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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Pacific NW

Spin Control: Governor’s debate had no big winner but some interesting moments

Oct. 11, 2020 Updated Mon., Oct. 19, 2020 at 9:58 a.m.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, takes part in a sound check in the room he used for his debate with Republican Loren Culp last Wednesday in Olympia. Due to concerns over COVID-19, each candidate participated in the debate from individual rooms separate from moderators.  (Ted S. Warren)
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, takes part in a sound check in the room he used for his debate with Republican Loren Culp last Wednesday in Olympia. Due to concerns over COVID-19, each candidate participated in the debate from individual rooms separate from moderators. (Ted S. Warren)

Declaring the winner of last week’s gubernatorial debate is essentially a pointless endeavor because people who support incumbent Jay Inslee likely think he won and those who support challenger Loren Culp think he won.

It’s also likely the state parties had their news releases declaring victory for their candidate written before the first question was asked.

And those who haven’t made up their minds? Hard to say, but considering this was the second debate of the night, only people really into politics stayed tuned after the vice-presidential debate. The more marginally interest likely switched to Netflix and chilled.

There were no knockouts. Each candidate made some mistakes and scored some points. Inslee may have pleased his supporters by calling Culp a “mini Trump” who was “hobnobbing with the Trumpians.”

It is well established that Inslee opposes almost everything President Donald Trump does. It is likely recognized by those paying attention to the race that Culp seems to be following the Trump playbook, as far as holding campaign rallies where people don’t wear masks or practice social distancing while listening to the candidate on stage.

Inslee’s repeated linking of the Republic police chief and the nation’s chief executive may have worn thin to Culp and other Republicans by the time he suggested the chief and his supporters were “following Donald Trump over the cliff into the abyss of climate change.”

Culp probably scored with his supporters, and even some wavering Republicans, when he finally balked at “Trumpian.”

“Is that the new ‘deplorables,’ governor?” he said, echoing back to Hillary Clinton’s terrible choice of words for Trump supporters in 2016.

One of the lessons from that election: A person running for office shouldn’t disparage people they would have to lead if elected, and saying bad things about them makes getting elected harder.

Inslee was asked whether he regretted calling Culp and his supporters Trumpian the next day during a news conference. He seemed surprised that anyone would take umbrage and doubled down.

“I just don’t understand this. My opponent is a devotee and acolyte and total follower of Donald Trump. His rallies are festooned with Trump flags. These folks, I thought, were very proud of supporting Donald Trump,” he said. “They trumpet the fact that they support Donald Trump.”

(Those keeping score at home might award him a point each for slipping in words like “devotee,” “acolyte” and “festooned” into a press conference but subtract five points for the trumpet/Trump pun.)

“Shoot, if somebody described me as a Biden-head, it wouldn’t break my heart,” he added. “It isn’t meant to disparage anyone.”

If reelected, he said, “I’m going to work for Donald Trump’s supporters just as hard as I work for anybody else’s supporters.”

When he was in Malden recently, he noticed lots of Culp signs, he added, but “I’m working for those people. Those are great people.”

Good to know, Gov. Biden-head.

Shoutout to Santos

Culp may have lost a few points when he defended qualified immunity for police officers, then tried to turn the tables on a questioner on the issue of police reform. He challenged KCTS and Crosscutt’s Melissa Santos to provide an example where a bad police officer was fired then rehired. Santos came back with a Seattle case in which an officer struck a handcuffed woman in the face so hard it broke her eye socket, was fired then rehired because of arbitration.

“That sounds like Chief Best’s department, and you’re telling me she’s not for law and order and she’s racist in some way?” Culp asked, naming Seattle’s former police chief, who is Black.

“I did not say that,” Santos replied.

“I do not know the details of that case,” he said, adding an officer who abuses his power should be held accountable.

Monday, Monday

Monday is Indigenous People’s Day.

It used to be Columbus Day, but city officials changed it to honor the millions of people who lived in this hemisphere when a guy from the other hemisphere – who was so bad at math he thought he’d made it to Asia – “discovered” them and the land they’d lived on for millennia. Like, as if they were lost or something and needed old Chris to validate their existence.

It’s a parking meter holiday in Spokane, which seems like a strange way to honor Indigenous People. It might be more appropriate to give them a lifetime pass on parking meters and turn over the parking fees, which are essentially short-term rent payments for land that we took from them, to the Spokane Tribe.

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