Thursday, October 30, 2008

NEW UPDATE: Gregoire's "Fighting For Working Families" Tour

Additional details about Gov. Gregoire's final campaign tour are now available. Some times/locations have changed.

Friday, Oct. 31 (Olympia)

What: Small business walking tour with candy to hand out
When: Friday, Oct. 31
Governor arrives 3 p.m., departs 4 p.m.
Where: Batdorf & Bronson, 200 Market St NE, Olympia

Saturday, Nov. 1 (Spokane and Pullman)

What: Canvass kickoff
When: Saturday, Nov. 1
Governor arrives 9:30 a.m., departs 10 a.m.
Where: Ferris High School, 3020 E 37th Ave, Spokane

What: Campaign Rally with Young Democrats and Democrats
When: Saturday, Nov. 1
Governor arrives 12:30 p.m., departs 1 p.m.
Where: Glen Terrell Mall, Washington State University, Pullman
(Inclement weather: Compton Student Union Building)

What: Tour of Deaconess Health and Education Center
When: Saturday, Nov. 1
Governor arrives 2:30 p.m., departs 3:30 p.m.
Where: 910 W 5th Ave, Spokane

What: Chili Feed with Spokane County Democrats
When: Saturday, Nov. 1
Governor arrives 4 p.m., departs 5 p.m.
Where: 1427 Dean Avenue, Spokane

Sunday, Nov. 2 (Seattle, Fife, Olympia)

What: GOTV Rally and Canvass Kickoff with Howard Dean, Senator Murray and Congressman Inslee
When: Sunday, Nov. 2
Governor arrives 11:40 a.m., departs 12:30 p.m.
Where: Van Asselt Community Center, 2820 South Myrtle St. Seattle

What: GOTV Rally and Kickoff with Howard Dean and Senator Murray
When: Sunday, Nov. 2
Governor arrives 1 p.m., departs 1:45 p.m.
Where: ILWU Hall, 1306 Alexander Avenue, Fife

What: GOTV Rally and Kickoff with Senator Murray
When: Sunday, Nov. 2
Governor arrives 2:30 p.m., departs 3 p.m.
Where: Olympia Ballroom, 116 Legion Way SE, Olympia

Monday, Nov. 3 (Mt. Vernon, Anacortes, Everett, Seattle, Bellevue)

What: Mt Vernon Downtown visit
When: Monday, Nov. 3
Governor arrives 9:45 a.m., departs 10:30 a.m.
Where: The Lunchbox, 313 Pine Street, Mt. Vernon

What: Anacortes Meet and Greet with Senator Murray
When: Monday, Nov. 3
Governor arrives, 11 a.m. departs 11:30 a.m.
Where: Croatian Center, 801 5th, Anacortes

What: Western Washington University Rally with Senator Murray
When: Monday, Nov. 3
Governor arrives 12:30 p.m., departs 1 p.m.
Where: Performing Arts Center Plaza, WWU
(Inclement weather: Viking Union Multi-Purpose room)

What: Canvass kickoff in Everett with Senator Murray
When: Monday, Nov. 3
Governor arrives 2 p.m., departs 2:20 p.m.
Where: Labor Hall, 2812 Lombard Ave, Everett

What: UW GOTV Rally with Senator Murray and Congressman Inslee
When: Monday, Nov. 3
Governor arrives 3 p.m., departs 3:30 p.m.
Where: HUB, West Ballroom, University of Washington

What: Canvass kickoff with Senator Murray and Congressman Inslee
When: Monday, Nov. 3
Governor arrives 5:45 p.m., departs 6:15 p.m.
Where: TBD

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Endorsements Round-Up

QUOTES ABOUT GOV. CHRIS GREGOIRE

"Gregoire is a woman of depth who has a commitment to solving problems with rational solutions and compromise." [The Olympian, 10/12/08]

"Rossi's campaign advertising faults Gregoire because she's been in government for 39 years. We don't understand why extended public service is a blemish as long as she's performed honorably. In her nearly four decades, Gregoire has served ably more often than not, and if there's ever been a hint of misconduct or scandal in all that time under the magnifying glass, we missed it." [The Spokesman-Review, 10/19/08]

"Gregoire is a known, trustworthy performer. She led state agencies well for years, and has done the same for the whole state. Gregoire has made improvements and smart choices in perhaps every area of major responsibility, many long neglected." [The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 10/13/08]

"Our decision to back Gregoire a second time is simple. She has done a good job leading our state the last four years. We can find no reason to 'fire' her and 'hire' Rossi instead." [The Bellingham Herald, 10/18/08]

"Gregoire has never acted like a governor who just barely won. Agree or disagree with her positions, she has shown consistent leadership and initiative..." [The Skagit Valley Herald, 10/18/08]

"Gregoire has proven to be a strong leader who's not afraid to take on entrenched interests when necessary, and she'll need to keep doing so in what will be a challenging second term. We think she's up to the task." [The Everett Herald, 10/19/08]

"Gregoire is a good negotiator, an innovator, a proven leader and a solid manager. She's a good governor but a terrible campaigner. She's bright, but her personality is not warm and charming. She's an efficient policy wonk running against a slick carnival hawker." [The Olympian, 10/12/08]

"This time... [Gregoire] carries a new weapon: a four-year record as governor by which she is judged. That record reveals Gregoire to be a tough, no-nonsense, hard-working advocate, especially in the areas of public education and health care." [The Columbian, 10/5/08]

"Gov. Chris Gregoire has skillfully balanced economic and environmental needs during the past four years, and has responded effectively to the state's ongoing budget challenges." [The Kitsap Sun, 10/19/08]

"...We’ve been impressed by [Gregoire's] overall performance as governor." [The Tacoma News Tribune, 10/12/08]


QUOTES ABOUT DINO ROSSI

"Rossi lacked specifics when talking about how he would tackle the future budget deficit. He promised that as governor, he would 'open up the lid on the agencies' and be able to look inside and find cost savings. But despite repeated questions, Rossi could give no examples of what programs or agencies he would cut in order to balance the budget. We were surprised." [The Bellingham Herald, 10/18/08]

"But [Rossi's] solutions for state government’s challenges, or perceived challenges, are long on hyperbole and short on detail. And his plan for the budget — redirecting money from the general fund to help pay for roads — is, in the absence of detail, borderline alarming." [The Skagit Valley Herald, 10/18/08]

"Rossi refuses to be specific, offering only to go through the budget line-by-line. In other words, voters are going to have to wait until he's in office to find out which state programs are gutted, whether teacher and state employee salary increases will be delayed or if entire state programs will be eliminated." [The Olympian, 10/12/08]

"[Rossi's] avoidance of questions about his social conservatism, his unrealistic transportation ideas and even his unwillingness to be labeled Republican on the ballot all warn there's a lot about how Rossi would govern that most of us... would learn only after he took on the job." [The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 10/13/08]

-- Dennis

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

AFSCME: Dino Rossi Will Take Us Backwards

A new independent expenditure ad sponsored by AFSCME has hit the airwaves. The ad refers to Dino Rossi's harmful record on health care, education and unemployment benefits. If you've missed it, you can watch it here:

video

AFSCME has been incredibly supportive during this contentious Governor's race. Hopefully our members appreciate the international union's efforts on our behalf. -- Dennis

ABC News: Rossi Trying To Hide From "Republican Party" Label

Our friend Mark Murphy from AFSCME forwarded this video clip from ABC News talking about how Dino Rossi has listed himself as the candidate of the "GOP Party" rather than the "Republican Party" in an effort to distance himself from an unpopular Republican president whose policies Rossi actually embraces.

video

Rossi's decision to file with the Secretary of State as a "GOP Party" candidate, rather than as a "Republican Party" candidate was no accident. Everything Rossi has done over the past six years in his quest to be elected Governor has been meticulously calculated. Rossi has refused to say anything during his campaign that hasn't been poll-tested and scrubbed, and his choice of party label is no exception.

Independent pollster Stuart Elway, in his September newsletter, noted a stark difference in Rossi's support when the different party labels were used.

"Governor Chris Gregoire leads challenger Dino Rossi by 10 points or by 4 points, depending upon how their party identification is presented.

Washington's new Top Two Primary system requires candidates to list themselves as 'preferring (this or that) party.' That preference also appears on the November ballot. Dino Rossi lists himself has preferring 'the GOP Party.' That may turn out to be a shrewd move.

Rossi trailed Gregoire by 51% to 41% when he is introduced as 'Republican Dino Rossi' and she as 'Democrat Chris Gregoire.' That lead is cut in half (48-44%) when he is 'Dino Rossi, who prefers the GOP party' and she is Chris Gregoire, 'who prefers the Democratic party.'

These difference are not statistically significant, but they are politically significant. A previous Elway Poll (June 08) found that 25% of respondents did not know what 'GOP' referred to. And in a race that was decided by 133 votes 4 years ago, a 6 point differential is anything but trivial." [Stuart Elway, The Elway Report, Sept. 08]

I have been amazed and impressed by Rossi's remarkable discipline when it comes to his campaign message. His views on most public policy issues -- labor, environment, abortion, etc. -- are out of step with most Washington voters. Other candidates with similar philosophies have been resoundingly defeated in statewide elections in the past. Rossi has managed to outperform his philosophical base by making sure he never says anything that is "off message."

Rossi has been skewered by editorial boards across the state for his stubborn refusal to offer substantive answers to questions posed by the public and the press. On the other hand, if he responded to those questions in a manner consistent with his Senate voting record, he wouldn't have a chance to win. -- Dennis

UPDATE: Gregoire "Fighting For Working Families" Tour

We can now fill in some of the gaps in the schedule for Governor Gregoire's "Fighting For Working Families" Tour. The following are the times and locations where Gov. Gregoire will be campaigning over the last week of the election.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

4:15 pm Vancouver Canvass Kickoff
Campaign HQ, 10621 NE Coxley Dr., Vancouver

6:00 pm Rally in Longview
Longshore Hall, 617 14th Ave., Longview

Thursday, Oct. 30

4:15 pm Canvass Kickoff with Gov. Gregoire and Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club
3867 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle

Friday, Oct. 31

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm Handing out Halloween candy after school
Downtown Olympia

Saturday, Nov. 1

9:00 pm Spokane Canvass Kickoff
Ferris High School, 3020 E. 37th Ave., Spokane

11:00 pm Pre-Game Rally with Democrats and Young Democrats
Location TBD

12:00 pm Game Watching with Young Democrats
The Coug, Pullman

4:00 pm Chili Feed with Spokane Democrats
Toad Hall, 1427 Dean Ave., Spokane

Sunday, Nov. 2

11:15 am Seattle GOTV Rally/Canvass Kickoff with Gov. Gregoire, Howard Dean and Sen. Patty Murray
Location TBD

12:30 pm Tacoma GOTV Rally/Canvass Kickoff with Gov. Gregoire, Howard Dean and Sen. Patty Murray
IBEW Hall, 3049 S. 36th, Tacoma

3:30 pm Olympia GOTV Rally/Phone Bank Kickoff with Gov. Gregoire and Sen. Patty Murray
Location TBD

Monday, Nov. 3

10:00 am Downtown Mount Vernon Visit

11:00 am Anacortes Meet and Greet
Location TBD

12:00 noon Bellingham Rally with Gov. Gregoire and Sen. Patty Murray
PAC Plaza, Western WA University, Bellingham

2:45 pm Everett Canvass Kickoff with Gov. Gregoire and Sen. Patty Murray
Labor Temple, Everett

4:00 pm University of Washington GOTV Rally with Gov. Gregoire and Sen. Patty Murray
The HUB, UW, Seattle

5:15 pm Bellevue Canvass Kickoff with Gov. Gregoire and Sen. Patty Murray
Location TBD

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gregoire Announces "Fighting For Working Families" Tour

Governor Gregoire will be touring the state in the final days before the election, and we have just received a copy of the schedule. The Gregoire campaign has announced that the "Governor is launching her Fighting for Working Families Tour this weekend in Tacoma. She will spend every day until election day talking to voters, supporters and working families about how she is going to fight for them."

We'll post additional details about the Governor's schedule as we receive them. Many of the stops along the tour are public events, so feel free to attend and show your support. Don't forget to wear your green t-shirt!

Saturday, Oct. 25

9:00 am Tacoma Canvass Kickoff
Clover Park Technical College, Sharon McGavick Center, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood

10:00 am Native Vote Rally
Greater Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma

10:30 am Auburn Canvass Kickoff
Public School Employees Union Building, 602 W. Main, Auburn

12:45 pm Des Moines Canvass Kickoff
22515 Marine View Dr., Des Moines

2:00 pm Burien Downtown Tour

4:00 pm UW Football Game & Tailgate Party with Cong. Norm Dicks

Sunday, Oct. 26

12:30 pm Women For Gregoire Rally & Canvass Kickoff, Bellevue
Guests: Gov. Sebelius & Gov. Napolitano, Bellevue Community College, Carlson Theater, 3000 Landerhold Circle SE, Bellevue

2:30 pm Women For Gregoire Rally & Canvass Kickoff, Lynnwood
Guests: Gov. Sebelius & Gov. Napolitano, Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th St SW, Lynnwood

Monday, Oct. 27

12:30 pm Gig Harbor Meet & Greet
Location TBD

2:00 pm Veterans Event, Bremerton
VFW Post 239, 190 S. Dora Ave., Bremerton

3:15 pm Poulsbo Downtown Visit

4:15 pm Bainbridge Island Downtown Visit

5:30 pm Bainbridge Island Ferry to Seattle
Open outreach event

Tuesday, Oct. 28

1:30 pm Bellevue event
Location TBD

3:30 pm Bellevue Office Meet & Greet
555 116th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA

Wednesday, Oct. 29

3:30 pm Vancouver Health Care Visit

4:30 pm Vancouver Office Meet & Greet
10621 NE Coxley Dr., Vancouver

5:30 pm Longview Rally
Location TBD

Thursday, Oct. 30

2:00 pm Seattle Job Site Visit

3:00 pm Seattle Job Site Visit

3:45 pm West Seattle Walking Tour

4:30 pm Seattle Phone Bank Kickoff
Location TBD

Saturday, Nov. 1

9:00 am Spokane Canvass Kickoff
Location TBD

11:15 am Pre-Game Campaign Rally With Young Democrats
Pullman

12:00 am Game Watching With Young Democrats
Pullman

2:15 pm Downtown Spokane Visit

4:00 pm BBQ With Spokane Democrats
Location TBD

Sunday, Nov. 2

11:15 pm GOTV Rally/Canvass Kickoff, Seattle
Special guest. Location TBD

12:30 pm GOTV Rally/Canvass Kickoff, Tacoma
Special guest. Location TBD

3:30 pm GOTV Rally/Canvass Kickoff, Olympia
Location TBD

7:00 pm Olympia Low-Donor Fundraiser
Location TBD

Monday, Nov. 3

9:45 am Downtown Mt. Vernon

11:45 am Anacortes Meet & Greet
Location TBD

12:00 noon Bellingham & WWU GOTV Rally
Western Washington University, Red Square, Bellingham

2:15 pm Everett Job Site Visit

3:00 pm Everett Canvass Kickoff
Labor Temple, 2810 Lombard Ave., Everett

4:00 pm UW GOTV Rally
University of Washington, The HUB, Seattle

5:15 pm Bellevue Canvass Kickoff
Location TBD

9:00 pm GOTV Concert
The Showbox, 1426 1st Ave., Seattle

Tuesday, Nov. 4

9:00 am Tacoma GOTV Visits
Location TBD

2:00 pm Everett GOTV Visits
Location TBD

4:00 pm Bellevue GOTV Visits
Location TBD

5:30 pm Seattle GOTV Visits
Location TBD

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Seattle P-I Editorial: "Don't Split Ticket"

Yesterday, the Seattle P-I Editorial Board urged readers to vote for both Barack Obama and Chris Gregoire, arguing that voting for Obama and Dino Rossi "is not a split ticket that would promote effective government." The P-I wrote,

"Rossi is campaigning as an agent of change. Fair enough. But what kind of change?

He'd promote Bush economics -- that simplistic idea that tax cuts solve every problem -- on the state level. Bushonomics didn't work in D.C.; why would it work in Olympia? On the issues of taxes, Obama has been campaigning on the very idea of a progressive income tax. You make more, it's only fair to pay more. Rossi says: 'I will not support a state income tax like Gregoire does -- not now, not ever.' Indeed, if you go down the list of ideas championed by Rossi, they're closer in spirit, ideology and temperament to John McCain. There is a reason they are both Republicans.

The case for an Obama-Gregoire vote is stronger when you consider the benefits to this state from an Obama administration. Chris Gregoire was an early supporter of Obama -- her endorsement came in February -- when the majority of elected Democrats in the state were solidly behind Sen. Hillary Clinton. 'Barack Obama has a unique ability to reach across all the artificial divides and divisions to move our nation forward,' she said at the time, in words that still ring true."


-- Dennis

Monday, October 20, 2008

More Newspapers Endorse Gregoire

According to Brad Shannon at the Olympian, the Seattle Times' decision to, once again, endorse Dino Rossi for Governor "is bucking a trend... Other significant papers that went with Rossi in 2004 have switched, backing Gregoire this time around. These include The News Tribune in Tacoma, the Columbian in Vancouver, and the Spokesman-Review in Spokane — all battlegrounds where Rossi had an edge last time but which are trending more favorably for Gregoire way this time, based on Aug. 19 primary results."

The Bellingham Herald wrote,

"Our decision to back Gregoire a second time is simple. She has done a good job leading our state the last four years. We can find no reason to 'fire' her and 'hire' Rossi instead...

Officials estimate the state could face a $3.2 billion budget deficit between 2009 and 2011, the state's next two-year budget cycle. While Rossi and his supporters have made a lot of political hay about that, we don't see how Gregoire can be blamed.

The state's deficit is a direct result of a slowing economy. It would have happened no matter who was governor...

Rossi lacked specifics when talking about how he would tackle the future budget deficit. He promised that as governor, he would 'open up the lid on the agencies' and be able to look inside and find cost savings. But despite repeated questions, Rossi could give no examples of what programs or agencies he would cut in order to balance the budget. We were surprised.

Not only is Rossi familiar with the state's budget from having written the state Senate version in 2003, but he has been running for governor basically full-time since 2004. After he lost that year's close election, it was obvious that he was planning on challenging Gregoire again this year. In all that time you would think he would have thought of some obvious proposals for state programs that could and should be trimmed.

Gregoire, meanwhile, is right in the middle of her goal of revamping the state government and finding new ways to do things..."

Explaining their decision to support Gregoire this year, after supporting Rossi four years ago, the Spokesman-Review wrote,

"[Gregoire] is a brainy, hands-on governor whose qualities are needed to deal with problems, both foreseen and unforeseeable, that confront any state...

Rossi's campaign advertising faults Gregoire because she's been in government for 39 years. We don't understand why extended public service is a blemish as long as she's performed honorably. In her nearly four decades, Gregoire has served ably more often than not, and if there's ever been a hint of misconduct or scandal in all that time under the magnifying glass, we missed it.

In 2004, we weighed the two candidates and concluded that Rossi was the more promising answer. Having now seen Gregoire in action for four years, we think she has made a convincing case for re-election."

The Skagit Valley Herald wrote,

"Dino Rossi and the state Republican Party have spent the past four years lamenting that he wasn’t elected governor in 2004, and they are planning to change that this year. Rossi has spent much of that time campaigning, directly or indirectly, while Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire ran the state.

If Rossi had spent more of that time actually preparing to be governor instead of wishing to be governor, he might be a more viable challenger. As it is, he’s the same guy with the same message four years later, and that’s not nearly recommendation enough to unseat Gregoire...

Rossi is an energetic campaigner with legislative leadership experience in the budget process. But his solutions for state government’s challenges, or perceived challenges, are long on hyperbole and short on detail. And his plan for the budget — redirecting money from the general fund to help pay for roads — is, in the absence of detail, borderline alarming...

Gregoire has never acted like a governor who just barely won. Agree or disagree with her positions, she has shown consistent leadership and initiative... We think Gregoire has the experience and determination to steer the best course through the next four years."

The Everett Herald, another newspaper that switched from Rossi to Gregoire, wrote,

"Four years ago, when they were vying for an open seat, we endorsed Rossi because of his impressive mediation work balancing the budget in 2003 as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. This time, we have a candidate with a track record in the governor's office, and we think it's a strong one. While we still believe Rossi has much to offer, we endorse Gregoire for re-election...

Gregoire has proven to be a strong leader who's not afraid to take on entrenched interests when necessary, and she'll need to keep doing so in what will be a challenging second term. We think she's up to the task."

Finally, the Kitsap Sun wrote,

"Gov. Chris Gregoire has skillfully balanced economic and environmental needs during the past four years, and has responded effectively to the state's ongoing budget challenges.

Because of her impressive and consistently productive leadership, our editorial board is recommending the re-election of Gregoire..."

Previously I argued there was no way the Seattle Times would endorse Gregoire because the publisher, Frank Blethen, "will be unable to overcome his bias in support of tax cuts for the rich when considering the Governor's race." Sure enough, all three newspapers owned by the Blethen family -- the Seattle Times, the Yakima Herald-Republic, and the Walla Walla Union Bulletin -- have all endorsed Rossi. Seattle P-I columnist Joel Connelly noted this trend when he commented "the Seattle Times will never forget the guv's backing of the inheritance tax..."

What was disconcerting, however, was that the main argument the Seattle Times used to recommend Rossi is because they want state employees to pay more for health care. I'm not making this up! According to the Seattle Times,

"When [Rossi] says he'll cut spending, you can believe him, because he has done it, and because he represents a constituency that wants it done.

Consider one example: the proportion of health insurance paid by the employee. In the private sector, the employee's share differs, but averages more than a third. At the state, the employee's share is 12 percent.

A few months ago, Gregoire agreed to keep it at 12 percent. She could try to take back this gift, but it would be difficult. For Rossi, it would not be so difficult. He would probably say that in the midst of an economic crisis, it was unfair to save an employee's benefit by raising taxes on other employees who don't have that benefit."


With the exception of the personal agenda belonging to the owner of the Seattle Times Company, there is a common thread to all these endorsements -- Gregoire is seen as effective and strong, while Rossi is seen as vague and evasive. On one hand, I can't think of any specific election that was won or lost based on a newspaper endorsement, on the other hand it is heartening that at least some observers can see Gregoire's substance amid all of Rossi's empty slogans. -- Dennis

Gen. Powell Endorses Obama

I'm sure everyone has heard that Gen. Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President during an interview with Tom Brokaw on Sunday's "Meet the Press." Powell, who had been Secretary of State under President Bush, told Brokaw, "I have some concerns about the direction the party has taken in recent years... [T]he approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower."

video

-- Dennis

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama, McCain Bring Down the House

Flying around the internet today are the video clips of Barack Obama and John McCain at yesterday's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City. Both candidates make fun of themselves and each other, and they interject a huge dose of humor and class into an otherwise rugged presidential campaign. So, for a Friday afternoon treat, here are the two candidates.

Barack Obama:

video

John McCain:

video

Both of these men have gone up in my book. -- Dennis

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Update On Total Contributions In the Governor's Race

I mentioned yesterday that the governor's race had exceeded $30 million in contributions received so far. Andrew Garber of the Seattle Times wrote, "supporters running independent campaigns that back Rossi have raised an additional $8 million this month. Combined with the money Rossi has raised, that puts more than $22 million behind his candidacy." Based on press reports, the breakdown is as follows:

Rossi Campaign: $9.7 million
Building Ind Assn WA: $7.2 million
Republican Gov Assn: $5.5 million
ROSSI TOTAL: $22.4 million

Gregoire Campaign: $10.8 million
Evergreen Progress: $5.1 million
GREGOIRE TOTAL: $15.9 million

Neither total includes spending by the political parties that benefit the gubernatorial candidates, so the actual totals are much higher.

-- Dennis

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Case You Missed It: Quick Notes From the WA State Campaign Trail

> Governor race to exceed $30 million in spending

Seattle P-I writer Joel Connelly is reporting that "the campaign warchests of Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire and 'GOP Party' challenger Dino Rossi have topped $20 million, with partisan front groups pouring an additional $12 million into the race. The result is Washington's first $30 million-plus governor's race, exemplified by the relentless march of negative ads on the state's TV screens." According to Connelly, Gregoire's campaign has raised $10.8 million, while Rossi's campaign has raised $9.75 million. Another $12 million has been raised by independent committees -- the largest of which is the Building Industry Association of Washington, which has raised $7.25 million, with almost all of their money spent on ads attacking Gregoire.


> Attorney General Rob McKenna studies gas prices, discovers everything is just fine

The Seattle Weekly reports that Republican Rob McKenna, the incumbent Attorney General, has been attacked by his challenger, Democrat John Ladenburg, for conducting a study of gas prices that "was less than thorough in its search for price-fixing, and thus misleadingly exonerated the industry." Ladenburg and his allies believe McKenna never had any intention of contucting a thorough study, instead issuing a limited report that dodged the biggest questions. [Note: WFSE members have voted to endorse Ladenburg for Attorney General.]


> Lands Commissioner race heating up

The biggest timber companies in the state have pooled together to raise $554,000 for a PAC called the "Committee for Balanced Stewardship." According to Connelly, the timber PAC has "the obvious intent of boosting the embattled [Public Lands Commissioner Doug] Sutherland." If the timber industry follows the established model, that half a million dollars will be spent on advertising attacking Sutherland's challenger, Democrat Peter Goldmark. [Note: WFSE members have voted to endorse Goldmark for Commissioner of Public Lands.]


> Always check the label

If you really want to know what's going on with the political advertising you see and hear, you need to check the label. In the Governor's race, there are more ads running that have been paid by independent groups then there are ads paid for by the candidates themselves. The really interesting questions are, "who is paying for this ad," and "why?" Political advertisers are required to disclose who is paying for a given ad, but you have to look quick. If the ad is paid for by a candidate or a party organization, then you know what to expect. But if the ad is paid for by some phony-sounding group you've never heard of, like "ChangePAC," then it's because the sponsors are trying to conceal their identity. [Note: "ChangePAC" is one of the pseudonyms the BIAW is hiding behind this year.]


> Has Darcy Burner pulled into a lead over Dave Reichert?

Incumbent Congressman Dave Reichert (R-8) is facing a difficult rematch with Democratic challenger Darcy Burner. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee just released a new poll "that shows Democrat Darcy Burner leading Republican Congressman Dave Reichert by 5 percent. In the initial head-to-head in the race for Washington State's 8th congressional district, Burner leads Reichert 49 to 44 percent." Obviously, the DCCC is biased, so I'm taking this announcement with a grain of salt. The Pindell Report now lists Washington's 8th CD as the 28th most competitive race in the nation, and describes the race as "lean Republican." On the other hand, Congressional Quarterly's latest analysis concludes "the Democratic Party remains on the verge of significant seat gains in both the U.S. Senate and House with three weeks to go before election day." So even if the DCCC is padding, it's clear that Burner has a chance to win. [Note: WFSE members have voted to endorse Darcy Burner for the 8th CD.]


> Supreme Court to decide the fate of I-960

In September, the state Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the constitutionality of Initiative 960. I-960 was the product of professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman, and was adopted by the voters in 2007. Among its provisions is a requirement that a super-majority vote of the Legislature is required to raise taxes. The law has been challenged in a suit brought by Sen. Lisa Brown (D-Spokane). Interested parties are now waiting for the court to make a decision, and we really don't know when that will happen. In the meantime, Sen. Brown wrote a guest editorial that appeared in the Seattle Times outlining the reasons why she believes the court should find I-960 to be unconstitutional. If nothing else, the citizens of the state would be greatly served if the Supreme Court would, once and for all, issue a ruling on whether a super-majority requirement can be imposed on the Legislature without amendmending the state Constitution. At least then everybody would know where they stand.


> Finally, something else that made me laugh

The Public Disclosure Commission recently fined Chris Bowen, a candidate for state Representative, for failing to file any reports. Bowen is challenging Rep. Alex Wood in Spokane's 3rd District. According to Richard Roesler of the Spokesman-Review, Brown "told investigators that he put the reports in the mail and that's all he's required to do. It's not his problem, he said, if the state Public Disclosure Commission didn't get them or lost them... In an e-mail Sept. 19 about the PDC charges, Bowen maintained that there 'have been many times where I have had to give my information multiple times to the PDC, County Elections and many other requiring agencies.' Each time, he said, it got lost." Or maybe the dog ate it. [Note: WFSE members have voted to endorse Wood for House Pos. 1 in the 3rd LD.]

-- Dennis

Young People and Politics - from a younger point of view

It's taken me a while to respond to my fearless leader's blog about young people and politics. I must admit, he got under my skin... Then I ran accros this funny and suprisingly accurate video about young people and a different kind of politics - check it out!

video

- April

Gerald McEntee's Call To Arms

AFSCME International President Gerald McEntee recorded a short video calling on all union members to do everything we can this election season. The video was shot in a corridor, somewhere in Ohio, and the setting and the lighting are terrible. But the message is excellent.

video

UPDATE: In one of yesterday's blog posts, I referred to research by the Wall Street Journal that suggested racism could be a factor in the presidential election. CNN is reporting that McEntee addressed the race issue head-on during a recent speech in Ohio.

Speaking at a labor rally in Ohio recently, [McEntee's] frustration about the reluctance, or refusal, of some white union members to support Obama spilled into the open. "When it gets real bad, and they never -- with this one -- look you in the eye, 'Well, I can't vote for him,'" McEntee told the diverse union audience. "This doesn't even come out in code -- it comes out like this: 'I can't vote for him because he is a black man. He's not one of us.' Well, sisters and brothers, when you hear that, you know what you ought to say? This is what I say: 'That is bull----! That is total, absolute bull----!'"

-- Dennis

Monday, October 13, 2008

Obama Tax Plan Saves Money For 95% Of Americans; More Notes From the Presidential Campaign Trail

This past Sunday's Parade Magazine published an easy-to-understand analysis of Barack Obama and John McCain's tax plans. "If your salary is less than $112,000, you'd pay less in taxes under Obama's plan," according to Parade; "if your salary is higher, McCain would cut your taxes more." Under the Obama plan, everyone earning less than $227,000 a year would receive a tax cut, everyone earning more would see a tax increase. On the other hand, McCain continues his dogged adherence to Bush's failed economic policies: his tax cuts primarily benefit the rich but do virtually nothing for the middle class.

It's a free country. People can vote for whomever they like. But can't we all just agree, once and for all, that this "supply-side" economic mumbo-jumbo doesn't work? Haven't we learned anything?


> Obama is expanding his lead over McCain

There are 21 days to go in the election, and all the political trend lines are favoring Obama right now. Even the ultra-conservative Wall Street Journal was forced to concede their own polling shows "independent voters are starting to swing behind Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who continue to benefit from economic turmoil and the public response to their debate performances..."

The WSJ does offer one caution for Obama: racism could be a factor. They reported on focus group participants who said "...they knew people who wouldn't support Obama because he is black." If nothing else, this election will say a lot about how far we've progressed as a nation.


> More encouraging news: Obama's poll numbers might be even better than we realize

A recent report from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center demonstrates a statistical difference in attitudes among people with landline telephones and people with only cell phones. Why is this noteworthy? Because most of the polls we're seeing in the news could be underestimating how much support Obama really has.

According to the Pew report, "Obama's lead was 2 or 3 percentage points smaller when cell users were omitted." The study also found "young cell users preferred Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over Republican nominee John McCain by 35 percentage points. For young landline users, it was a smaller 13-point Obama edge."


> Why is McCain struggling? Look no farther than the White House

According to USA Today, "a Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday finds only 25% of Americans approve of the way Bush is handling the job of president; 70% disapprove. That's the lowest approval and the highest disapproval of his eight years in office. His approval rating has dropped eight percentage points in a month." USA Today also published a cool, interactive chart that tracks Bush's approval ratings over the course of his presidency, which you can see here.

Others are chiming in about how President Bush is causing significant harm not only to McCain, but also to the Republican Party. TheHill.com reports "former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said the Wall Street bailout plan pushed by President Bush signaled the 'final collapse' of the current administration... 'It is a tragic and very expensive legacy,' Gingrich said. 'No conservative and no Republican should doubt how much it has hurt our cause and our party.'”


> Last, but not least, are a couple more items that caught my eye...

- The Seattle Times recently published a concise overview of the "Keating 5" scandal where John McCain was found guilty of using "poor judgement" in his effort to get federal regulators to back off investigations into the "questionable lending practices and investments" of a savings and loan bank run by Charles Keating, a major McCain benefactor. The ultimate failure of Keating's savings and loan helped trigger a major federal bailout of the entire industry, at taxpayer expense. Sound familiar?


- Finally, I couldn't help but chuckle when I read this report in the Seattle P-I: "US Weekly is reporting that John McCain paid $5,583 to TV makeup artist Tifanie White, who has worked on American Idol. The expense is included in Big Mac's Federal Election Commission filing... [E]ven by John Edwards' standards, a $5,583 makeup job is a lot of cash - especially for the candidate who claims not to be the 'celebrity' in the race." There's nothing more I can add.

-- Dennis

Olympian, News Tribune Endorse Gregoire

Two more major daily newspapers have endorsed the re-election of Chris Gregoire over Dino Rossi. The Olympian and the News Tribune (Tacoma) have joined the Seattle P-I and the Columbian (Vancouver) in urging their readers to vote for the incumbent Governor.

The Olympian wrote:

"Rossi is sharply critical of Gregoire's fiscal stewardship, blaming her for the projected $3.2 billion budget shortfall for the 2009-11 spending cycle.

He promises not to cut education, not to cut programs for vulnerable citizens, not to raise taxes and, in fact, he wants to further deplete the general fund budget by moving money into transportation projects and securing additional dollars for education.

Where's he going to get the money?

Rossi refuses to be specific, offering only to go through the budget line-by-line. In other words, voters are going to have to wait until he's in office to find out which state programs are gutted, whether teacher and state employee salary increases will be delayed or if entire state programs will be eliminated.

That's a huge gamble — a gamble this editorial board is not willing to take...

Gregoire is a good negotiator, an innovator, a proven leader and a solid manager. She's a good governor but a terrible campaigner. She's bright, but her personality is not warm and charming. She's an efficient policy wonk running against a slick carnival hawker.

Gregoire is a woman of depth who has a commitment to solving problems with rational solutions and compromise. That makes her the superior candidate for governor. Rossi cannot match her vision, top-level management experience or commitment to public service."

The News Tribune became the second major daily newspaper so far (along with the Columbian) to endorse Gregoire in 2008 after endorsing Rossi in 2004. Both newspapers cited Gregoire's long list of accomplishments during her first term. "Although we've had some disagreements with her," the News Tribune wrote, "we've been impressed by her overall performance as Governor."


> Seattle P-I endorses Obama for President, too

As with the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has also endorsed Barack Obama over John McCain for President. "Obama is the best candidate for president," the P-I Editorial Board wrote. "He has the vision, patience and fortitude to put America on a track to recovery after an eight-year run of financial irresponsibility, aggressive adventurism abroad and mismanagement, secrecy and dissembling on numerous fronts." The P-I endorsing Obama isn't a surprise -- they have been extremely critical of George W. Bush over the years. But it's still nice.

-- Dennis

UPDATE: Rossi Wants To Lower the Minimum Wage

In another post published last week, I criticized Dino Rossi for saying he was in favor or lowering the minimum wage, citing press reports indicating there were 57,000 full-time workers in Washington state who were earning a maximum of $16,786 a year.

It appears I wasn't the only person who felt pretty strongly about this issue. The Gregoire campaign now has two commercials up and running on this topic. The first one is here:

video

The second one is here:

video

Needless to say, I like both of these ads a lot.

-- Dennis

UPDATE: It's Criminal What Dino Rossi Is Saying About Crime

I wrote last week about the irony of Dino Rossi and his surrogates attacking Gov. Gregoire for being "soft on crime" when it was the Rossi budget that released prisoners early and cut community supervision.

Joe Turner, the ever-observant reporter from the News Tribune, made the same point when he noted it was the Rossi/Locke budget in 2003 that "...shortened prison sentences for drug offenders and residential burglars and cut the community supervision (parole officers') budget by having them watch fewer ex-cons."

Obviously, the Gregoire campaign isn't about to concede the public safety issue. The following ad hit the airwaves last week:

video

-- Dennis

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

P-I, Columbian Endorse Gregoire

Over the past couple of days, two of the largest daily newspapers in the state have released editorials endorsing the re-election of Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The Seattle P-I wrote:
"Rossi was a capable senator and is a capable campaigner. But his avoidance of questions about his social conservatism, his unrealistic transportation ideas and even his unwillingness to be labeled Republican on the ballot all warn there's a lot about how Rossi would govern that most of us, including perhaps the candidate, would learn only after he took on the job.

Gregoire is a known, trustworthy performer. She led state agencies well for years, and has done the same for the whole state. Gregoire has made improvements and smart choices in perhaps every area of major responsibility, many long neglected."

The Columbian wrote:

"Now Democrat Gregoire is engaged in another knock-down, drag-out against the same foe: Republican Dino Rossi. This time, though, she carries a new weapon: a four-year record as governor by which she is judged. That record reveals Gregoire to be a tough, no-nonsense, hard-working advocate, especially in the areas of public education and health care.

Gov. Gregoire has served well, particularly in matters affecting Clark County, and The Columbian today endorses her for reelection. Such was not our recommendation four years ago when we endorsed Rossi in a battle of two candidates who were seasoned politicians, but first-time applicants for the governor’s chair. Now, though, Gregoire is armed with a dossier that shows significant progress."

The Seattle Times will announce its endorsement in the Governor's race on Oct. 19th, although this observer believes there is no chance the Times will endorse Gregoire. The publisher of the Seattle Times, Frank Blethen, has lobbied vigorously and donated money on behalf efforts to repeal the estate tax. Gov. Gregoire led the fight to reinstate the estate tax in our state, with the proceeds dedicated to education. [Note: Washington's estate tax exempts estates valued at less than $2 million, meaning only the wealthiest residents would have to pay.] Meanwhile, Dino Rossi supports a repeal of the estate tax, in spite of the fact that an initiative to repeal the tax was defeated 38-62% when it was on the ballot in 2005. Still, it seems unlikely Blethen will be able to overcome his bias in support of tax cuts for the rich when considering the Governor's race. [Another Note: The Blethen family also owns the Walla Walla Union Bulletin and the Yakima Herald-Republic, so don't expect a lot of objectivity there, either.] -- Dennis

Gov. Gregoire & Gov. Richardson Rally in Spokane Oct. 9th


Join Governor Chris Gregoire with Governor Bill Richardson at a rally in Spokane on Thursday, October 9th, at 1:30 pm. The rally will be held at the Carpenter's Union Hall, 127 E. Augusta Ave. Please consider donating a few hours of leave to support a Governor who has supported us. RSVP to John at jfoster@chrisgregoire.com or at 509-327-0399. -- Dennis

Gregoire Town Hall In Vancouver On Oct. 13th

Gov. Chris Gregoire will hold a town hall at Clark College in Vancouver on Oct. 13 at 11 a.m., and WFSE members are invited. Tickets are free and given on a first come, first serve basis. RSVP to townhall@gregoire.com or by calling 206-382-2008.

According to the Gregoire campaign, "this time was originally scheduled for a televised debate with our Republican opponent to discuss the local issues that are important to you, like economic development, health care and education. But our Republican opponent canceled the debate and decided to attend a fundraiser instead. He would rather pose for $500 photos with big donors
than reaching out to working families and voters in Southwest Washington."

Since the debate won't happen, the Governor has decided to come to Vancouver anyway and meet directly with local residents. Please consider donating a few hours of leave and stopping by to show our support of a Governor who has supported us. Seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP right away. -- Dennis

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rossi Wants To Lower the Minimum Wage

Ever since last week's gubernatorial debate in front of the Association of Washington Business, there has been a huge outcry regarding Dino Rossi's public statement that he favored lowering Washington's minimum wage. Today, reporter Chris McGann of the Seattle P-I, has the story:
"Few lines distinguish the two major party candidates for governor as starkly as Washington's low-water mark for hourly pay, the state minimum wage... Gov. Chris Gregoire, daughter of a single mom who was a short-order cook, a career politician and supporter of labor unions, has vowed to uphold it. Republican challenger Dino Rossi, a self-made millionaire, a businessman who believes in the free market and a limited role of government, supports efforts to reduce it."
It's true that our state's minimum wage is the highest in the nation, thanks to a voter-approved initiative. Today, Washington's minimum wage is $8.07 per hour, or $16,786 per year (if you work 40 hours a week for 52 weeks). According to McGann, almost 57,000 full-time workers in this state earned the minimum wage in 2007. I can't even imagine how hard it would be to get by at that wage, even if you are young and single, let alone if you are a single mom trying to support a family. Stunningly, Rossi, who is wealthier now than he ever has been, thinks that's too much.

Initiative 688, which not only raised the state minimum wage but also indexed the minimum wage to inflation, was approved by a 2-1 margin in 1998. Considering the economic anxiety most working families are feeling these days, the measure would undoubtedly receive even more support if it were on the ballot this year. It just goes to show how out of touch Rossi is with the people who have to struggle to make ends meet. It's no wonder Gregoire just launched a new TV ad on this issue:

video

The politicians in Washington DC have shown us what happens when the government is controlled by sycophants for the rich. We need to make sure that doesn't happen here. -- Dennis

This Washington leads the way

I don't know about you, gentle reader, but I am always hearing how Washington State is on the cutting edge of so many things that are...cool. Green business and technology, health care, quality of life, waterproof rain gear, etc., etc... Here is just another example.

I haven't tackled getting my head around this whole bail out bill legislation, but I found a surprise when I was doing some research. It seems the original bill that was the vehicle for the senate version, which eventually was tweaked and passed, was about mental health parity.

In an article I found on NPR.org, there are specifics about what will be expected with the passing of the bail out bill from insurance providers. In a nut shell:

The terms of the new law apply to businesses that employ 50 or more people and that offer health insurance with mental health coverage. Now, these businesses must offer mental health coverage to the same extent as all other benefits. Most of the requirements take effect a year from now.


You can find the entire story at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95435676

Washington had a mental health parity law pass last session. I don't know how it compares to the new federal one, but once again, this Washington is ahead of that Washington. This states bill is yet another bit of evidence that Chris Gregoire protects our vulnerable. If you look at the vote count
http://flooractivityext.leg.wa.gov/rollcall.aspx?id=27951
It kind of shows that the folks who tend to represent the heart of the republican agenda in the house all voted against it. WWDD (What would Dino Do), do you suppose? I am betting he would have taken the advise of the Washington Association of insurance underwriters, Regents/Blue Shield and Pacific Care, who all opposed it.

TTFN (Ta Ta For Now)

z

It's Criminal What Dino Rossi Is Saying About Crime

Dino Rossi and his surrogates continue to attack Governor Gregoire for being "soft on crime." The Republican Governors Association recently ran full-page ads in several daily newspapers to that effect, and Rossi has been making these claims on the stump all year. Not only are these ads deliberately untruthful, they represent an obvious attempt to inoculate Rossi against one of his greatest vulnerabilities. After all, it was Dino Rossi, when he was Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, who led the charge to save money by releasing thousands of felons from supervision.

You don't have to take my word for it. Check the record yourself. The 2003-05 Senate Chair Budget saved more than $40 million by letting prisoners out early and reducing the supervision of felons [see p. 37]. The result? The state simply stopped supervising 14,000 felons after they were released from prison. As any CCO will tell you, these felons represent a risk to society and somebody needs to keep an eye on them. But for Dino Rossi it was more important to enact more than $100 million in new tax cuts for wealthy businesses like Microsoft than to keep our communities safe [see pp. 51-54].

Meanwhile, Gregoire has presided over the lowest crime rate in 14 years. She has created a DNA registry for anyone convicted of a sex crime, required sex offenders to wear electronic ankle monitors, increased sentences for sex offenders, and invested in a new prison to make sure we aren't forced to release criminals early or to send them to private, for-profit prisons in other states.

The truth is, it's Dino Rossi, not Chris Gregoire, who agreed to stop supervising thousands of released felons. Maybe that's why his campaign is making so much noise trying to distort Gregoire's record. He's afraid otherwise voters might notice HIS record. -- Dennis

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jim McIntire Fundraiser in Olympia On Oct. 6th

Support your pension by supporting Jim McIntire (D), the WFSE-endorsed candidate for state Treasurer. Join State Senator Karen Fraser, State Representatives Brendan Williams and Sam Hunt, former State Senator Marc Gaspard, former Speaker of the House Joe King, former State Treasurer Dan Grimm, former State Rep. Jeff Gombosky and Melissa Gombosky, Mark Brown, Dean and Sharon Foster, Denny and Paula Heck, Bev Hermanson, and “The Other” Mike Murphy for a reception in support of Jim's campaign. The party will be at the home of Denny and Paula Heck, 2921 Cloverfield Dr SE, Olympia, WA, 98501. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres prepared by world famous chef Xinh Dwelley. Suggestion Donations: Supporter $35 - Friend $100 -Leader $250 - or whatever you can afford. RSVP to andrew@jimmcintire.com or 253-732-9434.

John Burbank BBQ & Volunteer Day Oct. 18th

John Burbank (D-36), WFSE-endorsed candidate for State Representative, is hosting a BBQ on Oct. 18th to celebrate his "campaign for public service." The BBQ will be preceded by a doorbell blitz in support of Obama, Gregoire, Goldmark and Burbank. The day will start at the Phinney Neighborhood Association (Brick Building in the lower parking lot) from 9:00-11:30 am to collate literature from the 36th District Democrats. From there volunteers and precinct committee officers will go door-to-door to get out the vote for 36th District endorsed Democratic candidates. At 5:30 pm supporters will meet back at Phinney Neighborhood Association (Blue Building Room 7) for the BBQ! Suggested Donation: $25-$50-$100 or free if you volunteer to Get Out The Vote during the day. The address for the Phinney Neighborhood Association is 6532 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle, WA, 98103. Please RSVP to Brittany White at brittanykaywhite@gmail.com, or 206.406.6661.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008