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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

June 25, 2012 at 6:10 AM

Monday briefing: gubernatorial arena enthusiam; gubernatorial debates; gubernatorial polls

Good Morning:
You know who has been relatively quiet about the proposed new basketball and hockey arena? Candidates for Washington governor.
Republican Rob McKenna appeared at the June 14 rally designed to show community support for the arena. He is pictured below at the rally with former Seattle SuperSonic Shawn Kemp. McKenna tweeted:”There is no red or blue in Seattle today — just green & gold!”
His appearance prompts an interesting political question.
Does McKenna support the arena plan as presented? His campaign manager, Randy Pepple, explained: “We had a little opening on the schedule. He wanted to go show support for getting a team back in town.”
McKenna, Pepple said, leaves the details and vetting of specific questions about siting, traffic and all the rest to the local governments that have to make a final decision about whether to proceed.
Democrat Jay Inslee did not appear at the rally. He was in Clallam County that day. His communications director, Sterling Clifford, said: “We’d all love to have basketball in Seattle, but it is up to the city and county to protect the taxpayers and job sectors in the area.”
The debate about gubernatorial debates continues apace. On fine points and bigger ones.
The latest sparks involve the June 27 luncheon forum before Seattle Rotary. The McKenna camp thought the candidates would appear on stage side by side, not in a formal debate, but in a two-candidate, question-and-answer session.
The Inslee campaign wanted separate-but-equal time, in other words, each candidate on stage for a causal question-and-answer session for 15 minutes. Separately.
Clifford says: “There is tremendous value in having the candidates appear individually to speak on a variety of topics.”
The broader “debate” debate is about the timing and number of them between now and Election Day. The McKenna folks want Inslee to say yes or no to 13 debates that have been proposed.
The Inslee team is still deciding, but Clifford predicted there will be at least three debates before major Seattle television audiences and perhaps one in Vancouver.
If both sides seem a little edgy these days, maybe it is because the gubernatorial contest is close — and getting closer. More than four months out, polls can be all over the place and meaningless. What is interesting now, though, is a third poll in two weeks shows the gubernatorial contest essentially tied.

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