho: After a forum at the City Club of Boise on Tuesday, state Rep. Brian Cronin (pictured), D-Boise, accused state schools Superintendent Tom Luna of grabbing his arm after his opening remarks and berating him. “He grabbed my arm rather forcefully and got in my face and said, ‘That’s the biggest bullshit I’ve ever heard,’ ” Cronin said. “I looked at the people at the lead table and I think they saw that I was visibly alarmed, shaken, but that’s what he said. He grabbed my arm hard enough such that I spilled my water. … When he tried to touch me again, I told him not to touch me.” Luna’s spokeswoman, Melissa McGrath, said, “He never used that language. That’s completely inaccurate”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Is the attempted overthrow of the Luna Laws a personal issue for you?

Luna, Cronin Face Off re: Luna Laws

  • Betsy Russell is live-blogging the debate between Superintendent Tom Luna and Democratic legislator Brian Cronin today in Boise. Click here.

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna is speaking first at today's City Club of Boise forum. “About 30 states have passed some form of education reform in the past two years,” Luna said. “Education reform in the state of Idaho is absolutely necessary, not because we have bad schools, in fact in the state of Idaho, we have good schools. … But in the world that we live in today, it isn't whether we have good schools, the question is, is good good enough?” Luna said not enough Idaho high school students are furthering their education after high school, and those who do aren't succeeding. “It should be alarming and unacceptable to all,” he said. He said that's the focus of his “Students Come First” reforms. “As a result of Students Come First, we now have high academic standards in place,” he said. “We didn't have that before
/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (AP file photo: Brian Cronin debates against the Luna Laws during 2011 Legislature)

Question: Do you have your mind made up re: how you're going to vote re: referenda on Luna Laws?

Obama Slightly Ahead Before Debate

Five weeks before Election Day and two days before the first presidential debate, a set of new polls shows that President Obama has a slight two-point edge over Mitt Romney nationally. While both campaigns have tried to lower expectations for their respective candidate's debate performance, it's clear that conservatives expect Romney to use the debate to alter the campaign trajectory. The polls, meanwhile, show that there are also high expectations for Mr. Obama to perform well in the first debate. In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, Mr. Obama leads Romney among likely voters nationally, 49 percent to 47 percent. The poll shows Mr. Obama with a more comfortable lead in swing states, where he leads among likely voters 52 percent to 41 percent/CBS News. More here. (AP photo)

Question: How do you expect the two major candidates to do in Wednesday's presidential debate?

Gov debate tonight at WSU-Vancouver

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.

TVW blasts Ferguson ad for AG

OLYMPIA – The Democratic candidate for state attorney general is being accused of violating TVW broadcast rules by using the government cable channel’s footage in his latest commercial.
The commercial for Bob Ferguson, which only appears on the Internet, features a brief video clip of his opponent, Republican Reagan Dunn, challenging a Ferguson allegation about poor attendance at King County Council meetings.
TVW broadcast the June 12 debate live from the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane, and the full event remains available on the organization's website. But the network doesn’t  allow edited versions of any of its broadcasts to be used for campaigns, TVW President Greg Lane said…

To read the rest of this item, see the add or to comment, click here 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.

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

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.

Same-sex marriage debate tonight in Senate

OLYMPIA — Debate over the same-sex marriage bill is scheduled for 6 p.m. this evening in the Senate.

Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, the bill's prime sponsor, estimates a couple hours for debate, although it could go longer.

Will probably depend on the number of amendments, and the stamina of the two sides.

We'll be live blogging the debate here at Spin Control, and providing full coverage in Thursday's print edition and the web page.

City council candidate debate Thursday

All the candidates for the open Spokane Valley City Council seats have been invited to take part in a debate Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. Candidates in the contested races will be up on stage answering questions and those who do not have an opponent have been invited to set up information booths. Index cards will be available for members of the audience to write their questions on before the debate begins. 

The debate is hosted by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and is open to the public. So if you are still not sure who to vote for on November 8, stop by and hear what they have to say about the issues.

GOP candidates debate tonight at 5 p.m.

Someone called to ask what station is carrying the GOP presidential debate, and what time is it on.

The answer: 5 p.m. on MSNBC, wherever that falls on your cable box. The listing was not in the daily TV log in today's paper. Sorry about that, but it was apparently added to the schedule after the listings were compiled, fairly far in advance.

For those wondering, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be there. He skipped a debate earlier this week because of wildfires in Texas, but did make the trip to the Reagan Library in California for this debate.

Also expected on stage: Michele Bachman, Herb Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Sarah Palin isn't attending. But then, she's not a candidate at this point, either.

Moderators are Brian Williams of NBC and John Harris of Politico.

Want to read some early analysis?

Here's something from USA Today. Here's a longer piece from The Washington Post.

Aerodynamic: Nelson No Show Again

Aerodynamic: And as I write this DFO, Nelson once again has blown off a forum - this time at the CDA Tribe in Plummer. Of course, she invites folks to call her and speak with her one-on-one, where she can spin as the mood strikes her. Nelson will NOT face th voters in a public forum.. So who’s advising her? Hart of Spencer? What a cast of characters this year!

DFO: According to a source, Nelson has been a no-show at the following debates or candidate forums this fall: Arrow Point — about 20 people, Medimont — 6 people, Mica Grange — cancelled due to her non-participation, and now the tribe. The League of Women Voters, of course, didn’t include the commissioner race because they don’t cover ones that have write-in candidates.

Question: Are there any forums that Nelson has attended?

McMorris Rodgers, Romeyn go head-to-head


Democratic challenger Daryl Romeyn painted Cathy McMorris Rodgers as a do-nothing incumbent who has no solutions for federal deficits, illegal immigration, high school dropouts or childhood obesity.
McMorris Rodgers suggested Romeyn was someone who didn’t understand complex forest issues and would tax small businesses out of existence and set off a trade war with China.
In their first – and likely only – televised debate, the three-term congresswoman and the former television reporter agreed on very little Tuesday except for the importance of the American dream and the need to secure the nation’s borders before addressing other problems with illegal immigration. Those few seconds of agreement on immigration were closed off with Romeyn’s suggestion that she should’ve done something about it already: “She’s been there six years.”
Asked how to cut unemployment and boost the region’s economy, Romeyn suggested programs to boost the timber and farm communities and manufacture airplane parts. McMorris Rodgers said it’s not government programs but government stability on taxes, regulations and health care costs that will get businesses hiring again.
“We need to calm the waters, first of all,” she said.

Debate reminder: McMorris Rodgers v. Romeyn tonight

In what may be the most anticipated 5th District Congressional debate in years, Republican incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Democratic challenger Daryl Romeyn go head-to-head tonight on television.

They’ll be answering questions from a panel that includes Spokesman-Review reporter and Spin Control contributor Jonathan Brunt, public radio’s Doug Nadvornik, and KXLY-TV’s Robin Nance. KXLY-TV’s Nadine Woodward is the moderator. (So Nance and Woodward are switching roles from last week’s U.S. Senate debate.)

The anticipation isn’t because the race is thought to be particularly close, or because the two are recognized as master debaters, but because at various times they both refused to do this debate, the only televised matchup proposed for the race. The agreement wasn’t reached until early Monday, which is way quick for a televised debate.

Because the debate is being taped earlier in the day, there are two chances to see it: 7 p.m. on KXLY-TV and 8 p.m. on KSPS-TV. KXLY will also stream it live on the station’s web site.

And, of course, there will be coverage on spokesman.com this evening, and in Wednesday’s newspaper. 

 

5th Cong Dist debate back on (really)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Daryl Romeyn will debate after all on Tuesday, it seems.

The incumbent Republican congresswoman and the Democratic challenger, who each at one point turned down an invitation to debate for scheduling reasons, reportedly have cleared their respective calendars for Tuesday afternoon. They’ll tape a debate in the afternoon that will be aired at 7 p.m. on KXLY-TV and 8 p.m. on KSPS-TV.

“Both sides have agreed to be there tomorrow,” Jill Johnson, the producer of the debate, said Monday morning.

Each candidate came under fire last week for turning down the debate, which has been under discussion since mid August. McMorris Rodgers’ campaign declined to participate last Monday, citing “scheduling constraints,” prompting Romeyn to say her refusal was denying him a chance to be heard.

McMorris Rodgers staff contacted Johnson Friday morning, saying they would clear her schedule for the debate. But on Friday evening, Romeyn told KXLY-TV that he wouldn’t agree because he’d scheduled something after she turned down the debate and he couldn’t get out of his commitment. If McMorris Rodgers wanted to debate him, she should appear at one of the places he intended to be, he said.

Sunday night, however, Romeyn contacted Johnson and said he’d be willing to debate after all. After contacting the two stations sponsoring the debate, she said the debate could be taped at 3 p.m. for broadcast that evening

Congressional debate off, again (or still)

Just days after saying Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ refusal to debate was denying him a voice, congressional challenger Daryl Romeyn refused to debate when she changed her mind and offered to debate next week.

Whether the two candidates will meet face-to-face before the Nov. 2 election seems doubtful, but one thing seems sure. There will be no televised debate next week on KSPS-TV and KXLY-TV.

McMorris Rodgers’ campaign contacted debate organizers on Friday,saying she wanted to withdraw her withdrawal from the Oct. 19 debate. The campaign said earlier in the week that she wouldn’t participate due to “scheduling constraints.” Producer Jill Johnson got tentative approval from the two stations, but couldn’t contact Romeyn until the evening after he’d been interviewed on KXLY-TV’s 6 p.m. newscast where he said he wasn’t going to agree to the new offer.

To read more about the debate over a debate that turned into a non-debate, read this morning’s story.

McMorris Rodgers, Romeyn may debate after all

A few days after saying they couldn’t fit a debate into Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ schedule, the Republican incumbent’s campaign has shifted course and asked if she could debate Daryl Romeyn after all.

The campaign called KSPS-TV producer Jill Johnson this morning, asking if the offer to debate on Channel 7 and KXLY-TV next week was still open. Johnson said she would check with the two stations, and Romeyn, to see if it could be arranged. 

Nothing definite yet, Johnson said, because she now needs to contact Romeyn, who’d been told the debate was off. “We’re interested in making it happen,” she said.

Earlier in the week, the campaign had declined that matchup, the one proposed televised debate for the 5th Congressional District, because of “scheduling constraints.”

A post Wednesday in Spin Control and a story in the Spokesman-Review on Thursday noted that McMorris Rodgers had turned down that debate and no others were scheduled, which suggested Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District might be without a face-to-face debate for the first time in decades. That story apparently struck a chord with readers, and is currently the most-commented story on the newspaper’s Web site.

UPDATE: McMorris Rodgers’ campaign issued a press release this afternoon saying she has agreed to the debate, although Johnson said she had yet to contact Romeyn to confirm that he could schedule it. The text of the McMorris Rodgers press release can be found inside the blog.

 

Senate Debate aftermath: Claiming victory



After last night’s Senate debate, the two combatants — er, candidates — came out for the obligatory post-event press conference to answer questions. The obligatory first question was, how do you think you did.

Surprisingly, each thought they did well, but their opponent? Not so much.

“I feel great about it,” Sen. Patty Murray said, reiterating what she repeated several times, that she had answer questions but her opponent had not.

“I think it went well,” challenger Dino Rossi said, grousing slightly that they didn’t get a question about the bailouts. But he answered the questions, he added, and Murray didn’t.

(An aside: From the debate set, it seemed each had instances where they preferred to answer the questions they wanted to be asked, rather than the questions they actually were asked. Don’t know if it looked like that on television.)

Both campaigns were attempting to “fact check” the opponents answers during the debate, sending out e-mails questioning the veracity of some part of an answer.

First to declare victory was the Washington State Republican Party, for Rossi. Amazingly enough, they declared victory at 8:01 p.m. with a written statement quoting state chairman Luke Esser. So folks at the state GOP can either type really fast or were predisposed to declare Rossi the victor. We’re guessing the former.

Rossi’s campaign declared victory at 8:08 p.m., and the Murray campaign at 8:18 p.m., because they first issued one more challenge to something Rossi said in the closing minutes.

Strangely enough, the Rossi and Murray camps agreed on one key point: that the debate offered the voters a “clear choice” in the election. Considering that both sides have commercials suggesting the opponent is so low they’d have to climb an extension ladder to be equal to pond scum, that may be welcome news to voters thinking there’s not a dimes worth of difference between these folks.

If you want to decide for yourself, click on the box above to see the debate, courtesy of KXLY-TV’s website.

 

Senate debate: Candidates in, cleaver out

Sen. Patty Murray and Republican challenger Dino Rossi have arrived for the first televised debate in Washington’s state Senate race.

That means the partisans who arrived to cheer one or jeer the other have dispersed, but not before a person taking issue with their demonstration was detained by police for brandishing a cleaver at the Murray demonstrators.

The man had driven past several times, flashing half of the old “Peace” sign and eventually waving a cleaver out his car window. From inside the studio, it’s not immediately clear if he was just detained, cited or taken to that buildilng behind the courthouse for a discussion about the right and wrong time to flash cutlery.

Say what you will, I’ll bet there won’t be any cleavers brandished at the debate in Seattle on Sunday.

Debate starts live at 7 p.m.

Live tonight from Spokane: Rossi v. Murray

The first debate in Washington’s U.S. Senate race between Patty Murray and Dino Rossi comes to you live from Spokane at 7 p.m.

It will be carried on KXLY-TV and KSPS-TV in Spokane and surrounding communities, on public television stations throughout Washington including KCTS Channel 9  in Seattle, and on the second digital channel for KOMO-TV in Seattle. [Update: KXLY also will be streaming the debate.]

Candidates arrive at the KSPS studio on the South Hill between 5:30 and 6 p.m., and the campaigns can be expected to have folks to cheer their candidate and jeer the opponent on the sidewalk, so be advised if your normal commute takes you up Regal at that time.

Partisans will likely leave shortly after 6, because there won’t be much to see after the candidates get inside, and they want to get somewhere to watch. Democrats and Republicans each have their own debate watch parties: Rs at the Quality Inn Valley Suites at I-90 and Argonne; Ds at Toad Hall at 1427 W. Dean.

Format is a one-hour session with questions e-mailed in from the public and from a panel of reporters. (Full disclosure: I’m on the panel so this might be considered a shameless plug. Jonathan Brunt will be covering the debate for Friday morning’s S-R.)

 

Dems to party, too, for debate

Not to be out-partied by Republicans, local Democrats have scheduled a debate watch party for the live televised face-off between Dino Rossi and Patty Murray.

Democrats will be snacking and cheering at one of their favorite hangouts, Toad Hall, not far from the County Courthouse north of downtown Spokane.

As mentioned previously, the Republicans of Spokane County will be debate-watching (excuse the terrible verb construction) at the Quality Inn in Spokane Valley, I-90 and Argonne.

GOP group holding debate party

The Republicans of Spokane County don’t have the word “party” in their club’s name. But they plan to make up for that on Thursday with a party in fact.

They’ll be hosting a party at the Quality Inn Valley Suites, Argonne at I-90, to watch the first live debate between their fave, Dino Rossi and Sen. Patty Murray, the incumbent Democrat.

The “social” part of the event starts at 6:30 p.m. The debate starts live at 7 p.m.

Although they are a partisan group, they should be commended for using equally mediocre photos of the two candidates for their invitation.

Labrador: Minnick ‘Fat Cat … Insider’

GOP congressional hopeful Raul Labrador has issued a blistering press release in response to incumbent Rep. Walt Minnick’s decision to back out of a scheduled debate against him on KTVB-TV; in it, Labrador recalled Minnick’s comments in 2008 about the value of debates, when he challenged then-Rep. Bill Sali to a series of 10 debates across the district. “What a difference two years makes; it was all the time it took for Walt Minnick to become a fat cat Washington insider who shows nothing but contempt for the voters of Idaho and for his own previously held values,” Labrador declared/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

DFO: I agree with Labrador that it’s B.S. to back out of a debate — whether you’re Walt Minnick or Butch Otter. I don’t buy the ‘Washington insider’ nonsense that Labrador’s trying to sell. But I’m disgusted that incumbents can get away with this stuff.

Question: How about you?