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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

A party for the cast-aside Democrats

The Democratic Party's decision to endorse Andy Billig has made state House candidate Louise Chadez -- despite her longtime affiliation with Democrats  -- feel somewhat of an outcast in the party.

At the party's recent salmon feed, Chadez said, she and other Democrats who didn't win official endorsements weren't allowed to address to the crowd. So Chadez is organizing a victory party on Tuesday for her and some other Democrats who didn't win party backing.

Among the invitees are Spokane County assessor's candidate Sadie Charlene Cooney and Congressional candidate Daryl Romeyn. Chadez said she didn't ask Bob Apple to attend because he's competing in the same race as her. Also not on the list: David Fox, the Congressional candidate who has made recent headlines.

Chadez said her party will be at Working Class Heroes on Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Spokane County Democratic Party Chairwoman Amy Biviano said the Democrats official victory party will be held on Tuesday at Hamilton Photography. Biviano said Democrats not endorsed weren't given a chance to address the crowd at the salmon feed because the agenda already was full. Candidates not nominated were welcome and used the event for one-on-one networking, Biviano said.

Despite Billig having more than four times the campaign cash as Chadez, she has been an active campaigner. She managed to mail postcards the week ballots were mailed, and she, like Billig, has been an active door-beller.

Speaking of Chadez's postcards, if one arrived at your home, you may have noticed that it appeared to be signed by Chadez -- which would have been an impressive feat, considering that, according to her, she sent 10,000 of them.

A look at two of them mailed in the district, however, shows two sets of handwriting.

Chadez said in an interview on Thursday that she and about six other volunteers signed the postcards until the campaign bought a stamp with her signature. She said most were sent with the stamp. The postcards were mailed after the campaign solicited donations of postage stamps.

The race among Billg, Chadez, Apple and Republican Dave White to replace retiring Rep. Alex Wood should make an excellent case study for the state's relatively new top-two primary system.

Billig and Chadez share many of the same opinions on the issues, which has caused some Democrats to split their allegiance. Still, with the backing of most of the Democratic establishment, a large campaign chest and active campaign, Billig is the frontrunner.

Chadez can't be discounted with her grassroots campaign, especially during a time when many voters have been reluctant to support candidates backed by party leadership. Neither can Apple. He won his last City Council race by a wide margin and is popular among many for his independent streak. He also gets cred from some Democrats for his strong support for police oversight. His position on global warming, however, makes him unpopular among Democrats active in environmental issues.

Finally, with three Democrats competing for votes, White can't be discounted either, even in this heavily Democratic district. In the 2008 primary for the district's other seat, the Republican candidate pulled more than 30 percent of the vote. That may be hard for White to earn with Apple pulling some conservative support, but it does show that a lone Republican against three Democrats could be in play.

Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. He is the government editor. He previously was a reporter who covered Spokane City Hall, Spokane County government and public safety.

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