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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Sunday Spin: Checking the Spokane bona fides of statewide candidates

Washington state is now so chock-full of candidates for statewide office that you may not be able to avoid stumbling over one the next time you venture into a gathering of more than five people.

Perhaps it’s the mood of the electorate or maybe the moon is in the seventh house, but the state primary ballot will have 73 candidates between the U.S. Senate race and the nine statewide executive offices. There are so many candidates running for so many offices that the state Republican Party apparently ran out, and didn’t have anyone to file for attorney general, leaving that contest to the incumbent Democrat and a Libertarian challenger.

So for the first time since Washington went to the top two primary system, at least one Libertarian will make it to the general election.

But this over abundance of candidates means that many of the lesser known political hopefuls have or will soon head east in search of votes. The Socialist Workers Party’s gubernatorial and presidential candidates were recently in Spokane, which may have been the best representation of that brand of political philosophy since the Wobblies came for a protest in 1909.

As one might expect, these candidates differ in age and background and embrace a wide range of economic and political theories. But one thing you can expect them to do when they come to town is try to establish their Spokane bona fides.

They may drop little hints or tell cute anecdotes from their childhood, designed to convince you that even though they are from Seattle or Tacoma or Bellingham or Vancouver or Sequim, they can relate to Spokane.

If they pronounce the city so it rhymes with cocaine or that lake in Idaho to sound like Cured Eileen, you can pretty much write them off. Beyond that here’s are some questions to see if they really know the area. One point for each correct answer:

What’s the building that looks like a castle just north of the Spokane River? (County courthouse) What’s the building that looks like it was built between four grain silos just to the south of it? (Health District building)

What’s the slogan under Dick’s Hamburger sign? (Buy the bagful. Extra point for spelling the first word correctly.)

The Gonzaga Bulldogs also go by what other nickname? (Zags)

Besides Gonzaga, what other institutions of higher learning have facilities in Spokane? Name up to five. (WSU, EWU, Community Colleges of Spokane, UW and Whitworth University. Deduct half a point if they list the last one a college.)

What level of baseball do the Spokane Indians play? (Single A) What hockey league are the Spokane Chiefs in? (WHL)

What kind of mill is in Millwood? (Paper)

What two high schools’ basketball rivalry game is called the Groovy Shoes? (North Central and Shadle)

The Japanese Garden on the South Hill is part of what city park? (Manito. No points for mispronouncing it.)

What was in Riverfront Park before Expo ‘74? (Railyards and hobos)

There are five legislative districts that are completely or partly in Spokane County, with numbers ranging from 3 to 9. What two numbers aren’t in that sequence? (5 and 8)

OK, so that last one is kind of a political geek question and may be a bit unfair. But any candidate with real ties to Spokane ought to score at least an 8 on the quiz. Anything less than that, they’re a poser.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.