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Public employees union buys $15,000 TV ad for Rojecki

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Oct. 29, 2009 at 11:53 am | 5 Comments »
October 29, 2009 2:11 pm

UPDATE: (@2:11 p.m)  Cody Arledge, legislative director for Sheet Metal Union Local 66, said the Rojecki ad was funded by his union, as well as by the Washington State Council of Firefighters, the Tacoma Firefighters Union, Kent Firefighters Union and SEIU 775.  These groups have participated in the past in making such donations through the Washington State County and City Public Employees’ PAC, Arledge said.

“For most of us, we’ve been friends of Keven’s for years in the Legislative scene,” Arledge said of the reason for the spot.

For the state firefighters union, Rojecki has been “successful at building coaltions and bringing people together in Olympia,” Arledge added.

ORIGINAL POST:

A PAC for the state’s biggest public employees’ union recently bought a $15,000 television ad supporting at-large Tacoma City Council candidate Keven Rojecki, state campaign records show.Rojecki

Listed in Rojecki’s campaign finance reports as an independent expenditure (a political action intended to help or oppose a candidate without the candidate’s direct cooperation) from the “Voter Education Committee,” the TV ad apparently began airing on Oct. 26, according to Barbara Corcoran, who is affiliated with the Everett-based PAC.

I haven’t seen the spot (anyone out there who has?), but Corcoran told me today she’ll have Pat Thompson, Director of Legislation/Political Action  for the Washington State County and City Public Employees (associated with AFSCME and the AFL-CIO) give me a call to tell me more about it.

I just spoke by phone with Rojecki, who said he wasn’t aware the ad was coming, but caught it recently while watching the Keith Olbermann show. His wife also saw the ad while watching Monday Night Football.

“I am not entirely sure exactly what it said, because it ran so fast,” Rojecki said. “It basically looked like a support position for me.”

Rojecki, a firefighter for the City of SeaTac, state Gambling Commission chairman and lobbyist for the state’s firefighters’ union, is running against Victoria Woodards, an assistant to Pierce County Councilman Tim Farrell and MetroParks board chair.

woodardsBig bucks have flooded into the race on both sides, with the latest reports showing Rojecki leading the money grab. He’s received nearly $89,000 in contributions (about $83k of it cash; with about $49k already spent), while Woodards has taken in just over $72,000 (about $69k in cash, with $51k spent), records show.

The bulk of Rojecki’s campaign money has come from firefighters, their unions and PACs from outside Tacoma and around the state (we’ve reported about it here and here).

Woodards and supporters of her campaign, which is drawing contributions largely from within Tacoma, have raised questions as to the outside interest in the city race from Rojecki’s supporters. Rojecki has said the donors are simply friends and peers who believe in his leadership, but otherwise have no real skin in the game. He, in turn, has questioned why local city employees would make large donations to Woodards’ campaign.

In recent days, both candidates have been flooding the city with campaign mailers.

Rojecki’s have included one declaring “It’s time,” that shows him variably pictured in a suit and in firefighters’ gear on one side, while standing with some of his top endorsers (state Sen. Rosa Franklin, Congressman Adam Smith) on the other side. Another Rojecki mailer has him standing with his smiling family in front of Union Station on one side, while on the flip side showing him standing next to a diverse group of kids sitting in a tree.

Woodards, meanwhile, has distributed a glossy fold-out with photographs and statements from endorsers including former Tacoma Mayor and Pierce County Councilman Harold Moss; state Sen. Debbie Regala and LeRoy Jewelers owner Steph Farber, among others. Another Woodards’ mailer declares on one side, “A lifetime of service. A leader we can trust” next to her headshot, with photos of her in various scenarios (at microphone, in military uniform and among a group cutting a ribbon at a park) on the other.

With their campaign finance reports showing each candidate with significant cash reserves still on hand, expect the ad deluge to continue in the final five days to Election Day.

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