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Talk about dirty politics! Are Republicans playing the ‘Segway’ card in bid to unseat Sen. Jim Kastama?

Post by Joe Turner on Aug. 18, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
August 18, 2008 2:51 pm

It’s called “push-polling,” a series of questions designed to badmouth a candidate and help devise a strategy to defeat him or her.


You know, it’s like: “Would you vote for Joe Turner is you knew he tortured kittens and other little furry animals?”


If enough people answer “Yes,” then there’s bound to be a hit piece in the mail, telling prospective voters about my alleged treatment of Gizmo and Jules. (Those are my cats.)



Incumbent state Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, says he was the recipient of one such call Sunday night. But the pollster apparently didn’t realize he was interviewing the subject of the poll. He’s asked to speak to “James” Kastama.” That’s a dead give-away.


Kastama jotted a few of them down and sent me an e-mail.


Q: "How would the following influence your vote if you knew this about Jim Kastama:"



1. He allowed sex offenders to be released into your community?


2. He voted against tough measures to keep criminals locked up?



3. He voted against health care for women and children?



4. He voted against low cost health care for businesses?



5. He voted against abstinence education?



6. He rides an expensive scooter called the Segway?


Q: Knowing this would you still vote the same way?


(Kastama said he never let on that HE was Sen. Kastama, and answered all the questions with “I know Jim. He would never do that!”)


Most of the question are your standard fare. The truth doesn’t really matter. I haven’t researched each of the allegations posed by the pollster, but I know Kastama is a huge supporter of abstinence education, enough to drive some of his more liberal Democratic colleagues crazy.


But where the heck did that Segway question come from?



Kastama readily confessed that he does use the Segway (a kind of scooter) to doorbell. He picked up a used one for the 2004 election cycle for $2,700. That’s used. It’s good for about 20 miles on a charge and helps him scoot past the homes with no registered voters.


“It’s far more efficient than walking,” Kastama said this afternoon.


The timing of the poll was odd, only two nights before the primary election — a meaningless election for Kastama since it’s just him and Republican Michele Smith. Both automatically advance to the general election.


He suspects it was just intended to undermine him and drum up more votes for Smith. If she can keep the numbers fairly close, it will make it easier for her to raise money. If she’s too far behind, forget it.


“Everything’s about trying to get the primary numbers up,” he said, “to see which races are competitive and which ones aren’t.”


He’s heard that he’s third on the list of GOP targets this election cycle, he said. That’s right after Sens. Marilyn Rasmussen, D-Eatonville, and Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island.


(I’ve sent an e-mail to a Republican election operative with questions about the poll, but doubt that I’ll hear back anytime soon.)


More on the Segway: “I use this in parades and set it up for the kids to try it out. There hasn’t been a driveway yet that I can’t make it up.”


And the survey: “It’s a last-minute hit piece. The real motive is just to slam to politician that they’re talking about.”


I can’t wait to see the hit piece about the Segway.


Here’s the e-mail Kastama sent me last night:


Joe,



I was just push-polled this evening about my election by telephone. It appears as though they had no idea they were talking to the actual person identified in the poll. As you can see, this is a last ditch hit piece before the primary —with no chance for me to respond. Although they did not say who funded this, you may want to ask the state Republicans, or my opponent.



Here’s just a few of the questions:



Q: "If the election was held today, who would you vote for Jim Kastama or Michele Smith?"



Q: "How would the following influence your vote if you knew this about Jim Kastama:"



1. He allowed sex offenders to be released into your community?


2. He voted against tough measures to keep criminals locked up?



3. He voted against health care for women and children?



4. He voted against low cost health care for businesses?



5. He voted against abstinence education?



6. He rides an expensive scooter called the Segway? used for 2,700 batteries replace evey 4 years



Q: Knowing this would you still vote the same way?



Joe, I think the dirt is just starting in my race. You can reach me at… I’d gladly talk to you about this.



Thanks,



Jim Kastama

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