UPDATED: Includes comment from Washington State Democrats
Judging by a new mailer hitting Washington households, the Washington State Democratic Party has developed quite a disdain for those Olympia politicians.
The mailer attacking Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna refers pejoratively to “Olympia” or “Olympia politician” seven times. It hits McKenna, the two-term Attorney General, for increasing his office budget, backing a personal pay increase and endorsing a complex tax swap to aid state funding of schools, among other alleged sins. “Rob McKenna, NOT a new direction. Just another Olympia politician,” the mailer says.
The mailer never mentions McKenna is a Republican. Or that Democrats have dominated Olympia for decades, holding the governor’s office since 1985 and legislative majorities more often than not during that period. (The party currently holds a 56-42 edge in the state House and a 27-22 margin in the Senate.)
The attack is part of the Democrats’ strategy to weaken McKenna’s argument that he’s the change agent in the governor’s race, and to position Democrat Jay Inslee, the former eight-term Congressman, as the fresh-faced outsider.
With polls showing voters not so happy about the direction of Olympia, the effort makes narrow political sense, even if the top Olympia politicians – Gov. Chris Gregoire, House Speaker Frank Chopp, and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown – are Democrats. What does the Democratic mailer say about how they’ve run the show in the Capitol?
Washington State Democratic Party spokesman Benton Strong said: “Rob McKenna is the candidate that has been in Olympia for the last seven years. He asked for six increases in his office budget, lobbied to increase his own salary, and it’s Rob McKenna who has proposed what amounts to a paper shift instead of a real plan to increase education funding.”