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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Reno Won’t Name Independent Counsel Decision Means Congressional Hearings Into Democratic Party Fund Raising Are Likely

For the third time Friday, Attorney General Janet Reno rejected requests that she seek an independent counsel to investigate possible criminal wrongdoing in the way national Democratic Party officials allegedly sought and received campaign money from foreign contributors. The decision sets the stage for congressional hearings likely to begin soon after the new, Republican-controlled Congress convenes in January.

Recount Gives Smith 887-Vote Victory

A recount gave U.S. Rep. Linda Smith an 887-vote margin of victory Tuesday in her hotly contested race for re-election. Three weeks after the election, the secretary of state's office said recounts in the nine counties of the 3rd Congressional District showed Republican Smith with 123,117 votes to Democrat Brian Baird's 122,230.

Demos Return More Gifts, Beyond Earlier $1 Million

The Democratic Party says it is returning $450,000 in donations from an Indonesian landscape architect and his wife, adding to a list of refunds of suspect campaign contributions that already had topped $1 million. The Democratic National Committee said Friday it was giving back the 1995 and 1996 donations from Arief and Soraya Wiriadinata, former permanent U.S. residents who lived in a middle-income Virginia suburb, because the couple apparently did not file a federal tax return for 1995.

Incumbent Keeps Job

Pierce County Executive Doug Sutherland has won re-election, beating Democratic challenger Wendell Brown by 2,216 votes, final election returns showed. Brown, a County Council member, had led on election night Nov. 5. But Sutherland said last week he was sure he had won the contest after absentee ballots gave him a 621-vote lead. Brown had hung on, waiting until Wednesday to call Sutherland and concede. "In a race this close, you owe it to all the people who support you to hold on until the bitter end," he said. Both men said they would continue to work cooperatively, as they did after the 1992 election, when Sutherland beat Brown by less than 2 percent. The margin of victory was less than 1 percent of the ballots cast. A third candidate, Dale Washam, received less than 8 percent of the vote. During the campaign, Sutherland, 59, a Spokane native and former Tacoma mayor, stressed his work on economic development and the addition of 53 sheriff's deputies during his first term.

Smith And Baird Head To Recount Congressional Race So Tight That Law Requires New Tally

The contest between U.S. Rep. Linda Smith and challenger Brian Baird almost certainly will be decided after a recount of ballots, a state official said Wednesday. Smith had an 854-vote victory over her Democratic opponent in a final count of ballots certified by the nine counties in the 3rd Congressional District of southwest Washington - a margin slim enough to force a recount.

Locke Can Raise Transition Money

Gov.-elect Gary Locke can keep dialing for dollars to help pay the costs associated with his transition into office, the state's campaign watchdog agency said Tuesday. Locke asked the Public Disclosure Commission last week to decide whether surplus campaign funds can legally be used for transition expenses since the Legislature didn't set aside any money for that and Gov. Mike Lowry has offered only $120,000 from state reserves. The governor-elect, who raised nearly $2.1 million to finance his successful campaign, also said he'll have to continue fund raising to help pay the salaries of the people helping him. Locke has estimated he'll need another $100,000. The Public Disclosure Commission unanimously agreed Tuesday that Locke's request would fall within the limits of campaign laws. Campaigns are legally able to solicit through the end of this month to pay debts.

Dornan Supporters Called Kind Of Crazy

Responding to Rep. Robert K. Dornan's claim that many non-citizens voted for his opponent this month, a satirical film director Tuesday filed charges with the Orange County Registrar of Voters, contending that everyone who voted for Dornan must be deemed "mentally unstable." Michael Moore, director of "Roger & Me" and creator of "TV Nation," filed papers Tuesday contending that Dornan poses a danger to himself and others. Dornan trails Democratic challenger Loretta Sanchez by 665 votes, with 1,000 ballots still to be counted. Moore cited a number of quotations attributed to Dornan, long known for his randy language and bare-knuckle attacks on opponents. Moore said Dornan supporters must be discounted, according to the California Election Code, which prohibits any "mentally incompetent" person from voting.

Ballots Recounted By Hand Smith-Baird Race Headed For Mandatory Recount

The Thurston County Canvass Board on Tuesday agreed to recount by hand a sampling of ballots to determine if the county's computerized counting machine might have miscounted votes in the 3rd Congressional District race. The hand count of three of 195 county precinct ballots will be part of an expected mandatory machine recount of all ballots in the race between Republican U.S. Rep. Linda Smith of Hazel Dell and Democrat Brian Baird of Olympia.

Democrat Concedes To Metcalf Quigley Led On Election Day But Was Beaten By Absentees

One of Washington state's two long-hanging contests for Congress ended quietly late Saturday when Democratic state Sen. Kevin Quigley reached 2nd District GOP Rep. Jack Metcalf to concede defeat. "I gave him a call, congratulated him on his victory, and let him know that if there is anything I can do to help him over the next two years, to let me know," Quigley said Monday.

Ferry Republican Wins By 25 Votes

After absentee ballots were counted this week, Republican Dennis Snook had a 25-vote victory over Democrat Chris Kroupa for the Ferry County commissioner's position being vacated by Democrat Ed Windsor. The count was 1,378 to 1,353. Incumbent Democrat Gary Kohler defeated Republican challenger David Schumacher 1,496 to 1,154 in another Ferry County race that had been too close to call.

Clinton: Voters May Have Missed Hints

President Clinton said Friday that during the election campaign he had telegraphed the possibility that he would keep U.S. troops in Bosnia beyond their original withdrawal date, but he conceded voters may have missed his signals. Defending the decision he announced Friday to retain American forces in the Balkan nation, the president said his hints before Election Day may have been lost because he and GOP challenger Bob Dole clashed so little on foreign policy. Clinton, speaking to reporters at the White House before embarking on a 12-day trip to Hawaii and Asia, said he had been "clear before the election" that he would "consider American participation" in a prolonged international peace operation in Bosnia "if there were a clear mission with an achievable goal."

Campaign Didn’t Teach Voters Much

After hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign spending, countless news stories, three nationally televised debates and hours of advertising on television and radio, Americans knew no more about how the two major presidential candidates stood on key issues when they voted than they did when the fall campaign began in September, according to a national survey by The Washington Post, Harvard University and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. But even though voters did not know more as a result of the fall campaign, they apparently knew enough: A majority said they were sufficiently knowledgeable about President Clinton and Republican Bob Dole and the issues to make an informed choice on Election Day.

Incumbents Hold Onto Slim Victories

Pend Oreille County incumbents held onto slender election victories when absentee ballots were counted Wednesday. Republican County Commissioner Mike Hanson defeated Democratic challenger Sandi Lewis by 84 votes, 2,398 to 2,314.

Once Again, Many Voters Chose Emotions

While professional biologists often watched helplessly from the sidelines, voters in 11 states decided complicated wildlife management issues by simply saying yea or nay in the recent elections. The debates ranged from the size of clearcuts in Maine to the values of hunting cougars with hounds in Washington.

Democrat Takes Lead Over Robert Dornan

In a stunning turnabout, Democrat Loretta Sanchez took an apparently insurmountable lead over outspoken Republican Robert K. Dornan in the race for the 46th Congressional District as absentee ballots were counted Tuesday. Sanchez, who had been behind by 233 votes after the Nov. 5 election, moved 929 votes ahead of Dornan with only about 1,000 left to count and appears impossible to beat.

Smith Widens Lead In Congressional Race Metcalf Nearly Catches Up To Challenger In Other House Race

Republican Rep. Linda Smith slightly widened her lead Tuesday and GOP colleague Rep. Jack Metcalf almost wiped out the advantage of Democratic challenger Kevin Quigley as more absentee votes were counted in two tight Washington House races. Both Smith and Metcalf were counted out on election night, but if current trends continue, Democrats could lose two seats in Congress from this state that they appeared to have gained last week.