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Petri Dish
March 22  |  By Jerry Cornfield
A man who helped Democrat Jerry Brown become California's governor in 2010 has been tapped by Democrat Jay Inslee to help him win the Washington governor's race this fall.

Sterling Clifford, who served as Brown's spokesman in the 2010 campaign, is expected to join the Inslee team next month. He is currently working for the firm of Democratic consultant Joe Trippi.

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March 21  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Updated Thurs. March 22, 2012:

The number of state senators receiving per diem checks for the first week of special session is dropping.

On Wednesday, I wrote about the senators who would be getting "session subsistence" checks for the entire week.

Within hours, the content of the list began to change. Some senators took action and told the accounting office to not send them a check. Others put in for fewer than seven days.

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March 20  |  By Jerry Cornfield
An ex-military man from Mukilteo is gearing up to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen.

Republican Dan Matthews, a self-described social and fiscal conservative, will kick off his campaign Wednesday with a caravan through six cities in the 2nd Congressional District.

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March 16  |  By Jerry Cornfield
And now for something completely different: Gov. Chris Gregoire's brackets for the NCAA Tournament.

Or at least what's left of them.

Thursday, she suffered several setbacks. In the South region, for example, she picked South Dakota State and UNLV to match up in the Round of 32 and neither advanced.

Her pick to win it all is Virginia, which begins tourney play this morning.

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March 15  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The pending resignation of U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee from Congress is causing an unanticipated headache for state election officials.

They've got to decide how long to leave his 1st Congressional District seat vacant.

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March 15  |  By Jerry Cornfield
A fuming Gov. Chris Gregoire vowed today to begin vetoing bills unless lawmakers settle their differences and deliver her a supplemental budget.

“My frustration level is as high as it gets,” she told reporters. “If I don't get a budget…I am going to start trickling out vetoes.”

She issued her threat after signing six bills and putting two dozen others on hold.

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March 14  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Those wanting to repeal the state's new same-sex marriage law can start signing petitions Thursday in hopes of putting the question before voters in November.

Petitions for Referendum 74 are getting printed today and will be distributed around the state starting tomorrow, said Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington and a leader in the coalition pushing for the law's repeal.

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March 13  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Guy Palumbo, the owner of Roscoe's Ranch boarding facility for dogs, is off to a quick start in fund raising for his campaign to unseat state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell.

And Monday the 38-year-old Palumbo launched his candidate web site and threw a light jab at the veteran lawmaker.

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March 12  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna hauled in $250,000 for his gubernatorial campaign in the three-day thaw in fundraising between the regular and special sessions of the Legislature.

The cash infusion pushes McKenna's total to right around $4 million – a sum on which he will be stuck for awhile.

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March 9  |  Jerry Cornfield
A special session to deal with a state budget deficit will begin at noon Monday.

Gov. Chris Gregoire made the announcement late Thursday, a few minutes before tired and frustrated lawmakers concluded their 2012 session.

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March 8  |  Jerry Cornfield
As I reported today, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are lining up to make one final play at pushing through a budget.

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March 6  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Don't write a political obituary for Democratic U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio quite yet.

Kucinich lost tonight to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a fellow liberal Democrat, in a much-watched primary contest. But Kucinich advisers are making no attempt to stifle rumors of the veteran congressman moving to another state like Washington and running for office.

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March 6  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Gov. Chris Gregoire said today she's not giving up on lawmakers reaching agreement on a budget in time to adjourn on schedule Thursday.

Though she made clear that time is running out before a special session can't be avoided.

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March 5  |  By Jerry Cornfield
b>Updated at 3:15 p.m.

Turns out Democrats in the House and Senate have not reached any budget deals as I reported earlier.

Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, whom I attributed the information, told me that I missed a nuance in his comments.

“I said ‘I think' we have an agreement,” he told me this afternoon.

Moments before speaking with him, House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, said, “Agreement is definitely too strong a word.”

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March 3  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The state Senate approved a Republican-crafted budget early Saturday but it's not clear whether it will even get a hearing in the House.

As expected, the bill passed on a 25-24 margin. Twenty-two Republicans and three moderate Democrats joined forces to approve the spending plan at 12:45 a.m.

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March 2  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Here are excerpts of statements issued by Democratic lawmakers as the political drama unfolded Friday. Republican lawmakers planned to put out statements when all the votes had been taken.

Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina:

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March 2  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Elizabeth Santorum, the 20-year-old daughter of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, will drop by an Everett eatery today to meet with supporters of her father's candidacy.

She is scheduled to be at Shawn O'Donnell's American Grill and Irish Pub, 122 128th St. SE in Everett at 2:45 p.m., according to information from her father's campaign.

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March 2  |  By Jerry Cornfield
U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks dropped a small bombshell this morning with the announcement that he will retire at the end of his term rather than run for re-election.

The 71-year-old Belfair resident is in his 18th term in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a lock to win number 19 this fall.

Instead, as he noted in a statement, he and his wife Suzie “have made the decision to change gears and enjoy life at a different pace."

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February 29  |  Jerry Cornfield
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna will attend a Thursday night fund raiser for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But the appearance should not be viewed as an endorsement.

That's the word from McKenna's campaign spokesman Charles McCray III.

Romney supporters invited the attorney general to the event at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue and he accepted the invitation, McCray explained Wednesday.

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February 29  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is showing no signs of ending his bid for president. Instead, he's out to win Washington's Republican caucuses this Saturday.

Today his campaign plans to begin airing television ads throughout the state. On Friday, he is returning to Washington and will be holding rallies on both sides of the state.

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February 27  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Majority Democrats in the state Senate will unveil their operating budget proposal Tuesday morning and it doesn't look like Republicans are quite ready to attach their name to any of it.

A news conference is planned at 10:30 a.m. to discuss details of the plan for rebalancing the current budget that runs through mid-2013. A proposed capital budget is also due out Tuesday.

According to the Senate Democratic Caucus:

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February 27  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did a bit of name-dropping today as he looks to build up steam heading into this Saturday's caucuses.

He announced his “Grassroots Leadership Team” which is essentially a list of endorsements from Republicans across the state.

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February 27  |  By JerryCornfield
The experience in New York City may provide insight on what might happen if Washington begins evaluating teachers and ties their pay to the academic achievements of their students.

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February 23  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is no longer exploring a run for Secretary of State.

He's in the race.

Nickels declared his intentions Monday to the 1,100 Democrats attending the state party's annual Crab Feed in Lacey. Today he's cranking up the campaign and cranking out the public statements.

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February 22  |  By Jerry Cornfield
A new survey released today shows the race for governor in Washington is as tight as expected.

Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna are knotted at 42 percent apiece in the phone survey of 1,264 voters from Feb. 16-19 by the Public Policy Polling. The margin of

error for the survey, which was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization, is plus or minus 2.76 percent.

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February 21  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will be in Everett Friday night to complete a two-day swing through Washington before the upcoming Republican Party caucuses.

Gingrich will hold a rally at 7 p.m. inside the Historic Everett Theater at 2911 Colby Ave., according to information released today by a campaign official.

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February 20  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will be in Snohomish County on Friday as part of a two-day swing through Washington before the Republican Party caucuses March 3.

Gingrich intends to hold events in Eastern Washington on Thursday and at several locations in the Puget Sound region on Friday, according to Lew Moore, Gingrich's caucus director in Washington.

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February 20  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Republican John Koster is piling up the endorsements in his bid for Congress.

Today Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas who ran for president in 2008, announced his support of Koster in the contest for the 1st Congressional District.

Huckabee said in a statement:

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February 20  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Today is the 43rd day of the 2012 Legislative session and it promises to be a loud one at the Capitol.

Upwards of 1,000 members of the Service Employees International Union Local 925 are expected for a 1 p.m. rally at the Tivoli Fountain, an event that will highlight a day of lobbying by the powerful statewide union.

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February 15  |  Jerry Cornfield
Rick Desimone, a familiar name in Washington political circles for two decades, announced today he is starting his own consulting business.

Desimone, a former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, is leaving his job as executive vice president with McBee Strategic to launch Desimone Consulting. He left Murray's employ in 2007 to join the lobbying firm.

In an email, he told friends:

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