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McKenna ahead of Inslee? In Spokane yes; statewide, no

An irate reader called this morning to ask what were we smoking last night at The Spokesman-Review that led us to report that Democrat Jay Inslee was ahead of Republican Rob McKenna in the governor's primary.

This is a smoke-free office, so the answer is “Nothing.” He insisted he'd heard on the radio, and the television early this morning that the results are actually reversed, and that McKenna was ahead of Inslee. We checked the Secretary of State website, and the Associated Press lists, which should be the same sources that all news outlets are using.

Nope, we assured him. Right now, Inslee is ahead of McKenna. No, he insisted, the nice couple on the radio, whom he listens to every morning, must've got it right.

Not being up and listening to the radio at 5 a.m., we couldn't say for sure whether he'd mis-heard or the station misspoke. But here's one possibility:

If you click on the Spokane County election website, you get results for all the races, but only from this county. McKenna has a sizable lead. Perhaps that's what the folks on the radio and television were looking at.

If you click on the Secretary of State's website, you get the results for the whole state, and can find a map with county breakdowns. McKenna has most of the Eastern Washington counties, Inslee most of the Western Washington counties…and the lead statewide.

We still aren't smoking anything. Can't vouch for the folks on the radio or television.

McKenna: Limit other spending to boost education

Washington could spend more money on its public schools and colleges by limiting the growth in other state expenses and changing the way some property taxes are collected, a gubernatorial candidate said Tuesday.

Republican hopeful Rob McKenna released new details of his plans to increase spending on education, with an extra $1.25 billion for public schools and $437 million for colleges in the first two years of his tenure.

After McKenna discussed the details in a pair of one-hour meetings with reporters, a spokeswoman for Jay Inslee, his chief Democratic rival, called it “empty promises.” The plan won't generate the revenue he expects, Jaime Smith said in a press release.

The state is under a Supreme Court mandate . . .

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

Sunday spin: Value of debate over debates is debatable

A sign that Washington’s campaign season remains in the doldrums, despite the fact that ballots are in voters’ hands – or at least languishing under a pile of junk mail on some counter – arrived last week with the announcement two gubernatorial debates had been scheduled.
One will be in Vancouver at the end of August and another in Yakima in early October. This is great news, not solely because putting Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna on the same stage is instructive for voters and good theater for political junkies. These are also two places that often have little chance to get up close and personal with gubernatorial candidates, let alone host a debate.
If Spokane complains about being a second-class citizen in the eyes of some statewide campaigns, other parts of the state might rightfully note they are in steerage. (Information about the venues is in the post below.)
The oddest thing about the announcement . . .

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

Sunday Spin: Is Internet making politics better?

It’s not clear yet whether this year’s campaign staffs are hell bent on testing Marshall McLuhan’s theorem that “the medium is the message” or are so enamored with high tech that they think it’s the be-all and end-all of politics.
Last week, a member of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna’s campaign went from paid staffer to suspended staffer to fired staffer in the span of three days. Kathlyn Ehls had typed messages into Twitter that called for Asian Americans to “learn English” and senior citizens who walk too slowly across the street in front of her vehicle to “get a wheelchair.”
Ehls had tweeted these uncharitable thoughts months before going to work for the McKenna campaign. But the recent college graduate apparently was unaware, or forgot, the cardinal rule of venting in cyberspace: things on the Internet have a nasty habit of living forever and surfacing at inopportune times. These did, last Monday, on Seattle blogs.. .
  

McKenna adviser out for tweets

OLYMPIA — A policy adviser for Rob McKenna's gubernatorial campaign resigned today after apologizing for making derogatory remarks about Asians and the elderly on the Internet.

Kathlyn Ehls submitted her resignation, which campaign manager Randy Pepples said in a press release he accepted after she met with leaders of the campaign's Asian American Coalition. “It was important for her to thoroughly understand their feelings and to apologize to them for her comments,” he said.

In comments posted on Twitter several months before she joined the campaign, Ehls wrote Asians should “learn English” and that senior citizens who take too long to cross the street in front of her car should “get a wheelchair.”   (For an earlier post on this, click here.)

Ehls' termination was at the top of a list for a “true mea culpa” that a group describing itself “Concernd Asian Pacific Islanders” was demanding as it announced plans to protest outside McKenna's headquarters today. Other items on the list included “not wage war on unions”, support for same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act and a jobs plan that doesn't sacrifice the envirobnment, quality of life but provides wages that meet “basic needs” for families.

Five Asian-American legislators — all Democrats — also called for her termination: “One tweet reveals a callous insensitivity toward the multiple challenges faced by non-native English speaking immigrants and refugees.  As long-time champions of English Language Learning (ELL) opportunities and initiatives, we call on both Mr. McKenna and Mr. Inslee to declare their commitment to full funding for ELL programs as well as for other immigrant and refugee integration programs that assist in the transition to life in America.”

New media ways to get into trouble

OLYMPIA — All of the “new media” opportunities for candidates in their staffs have a downside, the Rob McKenna campaign discovered this week. There are now more ways to do something stupid, and get caught at it, and have it come back months later to bite you in the posterior.

So it was that Kathlyn Ehl, a policy staffer for the Republican gubernatorial candidate's campaign, had to apologize Monday for sending out Tweets that disparaged Asians and seniors, before she was on the McKenna staff.

Seattle area blogs like Slog and Publicola reported that Ehls had tweeted in January that Asians should “shut up and speak English” and in November that anyone so old that it takes an entire light to cross the street should “GET A WHEELCHAIR”. Not good for a campaign that would like to get votes from one of the state's largest minority communities or the state's most dependable voting block.

By 5 p.m., McKenna had issued an apology. Unlike some political apologies, it didn't include a series of equivocations:

“The tweets sent by a member of my campaign staff, Kathlyn Ehl, which were reported today were offensive and inappropriate.  I am glad to see that she has apologized for her actions.
The fact that she made the comments before joining my campaign does not make them any less hurtful to Asian Americans and the elderly. They were insensitive and wrong regardless of their context.
She has done the right thing by apologizing.  I am hopeful that she has learned a humbling lesson that will give her greater perspective about having charity in her heart when considering the challenges faced by others.”

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.

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.

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.

Inslee: Time to move forward

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee said his GOP opponent was “wrong from the beginning” to join the lawsuit challenging the federal health care reform law.

A couple hours earlier, Inslee's chief Republican rival, Attorney General Rob McKenna had defended his decision to join the lawsuit and said that with the court's 5-4 ruling, at least the state and nation has greater certainty on what Congress can and can't do.

“I always believed this was constitutional,” Inslee said Thursday afternoon at a brief press conference. “I had no qualms in voting for this bill.”

The ruling means the efforts to expand and improve the nation's health care system can move forward, he said. If he wins the race for governor in November “I will lead the effort to expand coverage,” Inslee said.

Whether or not McKenna's participation in the suit influences voters, health care remains a major issue for the state for years to come, Inslee said.

 

McKenna: We won on Commerce Clause argument

Attorney General Rob McKenna did his best to count victories this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the lawsuit he joined to overturn the Affordable Care Act. And he said other Republicans should drop talk of a wholesale repeal of the law because “that's not going to happen.”

At a late morning press conference, McKenna insisted the ruling was good for Washington because the court ruled Congress doesn't have the authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause to order people to buy health care insurance. “We achieved our goal” of finding that out, he said.

 But he was surprised by the decision of five members of the court to rule the mandate is allowable under Congress's taxing authority, adding that Chief Justice John Roberts' determination that the tax isn't subject to the restrictions of some other taxes was “a bracket buster.”

The state should move ahead with its work to meet provisions of the law, such as the Health Insurance Exchange which will allow individuals to shop for insurance more easilly, he said, and to look for more ways to reform health care.

But other Republicans should stop talking about repealing the law, and instead focus on specific provisions that prove unworkable, he said.

Democrats passed a massive bill with many controversial provisions by pushing it through Congress. “To completely blow it  up means we're essentially doing the same thing, in reverse,” he said.

Besides, the Democratically controlled Senate isn't going to repeal the law, and Obama isn't going to sign a repeal, he said.

Gregoire: A great day… but not for McKenna

Gov. Gregoire discusses health care ruling.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire “couldn't be more happy and relieved” by the Supreme Court's majority decision that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.

The decision is good for state residents with pre-existing medical conditions, for young adults who remain on their parent's insurance until they reach 26 and for people who will eventually have coverage through an expansion of Medicaid.

“The real winners are the people of our state,” she said.

She also had harsh words for Attorney General Rob McKenna, her wouldbe replacement, for joining the suit. He was wrong on his insistence that the court could overturn the individual mandate and keep other parts of the law that Washington needs, Gregoire said.

“He was dead wrong on that. You can't have your cake and it it too,” she said.

Health care reform is sure to come up in McKenna's run against former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, she added.

“Inslee went back (to Congress) and fought for health care reform and the attorney general was just wrong.” 

McKenna: Part of the checks and balances

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Rob McKenna was among the original plaintiffs challenging the Affordable Care Act and this morning defended the lawsuit, despite the loss, as part of the nation's “series of checks and balances”.

“While we’re disappointed that this close decision did not find in the states’ favor with regard to the individual mandate, the country benefits from a thoughtful debate about the reach of federal power into the legal rights of the states and the personal financial decisions of all Americans,” he said in a press release.

Other state officials who are Democrats were critical of McKenna for joining the lawsuit, and turned up the criticism when he said he was only challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate but the suit called for throwing out the entire law. It's a major bone of contention between McKenna and former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, the Democrat challenging McKenna for governor, who voted for the law when it was in Congress. So it's unlikely to be viewed as merely a way of testing the checks and balances by them.

To read the entire press release from McKenna, 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

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 debate: Tribal gaming

Inslee: There's a federal process and that process needs to be followed. I have a concern about expansion of tribal gaming that could lead to harm for existing businesses. Each of them needs to be reviewed on the merits. Need to look at land use impacts. There are legitimate concerns about how the Spokane Tribe proposal could affect Fairchild Air Force Base.

McKenna: Does he support revenue sharing with tribes. I do not think it's a good policy. The compacts don't allow it and I don't think we want the state government to become dependent on gaming revenue.

Inslee: Thanks for reminding me. I don't support revenue sharing on gaming

Gov debate: Supermajority for taxes

How will you vote on the initiative?

McKenna: We will go to the Supreme Court and I believe they will overturn the King County ruling the supermajority is unconstitutional. The voters have been clear on taxes. They did so because it provides a higher wall. But it's not insurmountable.

Inslee: Rob supported multiple tax increases while he was on the King County Council and they didn't require a supermajority. When we impose a two-thirds majority it goes against one-person, one-vote. Let democracy rule.

McKenna: He's clearly against a rule 64 percent of the voters approved.

Gov debate: Transportation

When is the right time to ask voters for a tax increase for transportation?

McKenna: The fall of 2013 or fall of 2014. It will depend on the voters' reaction to the list of projects…including the North Spokane Corridor. We need to look for ways to provide more support to local governments to expand transit. We need to pay close attention to freight mobility.

Inslee: Right now we're lacking in trust in the state government. We need to bring lean management to every department of government, including the Department of Transportation.

McKenna: He didn't answer the question. When is the right time. He refuses to take a position on this

Inslee: The right time is when we regain the trust of voters. That's not a calendar date.

Followup: What about public-private partnerships for transporation.

Inslee: We should look at multiple options and find one that works. Need to watch the details, look at all the tools at our disposal. Private enterprise can produce good products for state government. It has to be a partnership between a more efficient government and business. I would would consider those in the right circumstances.

McKenna: I don't believe we should tap our pension system to fund programs, as Inslee proposed at the beginning of his campaign. We need to attract private capital.

Inslee: I listened to people and will not propose changes to our pension system.

Gov debate: McKenna to Inslee

If you could do it over, would you make it possible to make it easier to get mortgagest for people with poor credit?

Inslee: The problem was de-regulation of Wall Street. I stood up to Bill Clinton and my party on the repeal of Glass Stieglitz. I don't blame the homeowners. I blame Wall Street for the financial collapse. Some people were over their heads. But the answer is not to reduce people's access to credit.

McKenna: The question was whether to release standards, making it easier for people with poor credit to obtain loans. It invited speculators in.

Inslee: The McKenna Romney view is the problem is because of homeowners. I believe it's because of Wall Street.

Gov debate: Inslee to McKenna

Inslee: As King County Council president, the council passed a budget that was out of balance in King County, why should voters trust you as governor?

McKenna: I opposed a new tax increase, the council passed it. In my opinion, it was the wrong thing to do. They passed the budget they wanted.

Inslee: Leadership is hard. Given the opportunity to build consensus, my opponet didn't succeed.

Gov debate: Coal exports terminals

Inslee: Look at them through the lens of jobs and job benefits, and the potential downsides for the towns the trains will go through, including Spokane. Right policy and it is the law. This is a moment of truth for the state of Washington: Will we embrace new sources of energy? We need to have policies to make sure new energy companies locate here.

McKenna: Important to business, labor and communities. We're talking about hundreds of high-paying jobs. They have to go through a rigorous EIS process. If they make it through, why should they be discriminated against.

Inslee: I think that's a fair statement if you look at the impact on companies in communites where trains go through.

Gov debate: Jobs

How many jobs can you create if you're elected? How can the state afford tax breaks to business if you're going to spend more for higher education?

McKenna: It's not something we can afford to do right away. The current threshhold doesn't make sense, but after we've fully funded education and restored funding for higher education, we should look at. We need to centralize the collection of the B&O tax, like centralized sales tax would make more sense.

Inslee: Making promises you can't fulfill is not the leadership the state needs. His promises can't be kept. I have proposed a tax credit for research and development for small businesses, credits for hiring new employees.

McKenna: The congressman opposes B&O tax relief at any time.

Why target B&O tax relief to certain industries?

Inslee: We don't have unlimited funds. We have to choose and we should not be waiting to building the industries of the next century.

McKenna: Why not give all businesses a fair chance to be successful.

Inslee: Cutting edge companies are growing in Washington, especially in Eastern Washington, seeds that we need to see sprout. A center for aviation biofuels at WSU. To make sure businesses compete with oil industries, allow R&D from our universities.

MKenna: Innovation occurs in many places, not just in hand-picked industries. Best approach is to be color blind in the kind of industries we're supporting, green, blue collar or pink collar.

Inslee: Our existing industries aren't color blind.

Follow up: What's the balance between environment and job growth. What state restrictions are too strict:

McKenna: Inslee should have addressed federal assistance for those companes when he was in Congress. Shorelines management. We have local, state and federal, we should harmonize those rules and get more cleanup.

Inslee: Harmonizing means reduce our protections for clean air and clean water

McKenna: The Congressman has never seen a regulation he didn't like.

Gov debate: Higher ed

Inslee: I know how difficult it is to see this incredible debt burden on kids. We've got to do things to make higher education more affordable… Expand online learning opportunities…free universities from some of the restrictions…allow colleges to commercialize some of their technologies …If we do these things, use colleges to drive our economy.

McKenna: In the 1990s, over 16 percent of the state budget went to higher education. Now it's 8 percent. Stop cutting higher education in the general fund budget, which is why I called Republicans to reverse their proposed cuts in higher education.

Followup: You're talking about a lot of new state spending. Can you reverse the trend in a first term?

Inslee: Don't dig the hole deeper.

McKenna: The folks running Olympia (Democrats) for the last 20 years are responsible.

Gov debate: Education

Will you ask for a new tax for schools?

Inslee: No. I'm proposing job creation (to increase revenue) and close some of the corporate tax loopholes. We are 5th in high tech jobs, but 46th in the production of students to fullfill those jobs…We have to have changes that can't wait for additional funding. Not allow substandard teachers in the classroom, expand science technology and math education.

McKenna: We can't put more money into an unreformed system. Look for more money on all day kindergarten, close tax loopholes, squeeze the budget, repurpose existing spending on things like administration.

Inslee: This is not a time to take away money (for charter schools)

Followup: Take a new fund source off the table?

Inslee: Yes. Finance our schools through growth.

McKenna: We have a dedicated source, it's called the general fund. That's what paramount duty says.

Inslee: We can't wait for the billion dollars to make the reform.

McKenna: We can find the money in the state budget.

Followup: Do you support a ballot measure for charter schools?

McKenna: This is a too we ought to have in our state. All states with major metropolitan areas have them. They should be part of the mix. There are other models for innovation too. I'll be voting yes.

Inslee: Great innovation going on around the state. I'm going to put $1 billion more into the budget, don't want to have some of it going out for charter schools. Only 1 in 5 succeed. I'll be voting no.

McKenna: These charter schools are public schools

Gov debate: Health care

What steps would you take if the Supreme Court

McKenna: Implement the health insurance exchange, expanded Medicaid program. We also need to look to insurance reform to create more competition. We need a market that is national. We also need liabilitly reform, reduce the cost of defensive medicine. Encourage more Washingtonians to move to consumer directed health care plans. I expect we will continue to be leaders.

Inslee: It is a value in the state of Washington that if you are a breast cancer survivor, you should be able to get health care insurance… You should be able to have your son or daughter on your insurance. I am disappointed our attorney general has tried to take that awaly.

McKenna: Inslee voted for a law advisers warned had an unconstitutional mandate. Medicaid could expand if the bill is overturned.

Inslee: If the bill is oveturned, we can't look to Uncle Sam.

Gov debate: Opening statements

Here's how the gubernatorial debate in Spokane started:

Rob McKenna: We need a new direction for Washington…These dreams are at risks.)ure Streets aren't safe. Our schools leave people behind, our universities are too expensive.

Jay Inslee: Build a working Washington. I have an abiding faith in our ability to move forward

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