Rob McKenna’s campaign for governor started with encouraging overtures to the press. Campaign manager Randy Pepple proposed a weekly Friday morning meeting at McKenna’s offices, but with most reporters based in Seattle, a standing Friday morning meeting in Bellevue was difficult to arrange.
Then last month, the campaign announced a weekly teleconference with McKenna himself every Tuesday, and another teleconference each Friday with McKenna’s staff. After just three weeks, that too, has been cancelled. Communications director Charles McCray wrote that the call “does not seem to be generating enough interest from our media list or news for your readers/viewers to make them worthwhile to continue given the tight schedule in the remaining 50 days.”
The reality is, there was plenty of interest. The last teleconference had at least a half-dozen reporters reporters from Seattle to Spokane, including newspaper and broadcast reporters and the Associated Press. The problem may have been, that McKenna wasn’t driving the agenda. In the first teleconference, reporters asked about Inslee’s demand that McKenna release his tax returns—hardly an issue McKenna cared to address. In another teleconference, the campaign had technical problems, and left reporters talking to themselves for 20 minutes. And the third teleconference was cancelled, on the same morning that a new KING 5 poll showed Inslee in the lead.
Perhaps with best of intentions, the McKenna campaign has had a frustrating time in its attempt to shape coverage and reach out to reporters. It’ll be worth watching to see if in the final weeks of the campaign, McKenna re-doubles his efforts, or pulls back further.
The Seattle City Club hosted two debates Tuesday. Attorney General candidates Reagan Dunn (R) and Bob Ferguson (D) are in a “heated race,” but Q13Fox.com said they agree on two issues: both “support gay marriage and both oppose pot legalization.” Publicola was there too.
At the Secretary of State debate, KUOW said the candidates differed most on the issue of voter registration.
Watch both debates on TVW.
Boeing and SPEEA, the union representing engineers and technicians, aren’t any closer to hammering out a new labor contract. On Tuesday, Boeing blamed SPEEA for blowing up talks. A work slow-down could be next, according to a Wall Street Journal piece cited by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Speaking of Boeing, Washington gridlock could threaten the company’s KC-46 tanker program. If the White House and Congress can’t agree on a new budget deal by the end of the year, mandatory spending cuts would hit a wide range of Pentagon programs, including the tanker. The Herald’s Aerospace blog has more.
KING 5’s Allen Schauffler looked at medical marijuana advocates who oppose the legalization measure (I-502) on this year’s ballot.
And KING 5’s Drew Mikkelsen visited with Sharon Hanek, the candidate for state Treasurer who won a spot on the ballot through a write-in campaign. The Olympian profiled Hanek earlier this week.
Today on the trail
GOP Senate candidate Michael Baumgartner is holding a fundraiser in Tacoma at the Bargreen Ellingson Test Kitchen (5:30-7:00 p.m.).
From 7:00-9:00 p.m. there is a fundraiser for Washington United for Marriage at the Urban Light Studio in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. Washington United for Marriage is backing Referendum 74.
Although not a campaign event, the state unemployment numbers for August will be announced later Wednesday morning.
Russ Walker is managing editor of king5.com. Michael Cate is producer and Robert Mak is host of KING 5 News Up Front, airing Sundays at 9:30 am on KING-TV.