Gov. Chris Gregoire’s lead over Dino Rossi was down to a little more than 2 percent late this afternoon, according to the Secretary of State’s Web site.
The latest results show Gregoire with 48.85 percent, and Rossi with 46.14 percent statewide.
The Rossi campaign put out a press release today saying that Rossi’s percentage has improved in all but three of the 25 counties where ballots have been counted since midnight on election night.
Five counties — including Spokane and Clark — have gone from the Gregoire to Rossi column.
Rossi’s camp sees this as proof that “the more voters see Dino and hear his message, the more they like.”
Voters who mailed their ballots early had not seen much Rossi advertising, campaign manager Afton Swift said, but Gregoire ads had been airing for more than a month.
“Not surprisingly, Dino trailed in early voting.”
I dropped in at the Maple Valley Rotary meeting this morning to hear Rossi, and he told the crowd that Gregoire “has got problems.”
Rossi blasted Gregoire on the budget, transportation, and public safety.
He said he will balance the budget without raising taxes, and he will fund major transportation projects — without relying on declining gas tax revenue.
And he referred to Gregoire’s “less than gracious” advertising, telling the crowd, “If half the things they were saying about me were true, I wouldn’t vote for myself.”
On the other side, the state Democratic Party put out a statement today calling Rossi’s primary election “disappointing,” and linking Rossi to President Bush and the Texas men who helped fund the “Swift Boat” attacks against John Kerry.
Click ahead for both statements.
August 22, 2008
To: Interested Parties
From: Afton Swift, Dino Rossi Campaign Manager
Re: Washington’s Top Two Primary results
Nobody had more than a guess as to what might happen in Washington’s new August Top Two Primary. We knew that for the last several decades, Democratic candidates for Governor did better in the primaries than they did in the general election. As you remember Dino Rossi got 34% of the 2004 primary vote. I write this memo to dispel any misconceptions being spread by the other side.
Dino Rossi is now well-positioned for the general election campaign. The Gregoire campaign and its allies mounted an all-out effort to win the primary by a commanding margin. Evergreen Progress, a pro-Gregoire PAC, began its TV attack ads on June 27th, more than a month before voters received their ballots in the mail. The Gregoire campaign itself aired its first TV ad on July 21st, more than a week before voting began.
The Change our Government group was also running anti-Gregoire TV advertising but at about half the total volume of ads of Evergreen Progress. The Rossi campaign chose not to fully match the Gregoire team’s efforts to focus more resources on the general election.
Our first TV ad did not air until July 29th, about two days before most voters received their ballots. Most voters had not seen Dino Rossi, himself, for years before. By that time, Evergreen Progress and the Gregoire campaign had already aired more than 3,500 ads, vs. less than 800 ads from Change Our Government.
So from July 29 on, finally, voters could compare the characterization of Dino Rossi presented by Gregoire and her allies to the Dino Rossi they could actually see and hear for themselves.
The voters who mailed their ballots early saw very little Rossi advertising, but, again, had seen more than a month of negative campaigning from Evergreen Progress, and more than a week of ads from the Gregoire campaign. Not surprisingly Dino trailed in early voting.
As voters saw Dino, our vote totals improved. The proof is in the later vote counts.
So far, 25 counties have counted ballots since midnight on election night. Our percentage in those counts has improved over election night returns in all but 3 counties.
So far since election night 5 counties – Asotin, Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania and Spokane – have switched from Gregoire to Rossi. The later deciders, who saw and heard from both campaigns, are breaking Dino’s way. We expect this trend to continue as more votes are counted and the larger counties catch up.
The lesson to be learned from this election: the more voters see Dino and hear his message, the more they like. We have two and a half months left in this campaign, and we have the financial resources we need to communicate with the voters. The Rossi campaign has every reason to be optimistic about the November election.
(Note: I took out the breakdown by county that Rossi’s people put out because it wasn’t formatting right on our blog software.)
And one more:
Thursday, August 21, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelly Steele
Rossi Taps More Bush, "Swift Boat" Money Following Disappointing Primary Finish
Wealthy, right-wing Texans and top Bush supporters who funded infamous, sleazy attack ads opening their wallets for Rossi
SEATTLE – After a disappointing performance in a primary election in which he enjoyed substantial electoral advantages, Republican Dino Rossi – the hand-picked candidate of George W. Bush, Karl Rove and DC Republicans – is poised to get another infusion of cash from wealthy Texas oil tycoons, Bush loyalists and top funders of the infamously slanderous 2004 "Swift Boat attacks" against John Kerry. Today, the Seattle P-I reported the Republican Governor’s Association is poised to pour more of its $20 million bankroll towards its efforts to elect Rossi.
Already, Rossi has pocketed thousands of dollars from the top two "Swift Boat" funders, as well as contributions from their spouses. Bob Perry of Houston, TX, the CEO of Perry Homes, and oil and chemical tycoon, Harold Simmons of Dallas, contributed the maximum amount possible to Rossi at a July fundraiser in Texas, hosted by Governor Rick Perry, the chair of the RGA. Bob Perry and Harold Simmons have also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican Governors Association – which has already spent nearly $400,000 this cycle to elect Rossi.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the RGA’s efforts to solicit major contributions from the wealthy, right-wing conservatives who funded the 2004 Swift Boat attack ads to use in their efforts to elect Republican governors, of which they’ve identified Rossi as a top priority.
"Rather, the pitch is aimed at individuals, including many top contributors to the controversial Swift Boat group that targeted Sen. Kerry. Texas developer Bob Perry, the largest financial backer of the Swift Boat group, also is the largest individual donor to the governors group, at $250,000. Carl Lindner, a retired insurance executive in Ohio and another top Swift Boat financier, has contributed $100,000 to the governors’ fund. The campaign-finance lawyer for the Swift Boat group in 2004 now serves the same role for the governors association. The McCain campaign and the individual contributors all declined to comment on their involvement." [WSJ, 7/03/08]
The RGA’s largesse in 2008 for Rossi is also attributable to the substantial money raised by George Bush, who has been instrumental in helping the RGA set fundraising records this cycle .
"Republican Dino Rossi was hand-picked by George Bush to run for governor and is now vacuuming up campaign cash from the same Bush-backing special interests who brought Americans high gas prices, weaker environmental protections and the dirtiest campaign ads in modern political history," said Kelly Steele, spokesman for the Washington State Democratic Party. "Rossi has once again shown himself to be a George Bush Republican who Washingtonians simply can’t trust with our future."
For more information on the Real Rossi, visit www.therealdinorossi2008.com .
Rossi Turns to Wealthy Bush Donors from Texas to Prop Up His Campaign
The Republican Governors Association Looks to Wealthy, Right-Wing Texas Donors for Cash to Bail out Rossi’s Campaign
Ø "Gov. Rick Perry has tapped big-money Texas donors, some with interests before the state, for contributions to the Republican Governors Association since he became chairman. Of the $7.1 million the group raised since January, one fourth of it came from Texas. In the quarter before Mr. Perry became chairman, Texas interests accounted for only 8 percent. " [The Dallas Morning News, 4/16/2008]
Ø "The governor’s largest political contributor, Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, gave the GOP group $250,000 in the latest period. The homebuilder and the Texas governor are not related. Another long-time Perry political backer, East Texas poultry executive Lonnie ‘Bo’ Pilgrim, whose chicken-processing operations fall under state environmental regulations, gave the group $100,000. Others giving large sums include $50,000 from Williams Brothers Construction and $25,000 from Dannenbaum Engineering, both highway contractors with contracts to help build the $145 billion toll-road system pushed by Mr. Perry. Houston auto dealer Thomas Friedkin, a Perry appointee to the Parks and Wildlife Commission, contributed $150,000 through Friedkin Business Services." [The Dallas Morning News, 4/16/2008]
Already in 2008, the RGA has contributed nearly $400,000 to get Rossi elected – with more likely on the way:
Ø "The Republican Governors Association hinted Wednesday that it would spend more of its $20 million war chest in Washington to help Dino Rossi." [Seattle PI, 8/21/2008]
Texas Swift Boat Donors are also top Contributors to the RGA and Rossi
Ø "Rather, the pitch is aimed at individuals, including many top contributors to the controversial Swift Boat group that targeted Sen. Kerry. Texas developer Bob Perry, the largest financial backer of the Swift Boat group, also is the largest individual donor to the governors group, at $250,000. Carl Lindner, a retired insurance executive in Ohio and another top Swift Boat financier, has contributed $100,000 to the governors’ fund. The campaign-finance lawyer for the Swift Boat group in 2004 now serves the same role for the governors association. The McCain campaign and the individual contributors all declined to comment on their involvement." [WSJ, 7/03/08]
Ø Harold Simmons, CEO of the Contran Corporation, and the second largest contributor to the 2004 Swift Boat attack ads, contributed $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association. [Campaignmoney.com]
Perry and Simmons were the Top Two Contributors to the 2004 Swift Boat Attack Ads against John Kerry.
Harold Simmons, Dallas, TX – $2,000,000 to Swift Boat Vets and POW’s for Truth [Campaignmoney.com]
Ø "In filings with the Federal Election Commission last week, officials of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth disclosed two $1-million donations from Harold Simmons, a billionaire chemical and waste industry magnate, and another $1 million from oilman T. Boone Pickens. Both base their corporate empires in the Dallas area." [LA Times, 10/5/2004]
Bob Perry, Houston, TX – $4,000,000 to Swift Boat Vets and POW’s for Truth [CampaignMoney.com]
Ø "The group’s co-founder, John O’Neill, called on him [Perry] in his office in May 2004 and told him that he had enlisted many of the 23 Swift Boat officers who’d served in Vietnam at the same time Kerry had and 3 out of the 5 commanders who were on the river with Kerry the day he earned his Bronze Star. O’Neill cited Kerry’s 1971 congressional testimony that he had heard of soldiers in Vietnam who had "razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan" and committed "war crimes … on a day-to-day basis," which O’Neill said falsely implicated the men with whom Kerry had served. O’Neill said that he and the other members of his group were looking to clear their names and bring to public attention Kerry’s testimony. At the time, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was struggling to support itself and virtually unknown. O’Neill asked for $100,000, which Perry promptly gave him. [Texas Monthly, 3/24/2007]
Perry and Simmons are Top Bush Funders with Close Connections to Karl Rove
Ø "White House senior adviser Karl Rove told Fox television’s Brit Hume this week that he’s known Perry for 25 years, and he was one of the few wealthy Texans ‘willing to write checks to support Republican candidates.’" [Associated Press, 8/27/2004]
Ø “The Houston-based Perry owns Perry Homes, one of the state’s largest homebuilders with reported revenues of $420 million in 2002. While an active political donor since the mid-1980′s, over the past three years Perry has eclipsed the giving of Texas’ elite money men and positioned himself as the largest single political donor in Texas giving candidates and committees more than $5.2 million since 2000. Perry worked with Karl Rove as early as 1986 when Perry served as Campaign Treasurer for Republican gubernatorial candidate William Clements and Rove served as a campaign consultant and fundraiser. [Salon.com 8/19/2004]
Ø "Dallas financier Harold Simmons gave $100,000 to the (2004 Bush) inauguration. Mr. Simmons has benefited from administration tax cuts and is seeking to bury millions of cubic feet of radioactive waste from federal nuclear weapons facilities at a site in West Texas." [The Dallas Morning News, 1/18/2005]
Rossi Targeted Bush’s Swift Boat Donors for Individual Contributions as Well
Rossi received maximum contributions from Houston home builder Bob Perry and business tycoon, Harold Simmons on his July fundraising trip to Texas organized by the Republican Governor’s Association.
Ø "Dino Rossi will be in Houston tonight for his second out-of-state fundraiser in less than a week. The Republican gubernatorial candidate will be feted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, Rossi spokeswoman Jill Strait confirmed." [Seattle Times, 7/14/2008]
Ø Harold Simmons and his wife contributed a total of $3,400 to Rossi on 7/16/08. [www.pdc.wa.gov]
Ø Bob Perry and his wife contributed a total of $6,400 to Rossi on 7/16/08. [www.pdc.wa.gov]
Texan’s Simmons and Perry, the "Real People Donors" Dino Rossi doesn’t want you to know about:
Harold Simmons, CEO, Contran
Simmons Violates Campaign Finance Laws
Ø Harold C. Simmons, a Texas financier, made contributions totaling $69,926 in 1988 and $26,250 in 1989. He agreed to pay $19,800, the largest penalty. [New York Times, 3/18/1993]
Ø "As one of Dallas’ feared corporate raiders in the 1970s and ’80s, Harold Simmons used his razor-sharp intellect to accumulate companies at good prices, even when the companies didn’t want to be acquired. The result was a $4 billion empire and a reputation between rebel and ruthless. In recent years, he’s disowned two of his daughters in a public squabble over their trust money and given millions of dollars to conservative causes, such as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group that helped defeat John Kerry for president." [The Dallas Morning News, 6/24/2007]
"Simmons Seemingly Greased Every Palm in the Statehouse"
Ø "In what could potentially be the quid pro quo atom bomb of the millennium, plans for a West Texas toxic-waste dump proposed by billionaire and all-star GOP benefactor Harold Simmons are now before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality but are already taking heavy flak from the Lone Star Sierra Club. Simmons seemingly greased every palm in the statehouse to smooth his radioactive plans, with his company, Waste Control Specialists, giving more than $2 million in political cash since 2001 while spending $2.8 million on 63 lobby contracts, according to Texans for Public Justice." [The Austin Chronicle, 12/14/2007]
Bob Perry, CEO, Perry Homes
"Perry is the nation’s largest individual political donor. In 2004 and 2006 he gave a total of $29 million to state and federal races. Last year, more than $9 million of that was channeled through three 527′s that aggressively targeted races for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. In spite of such a massive political presence, Perry is as mysterious as some of the groups he funds. He never talks to the press, rarely appears in public, and remains an inscrutable figure even to people to whom he has given hundreds of thousands of dollars. He might have maintained this relatively low profile indefinitely, except that in 2004 he was the largest funder of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the controversial 527 that many people credit with derailing John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Almost overnight, Perry became a poster boy for the notion that a cabal of wealthy donors, shady consultants, and unaccountable 527′s was taking over American politics. Perry gives millions to 527 groups, including Tom Delay’s TRMPAC." [Texas Monthly, 3/24/2007]
Perry is a Top Contributor to Republican 527 Groups
Since 2000, Perry has also given to political groups known as 527s after a provision of law authorizing them. Along with Swift Boat, he gave $165,000 to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority and $105,000 to the Texas Association of Business. A Texas grand jury is investigating whether those two groups broke state campaign finance laws when they funneled $2.5 million in corporate contributions to Republican state House candidates during the 2002 election.
Perry was the largest contributor to Tom DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) giving $165,000 in the 2002 election cycle. TRMPAC is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by a Travis Country grand jury for allegedly misusing corporate contributions in the 2002 state elections.
Perry was the single largest contributor to the Texas Association of Business PAC in 2002, giving $105,000. The Association is also under criminal investigation for misuse of corporate funds in the 2002 Texas elections.
Perry contributed $95,000 to Tom DeLay’s Republican Majority Issues PAC in 2001. [Salon.com 8/19/2004]
Just Like the BIAW, Perry has spent thousands to Buy off State Supreme Court Justices
"Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has railed about state courts being corrupted by large campaign contributions to elected judges. In her next speech about the influence of cash in the courtrooms, she will have a perfect example from Texas. Homebuilder Bob Perry has given millions of dollars to state and national political campaigns and candidates, including all nine members of the Texas Supreme Court. Perry hit the jackpot late last week as a divided Supreme Court ruled in favor of his company, Perry Homes, in an $800,000 arbitration case. Perry and his family have donated more than $260,000 to the justices." [Austin American Statesman, 5/6/2008]
Just Like Rossi and the BIAW, Perry Opposes Homeowners’ Rights
"The court decided against Bob and Jane Cull, who bought a defective home from Perry’s company in 1996. When Perry Homes refused to fix the problems, the Culls sued. Later, they agreed to arbitration and were awarded $800,000. Perry Homes challenged the award but lost in state district court and lost again on appeal. But in a 5-4 decision, the state Supreme Court overturned the arbitrator’s ruling." [Austin American Statesman, 5/6/2008]
Just Like Rossi and the BIAW, Perry Will go to any Means to Win
"Perhaps the most famous was an ad run against Jon Tester, the Democratic challenger for a Senate seat in Montana. Funded by the Free Enterprise Fund Committee, to whom Perry was the sole donor, the spot purported to be a trailer for a movie. It opened with an image of men on horseback that recalled scenes from Brokeback Mountain, the controversial 2005 film about gay cowboys. The voice-over intoned: "Coming soon: Brokebank Democrats. They can’t fight their nature." After proclaiming that Tester, who opposes an outright ban on gay marriage, would raise taxes, the ad closed with a cowboy saying, "I guess old Tester just don’t know how to quit … taxin,’ " a play on the famous line from the film ‘I wish I knew how to quit you.’" [Texas Monthly, 3/24/2007]
Another recipient of Perry’s largesse, the Economic Freedom Fund, which got the largest single donation to any 527 in the 2006 election cycle, gained notoriety when it was sued by the Indiana attorney general for using illegal "robo-calling" methods. It was also the subject of a complaint filed by the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center to the Federal Election Commission that it had failed to register, as the law requires, as a political committee. [Texas Monthly, 3/24/2007]
Perry’s Donations Bought Him a Seat at the Table Brand New State Agency to Weaken Homeowner Rights
"Perhaps nowhere was Perry’s Texas clout more apparent than in the 2003 creation of the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC). An offshoot of the tort reform movement, the TRCC was ostensibly intended to make it easier to resolve disputes between builders and homebuyers and to amend the old system that was notoriously builder friendly. The result, says a chorus of critics, was just the opposite. In practice the TRCC became a captive agency to the industry it was supposed to regulate, and the law forced consumers to go through a lengthy complaint process only to find that at the end, the TRCC had no power to compel builders to do anything. This outcome was, of course, entirely favorable to the homebuilding industry, and in fact, it turned out that the person who’d written most of the bill that had created the commission was Perry Homes’ corporate counsel John Krugh, who was later appointed by Governor Perry to the newly created TRCC. As soon became known, Governor Perry had received a $100,000 contribution from Bob Perry roughly a month before signing the law and appointing Krugh. Bob Perry also spread money around to the two legislative committees that had worked on the legislation." [Texas Monthly, 3/24/2007]
Just Like Rossi, Perry Refuses to Talk to Reporters about his Controversial Dealings
"Because he refuses to speak to reporters, it has never been possible to know what Perry himself actually thinks about his position as one of the most powerful and controversial private citizens in American politics. For the purposes of this article, however, he agreed to answer some questions through his spokesman, Holm." [Texas Monthly, 3/24/2007]