Politics

Political news

As the president delivered the final State of the Union address of his term before a looming re-election battle, he looked out at a sea of angry and skeptical Republicans who had fought him on budgets, government shutdowns, and whether or not to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

And what did President Bill Clinton do in 1996?

He delivered his "the era of big government is over" speech, which The Washington Post summed up this way: "Clinton Embraced GOP Themes in Setting Agenda."

The Mayor of Oakridge, Oregon and three city councilors survived a recall election Tuesday. A financial crisis created turmoil at recent council meetings.

Mayor Don Hampton and councilors Rayetta Clark, Amy Kordosky, and Glenn Fortune are all still in office. But, for the mayor and councilor Fortune, the margin was narrow. Mayor Hampton attributes that to the widespread dissatisfaction people feel with government these days. Hampton says he's heard of the threat of recall used recently in other Oregon communities.

The state's election watchdog has proposed a fine against the Washington State Republican Party for campaign finance violations, including the failure to timely report $500,000 in contributions.

Kin Cheung / AP

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wants some change in Washington D.C. and the best way to get it, he says, is by boycotting donations to political campaigns. In an open letter sent to Starbucks on Monday, he urged other company heads to withholding campaign contribution until President Obama and Congress solve the nation’s financial woes.  

Chris Lehman

SALEM, Ore. - Conservative Oregon initiative activist Bill Sizemore will serve 30 days in jail. The former Republican nominee for governor pled guilty Thursday to three counts of tax evasion.

Bill Sizemore was best known for his anti-tax initiatives. Now, it's a failure to file his state taxes over the course of three years that's sending him to jail.

He was set to go on trial next week. As part of the plea deal, Sizemore will serve 30 days in the Marion County jail. That's followed by three years of supervised probation, plus 100 hours of community service.

Southern Poverty Law Center

A national conference in Spokane focuses on something a lot of people fear is dying out: civility in American politics. Many see the January shooting in Tuscon as just one sign that the nation's civic discourse has been replaced with mudslinging, threats, and even violence.

Spokane itself was shaken by backpack bomb discovered along the route of a Martin Luther King Day parade.

But consider this: Incivility can sometimes play a positive role in democracy, at least according to some experts.

Kirby Wilbur is the new Republican Party chairman in Washington, unseating former state lawmaker Luke Esser over the weekend in a party's leadership vote. The former KVI talk radio host beat Esser by a vote of 69 to 36, with seven votes for Puyallup Republican Bill Rennie, according to The Seattle Times' Jim Bruener.

Despite GOP gains in the state, Wilbur told the Times the party's advances should have been bigger

State lawmakers are considering tighter restrictions on political action committees, or PAC's. The proposal stems from the case of a Seattle-based Democratic political firm now being sued by the Attorney General for campaign finance violations. 

The FBI says a Palm Springs, Calif., man accused of making threatening, obscene phone calls to the office of U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott  last month told authorities he never intended to hurt anyone.

Washington's major political parties are indicating they'll press on with their battle to overturn the state's top-two primary. This despite yet another court ruling Tuesday upholding the voter-approved primary system.

A federal district judge in Seattle ruled voters are not confused when they see the words "prefers Republican party" or "prefers Democratic party" next to a candidate’s name on the ballot. 

State lawmakers must embrace change and "be bold." That was Governor Chris Gregoire's chief message Tuesday in her State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature. 

The first day of the Washington Legislature included an intra-party drama on the floor of the state senate. It happened during opening ceremonies Monday when an incumbent Democratic Senator tried to block a new senator from being sworn in. 

AP

The UW boosts its political voice in Olympia; ferry rate increases get the AG's go-ahead; and Thurston County puts the brakes on wood energy projects.

UW Seeks to Raise Political Voice Ahead of Session

The University of Washington is hoping to flex more political muscle with state lawmakers. The school's alumni group is hiring top lobbyists from both parties to advocate for higher education when the legislative session begins next month. 

US Census

There were celebrations in Olympia when news broke Tuesday that Washington state will get an additional member of Congress as a result of the 2010 Census. 

Courtesy Washington Secretary of State's Office

On Tuesday, the U.S. Census releases the first numbers from the 2010 population count. The first round of data will be used to reallocate Congressional seats among the states.

Top line numbers will be released tomorrow for the nation as a whole and for individual states. That’s all the info you need to redistribute proportionally the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

King County Budget
King County Television

The King County Council has voted for a lean 2011 budget that slashes 300 positions, many in law enforcement. Even some council members acknowledge it could hurt public safety.

AP

Democrat Patty Murray has defeated Republican challenger Dino Rossi after a third day of vote tallying in their closely fought race for the U.S. Senate. In capturing her fourth term, Murray adds to the Democrats' slight cushion in the Senate after Republicans made gains there Tuesday while also seizing control of the House. 

AP

Democrat Patty Murray has slightly expanded her lead over Republican Dino Rossi in Washington's too-close-to-call U-S Senate Race. Democrats remain confident she will ultimately prevail in her re-election bid.

AP photo

Election lawyers are on stand-by in Washington in the event of a super-close U-S Senate race. Polls show Republican challenger Dino Rossi neck-and-neck with incumbent Democrat Patty Murray.

Rossi knows a thing or two about close elections. He was the Republican candidate in 2004 when Washington’s gubernatorial race ended up in court. He ultimately lost by a mere 133-votes after an election contest trial. Rossi clearly hopes the lawyers aren’t needed like they were in 2004.

AP photo.

There'll be a lot of buzz today about the latest poll on the Senate race between Dino Rossi and incumbent Patty Murray.  The KCTS 9 - KPLU - Washington Poll shows a narrowing lead for Murray, from 8% two weeks ago to 4.3% this week. Still, among likely voters, Murray is up 6%. It all points to a race that might not be decided election night, and perhaps for weeks to come.

Liam Moriarty/KPLU photo.

The buzz from Everett to Bellingham is the snub John Koster delivered to the folks preparing for his debate with Congressman Rick Larsen.  Republican (and Tea Party endorsed) Koster pulled out of the KCTS 9 sponsored debate Wednesday, the day before the taping in Seattle. The reason? Koster claims panelist Jerry Cornfield of The Herald of Everett was biased against him.

How's this for a guest list? President Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Courtesy Koster and Larsen campaigns.

Ten years ago, Democrat Rick Larsen and Republican John Koster battled for an open seat in Washington's Second Congressional District. Larsen won that election and since then he's represented the district that runs from about the King- Snohomish County line to the Canadian border. This year, Koster - a Snohomish County Councilmemeber - is back for another shot at the seat.

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