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Wednesday, August 12, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control: Election is near and politics is in the mail

With the Aug. 4 primary approaching, mailboxes are filling with all manner of campaign materials.

Most will feature a smiling candidate, along with spouse, kids and possibly a dog – for some reason cats rarely make it into campaign photos – and possibly other shots of the candidate speaking earnestly to groups of constituents representing a mix of ages, genders, races and ethnicities.

Most but not all.

Some voters also are finding a postcard-sized mailer from gubernatorial candidate David Blomstrom, suggesting the coronavirus pandemic is part of a Jewish conspiracy and dueling with the much-circulated “Plandemic” conspiracy video over who is following the right breadcrumbs down the correct rabbit hole to expose the true plot behind COVID-19.

It is unclear whether the card is an effort to sell Blomstrom’s self-published book “The Jew Flu,” with a mention of his candidacy thrown in, or an effort to bolster his candidacy by burnishing his anti-Semitic street cred. It has an address for his campaign website and his self-published book website, along with the claim that he is “Seattle’s only political activist” – which, given recent events in that city, seems hard to justify.

Blomstrom , who has created his own “Fifth Republic Party,” has run for many things over the last 20 years – school board, superintendent of public instruction and governor – and has a record of 0 for everything. His video voters guide clips with TVW are generally denunciations of Bill Gates, Israel and the corrupt news media with a bit of “Viva La Revolution” thrown in.

But his campaign website touts his self-published conspiracy books that include the one promoted in the mailer.

So is the card a campaign ad that promotes the book, or a book ad that promotes the candidate? I asked Blomstrom in a phone interview.

“I don’t know. Maybe both,” he said.

Well, if it’s a campaign ad, shouldn’t it have required campaign information on it? I asked.

That’s when the line went dead. I called back, thinking we’d been cut off, and left a message saying I just had a few more questions. He called back, based on the caller ID reading, but when I answered there was no one on the other end. I called and left another message, but haven’t heard back. Maybe there’s a conspiracy of government and big tech to keep us apart.

The Public Disclosure Commission has received some inquiries about the mailer but no formal complaint, Sean Flynn, general counsel, said. Without a complaint, and subsequent investigation, it’s not possible to determine whether the mailer is a campaign ad that needs the notifications required by law.

Also in the mailbox

Some voters might see a sheet that features a mock-up of the poster for the movie “GoodFellas.” The Senate Republican Campaign Committee has borrowed the look but changed the name to Tax Fellas, and put Gov. Jay Inslee in the center spot occupied in the original poster by Robert DeNiro, Sen. Andy Billig in the spot occupied by Ray Liotta and Rep. Frank Chopp in the Joe Pesci spot.

It also adds a pile of cash on the streets below, highlighting a standard GOP theme that the state’s Democratic leaders are too quick to raise taxes.

While that’s a fair political argument certain to be debated in the coming months, there is some criticism the image is dated.

Billig is the Senate majority leader. Chopp was House speaker for nearly 20 years, but he isn’t any more. He’s a senior but technically rank-and file representative; the top House Democrat is Tacoma Rep. Laurie Jinkins. Seems a bit sexist to replace her to keep the fellas theme.

It’s also worth noting that while Billig has a real, albeit underfunded, Republican challenger this year in Dave Lucas. Chopp has no GOP challenger for his reelection. His two challengers are running to the left of him.

Please, Mr. Postman

Some Washington voters may be worried about their ballots being counted after seeing a CBS This Morning segment last week on possible problems with mailing back ballots.

It said mail-in voting is so risky people should mail their ballots at least a week before Election Day because the U.S. Postal Service says it could take that long to be delivered. It also suggested 3% of them will be lost by the USPS and not even be delivered.

What it didn’t say, maybe because it was a national story, is Washington will count your ballot if it arrives some two weeks after Election Day.

The 3% figure came from the fact they sent out 100 ballots and three hadn’t come in by the time they did their report.

It’s shoddy math to project that percentage on millions of ballots in the state, or tens of millions nationwide.

Still worried?

Remember you can always put your ballot in a drop box, which is picked up by the elections office, and cut out the middle man.

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