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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Notes from a Democratic rally

About 150 gathered for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s campaign rally this evening in Spokane at the Lincoln Center.

There wasn’t much we haven’t heard on the trail before, so here are a few miscellaneous thoughts:

-- The Democrats appear enthused about the race for Congress. Sure, it’s still somewhat of long-shot for them and Democrat Rich Cowan did not come near to raising the $1 million he said was his goal when he began his campaign for the seat in Washington’s 5th Congressional District.

But he’s not Daryl Romeyn, who was the party’s nominee two years ago and who was not embraced by the party. Cowan has raised enough to advertise on TV and he even got a mention recently in the Capital Hill newspaper, Roll Call.

Even if he loses, from a Democratic Party perspective, Cowan has forced McMorris Rodgers to keep more of her campaign money in Washington instead of using it to help elect other Republicans in other districts, at least according to the Roll Call article.

At the Cantwell rally, Cowan kept on his theme that McMorris Rodgers spends too much of her time in other states campaigning for other candidates. He said that when he showed up for debate in Walla Walla this week, McMorris Rodgers wasn’t there.

“She was in the 5th Congressional District,” Cowan said. “The 5th Congressional District of Indiana.”

-- Speaking of Romeyn, he nor the other Democrat running for Spokane County Commission, John Roskelley, were featured. Interestingly enough, all the Democrats serving on the supposedly nonpartisan Spokane City Council participated in Cantwell’s Eastern Washington tour. Jon Snyder and Amber Waldref shared the stage with her in Spokane. Council President Ben Stuckart couldn’t make the rally but rode on the Cantwell bus earlier in the day.

-- Speaking of the Spokane City Council, at least two alumni were in the audience. Former Council President Joe Shogan and former Councilman Bob Apple. Apple also hasn’t been fully embraced by the party. That’s not surprising given his independent streak and that he has endorsed Republican Tim Benn for the Third District House seat he ran for unsuccessfully in the primary. (He’s also endorsed Republican Nancy McLaughlin for state Senate.) Apple said, however, he’s backing Cantwell and Cowan.

-- Cantwell was well-versed on the issues in Spokane. North Spokane Corridor, four-year medical school, the desire for aviation jobs. At times it was hard to tell if she was running for U.S. Senate or Spokane County Commission. She told the crowd that she came to Spokane because she wants to win Spokane County. If there's any sign that Cantwell is on an easy path to reelection, it's that she's spending time working to win Spokane County.

-- Asked in an interview after the event why she didn't debate her Republican opponent (Spokane state Sen. Michael Baumgartner) in Spokane County, if her goal is to win Spokane County, Cantwell said that it didn't matter where she debated since the debate was made available through public TV statewide. (Cantwell was invited to debate by KSPS, but she only agreed to one debate statewide.) If there's any sign that Cantwell is on an easy path to reelection, it's that she's spending time working to win Spokane County and doesn't even have to set foot in a Spokane TV studio for a debate.

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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