Category Archives: Republicans

Tweet the state House Republicans

Washington State House Republicans will hold a Twitter town hall forum from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Monday. State Rep. Dan Kristiansen and J.T. Wilcox will answer Tweeted questions.

Use the hashtag #solutionsWA.

The party’s press release is below.

No word on when the counties will meet to replace Jan Angel in the House. Josh Brown’s replacement on the commission might happen Monday afternoon.

Washington House Republicans to host Twitter town hall January 9

Washington House Republicans will host the Legislature’s first-ever Twitter town hall, January 9, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Participants can ask House Republican leadership members Rep. Dan Kristiansen and Rep. J.T. Wilcox a 140-character question using the hashtag #solutionsWA.

House Republicans are not the only government entity to make use of this communications trend nationwide. President Obama held a Twitter town hall last July.

“This event will enable people to ask questions and provide their ideas in the days leading up to the 2014 legislative session,” said House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish. “This is a new platform for us. We look forward to hearing from Washingtonians on the issues that are important to them.”

According to Pew Research, nearly one in 10 U.S. adults uses Twitter to share information. And, more than 50 million people in the U.S. use Twitter to get news. However, just like all social media, Twitter has its limitations. Participants and the responding representatives will only have 140 characters to relay their questions, answers and ideas.

“It’s our job as elected officials to involve the public at every opportunity. This is why we use a variety of forums like Twitter, which has a lot of active followers that we may not otherwise hear from on statewide legislative issues,” said House Republican Floor Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm.

The public is encouraged to participate in the January 9 Twitter town hall using #solutionsWA. Those unable to participate or have trouble with #solutionsWA can visit the House Republicans’ Twitter page @WaHouseGOP.

Visit for more information about House Republican members, solutions and results.

Former state Rep. Tom Huff dies.

Tom Huff, former state legislator in the 26th District, died Sunday. He was 80.

The Gig Harbor Republican ran for the Legislature in 1994 to fill the seat left vacant by Wes Pruitt, a Democrat. “People deserve quality services from government at a reasonable tax rate, but what we’ve gotten is unreasonable taxes with poor service. That’s a disaster,” Huff said at the time.

Huff helped found the Washington Retail Association and was an executive with Sears for 35 years before retiring in 1992. He was known for being direct. “If a private business like Sears were as wasteful as state government, Weatherbeater Paint would be a hundred dollars a gallon and Diehard batteries would cost more per ounce than gold,” Huff said.

Huff beat fellow Gig Harbor Republican Dennis Johnson in the primary and in the general election netted 61 percent of the vote in defeating Democrat Mary Ann Huntington, who later became a Port of Bremerton commissioner of some renown.

The three-term representative was a fiscal conservative who rose to the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee in his first term.

In 1999 he had surgery for prostate cancer, which he said had a sobering effect on him. “I think it’s just another indication your life is valuable … and life doesn’t last that long overall,” he said. “There’s only so many years to do things I want to do.”

In 2011 Huff was part of the state’s redistricting committee, accepting a request from House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt.

He and his wife, Mary Ann, had four children and nine grandchildren.

The Olympian has more on Huff’s life.

Local GOP delegate at Tampa convention gets national news play.

During the brief bit of Mitt Romney’s speech I watched live last night, (I was more interested in the Cougar game and will watch the speech online before I leave work today.) I thought I caught a glimpse of Arna Souza, the Bremerton local who went to Tampa as a delegate. It got me wondering if with all the media there whether our delegates netted any other coverage nationally.

Silverdale’s Donna Hamilton, wife of Kitsap County Republican Party Chairman Jack Hamilton, was the clear winner, getting two mentions. No one else in a brief Google search I did was mentioned.

Donna Hamilton was referenced on a New York Times blog The Caucus in reference to Ann Romney’s speech and in USA Today for her apparel choice designed for TV coverage.

If you hear of anything else I’d be glad to post it here.

And by the way, if you want to see if Souza did show up on TV, go to C-SPAN and watch there. It was around the time Romney mentioned his father George Romney having a flower delivered to his wife every day.

Five locals headed to national GOP convention in Tampa

Kitsap County Republican Party Chairman Jack Hamilton will be a delegate at the Republican National Convention, Aug. 27-30, in Tampa. He will be joined by Gig Harbor’s Marlyn Jensen, who challenged state Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, for his seat in the Legislature in 2008.

Three other Kitsap residents are going as alternates: Donna Hamilton (Jack’s wife), Arna Souza and Willard Swiger.

Jensen and the alternates go representing the Sixth Congressional District. Jack Hamilton is going as an at-large pick.

The state Democratic Party is expected to release its list today.

Kitsap GOP approve delegates after brief, but testy, drama

Kitsap Republicans will have a full slate of delegates and alternates when they go to the state party convention on May 31 in Tacoma.

County party members met for a second time on Saturday and completed the voting process that stopped prematurely on April 21, when a nominating process ran into conflict with a commitment to be out of the Klahowya Secondary School building.

State party officials informed county party leaders they could reconvene and get approval from the state convention rules committee to seat the five-dozen-plus delegates in total. If, for whatever reason, the committee were to decline, the county would be represented by 14 people. The head of that committee, however, gave assurances earlier that the full delegation would be seated.

Speaking of sitting, that the full delegate slate will be seated doesn’t sit well with a “Daily Paul” poster with the moniker staobrof who wrote, “Because of the unorthodox reconvening and the rules violations, the state convention will have to rule on whether Kitsap County’s delegates can even be seated at the convention. From the strongarm tactics I saw at the convention, I don’t think they should allow them to be seated.”

Hamilton, in his statement following the convention, makes no mention of what appears to be a brief, but boisterous, moment of dissension that was videotaped. Hamilton thanked those who attended both events. “Your sacrifice of time, energy, and money are greatly appreciated. In addition, your willingness to actively participate in our political process (with all it’s warts and glory) set you aside from most voters. As those of us who have spent far too much time chasing dreams of political success know, you are no longer a ‘normal’ person,” Hamilton wrote.

The video, which apparently is against county party guidelines, shows the videographer being told to stop taping. He eventually yells that he’s being assaulted. There’s more attempting to get him to stop taping while Kirby Wilbur, state party chairman, attempts to talk to the rest of the delegates. Wilbur tells someone to “Sit down and shut up,” but I can’t tell from the video who he was addressing.

As the delegates begin dispersing to their three different caucuses the videographers get a variety of comments sent their way. One woman says, “Hey video this,” then tells them to take their anarchy somewhere I couldn’t decipher. Another convention delegate tells the filmer “Hey, you’re cool man. Good job.”

A final critic offers a condemnation that makes little sense to me, only because I’m assuming the videographer is a Ron Paul supporter. “What part of the Communist Party do you belong to?” the man yelled. That insult gets lobbed all the time at Democrats, but not at libertarians.

Many commenters to the video operate under the illusion that the party has to allow filming. It doesn’t. A political party is not subject to state open meeting laws, because those only apply to governments, and political parties are not governments.

The state attorney general has a page on this, which gives broad explanations of when a meeting must be public. Note that “political subdivision,” which is mentioned on the page, refers to a smaller government, such as a city or county, that is subject to state law. In fact, not all government bodies are subject to open meeting laws. The Legislature wrote in exceptions for itself and for the courts. Even the government entities that are subject to the law are allowed exceptions, such as when they meet to consider a legal action or real estate transaction.

Whether it’s a good idea to prohibit filming at a political event is another question. Any time someone attempts to stop it the resulting footage provides better public relations fodder than anything the videographer might have otherwise caught.

State, County GOP meeting to discuss reopening convention

Kirby Wilbur, state Republican party chairman, said he will meet with county Republican leaders Friday evening to discuss reopening the county convention to fill out the county’s delegate slate.

If county leaders want to try it, the state will support them, Wilbur said. He doesn’t want the decision to come from him, however. “I’m leery about the precedent of the state chairman interfering,” he said.

Kitsap County Republicans met Saturday for its convention and failed to elect the full slate of 64 delegates and alternates for the state party’s convention, which starts on May 31 in Tacoma. The convention ended at 4 p.m. with only 14 confirmed delegates.

Wilbur said earlier in the week he wasn’t inclined to let the county reconvene, because he worried about setting a precedent into the future and about the impact in Clark County and Chelan County. Republicans there also failed to complete election of delegates. Both, however had well more than half. In Chelan and Clark the conventions ended because there was no longer a quorum of delegates.

That’s far different, Wilbur said, from what he described as the “arbitrary” deadline exercised in Kitsap by Jack Hamilton, party chairman. Hamilton said he had a firm agreement with officials at Klahowya Secondary School to end the political event at 4 p.m.

Wilbur said county Republicans would only meet to elect regular delegates, not alternates. Nor would there be any platform discussions. He also said he would want agreement from backers of presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to agree to no challenges to the delegate slate once the convention was closed. Additionally, if the county party lost a quorum before all the delegates were elected, the convention would close. The delegates elected by then would be the final tally.

If county Republicans do decide to meet again, the assurances they have that the 50 new delegates would indeed be seated at the state convention would come from members of the state convention credential committee. Two members of the committee were traveling with Wilbur Friday afternoon to Kitsap County as part of the contingent here to discuss the county party’s options.

KC GOP unlikely to reconvene

The odds are long that Kitsap Republicans will be able to meet again to fill out its delegate roster for the state convention, said state party chairman Kirby Wilbur late on Wednesday. County Republicans met Saturday, but the convention ended with the party only choosing 14 of the 64 delegates allotted for the state convention.

Wilbur said the Republican National Committee offered some guidance as to how the county convention could be reopened just to finish picking delegates, but he said national officials were cautious. Wilbur, himself, is concerned about consequences beyond Kitsap County.

“I really, really do want to do something for Kitsap,” Wilbur said. But, “I’m inclined to do nothing because of the Pandora’s box I would open with the other two counties.”

Republicans in Clark County and Chelan County also ended their conventions without completing a full slate. Both, however, were able to pick more than half.

What made Wilbur consider making an exception was Kitsap’s count being so low, but he said he is afraid of establishing a precedent that could have an impact in the other two counties this year and in convention processes in the future.

Another issue is whether county Republicans could muster up enough attendance again to have a quorum. Estimates of Saturday’s attendance run between 700 and 800 people. Even if it was as low as 600, it would mean at least 301 people would have to be in the second meeting during the voting. Wilbur doesn’t relish the thought of 285 people showing up and having nothing to do.

Wilbur said a final decision could be made Thursday.

Republicans: Here is your Lincoln Day speaker

The Kitsap County Republican Party, in addition to caucusing on Saturday, will hold their annual Lincoln Day dinner on Friday. Scheduled to speak to the group is Rev. Wayne Perryman, whose bio lists him as a community activist and minister.

He is also a former talk-show host and has numerous videos on YouTube, including some appearances on conservative national shows.

Here is a story from The Sun in 2003. Perryman was born in Bremerton, it seems.

A video clip from his own site follows:
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Cain, Romney, Daniels top WAGOP straw poll

Washington State Republicans, meeting in a fundraiser Friday in Bellevue, took part in a pop straw poll of who they want for president in 2012. Consider it a snapshot in time, where local party leaders are today about a potential challenger to unseat President Barack Obama.

The names on the list were alphabetical, but didn’t come in that way. Kirby Wilbur, state Republican Party chairman, said the results show there is no clear front runner. I welcome your thoughts as to A. Who would be best able to beat Obama? and B. Who do you think Republicans will eventually nominate?

Herman Cain 54 – 15.13%
Mitt Romney 52 – 14.57%
Mitch Daniels 51 – 14.29%
Chris Christie 39 – 10.92%
Tim Pawlenty 28 – 7.84%
Paul Ryan 22 – 6.16%
Newt Gingrich 14 – 3.92%
Rudy Giuliani 12 – 3.36%
Mike Huckabee 14 – 3.92%
Ron Paul 10 – 2.80%
Donald Trump 10 – 2.80%
Michele Bachmann 9 – 2.52%
Jeb Bush 8 – 2.24%
Sarah Palin 8 – 2.24%
Rick Santorum 7 1.96%
Bobby Jindal 6 – 1.68%
Jon Huntsman 4 – 1.12%
Other 9 – 2.52%

Democrats Voted Here

If you are wondering why Democrats held on so well in Washington while across the nation they did not do well at all, the basic answer appears to be that they voted here. Democrats in Washington, despite the dire predictions for them nationally, mailed in their ballots. A Portland pollster makes that case, as well as the one contending that Washington is getting bluer.

Some of the information is included in a story about the county certifying the Nov. 2 election.

Moore Information of Portland, Ore. sent out an analysis (posted below) suggesting that Dino Rossi, Republican challenger for the U.S. Senate here, did better among Republicans than any other Senate candidate in the country. He also won the vote of independents by big numbers. He lost, according to Moore, because incumbent U.S. Sen. Patty Murray did even better among Democrats, and there are more Democrats than there used to be and they didn’t get too depressed to vote here.

Of course, if you read our story from Nov. 1, this may not surprise you at all. The last two paragraphs said this:

Turnout was markedly higher in 1998 and 2006. Carl Olson, Kitsap County Democratic Party chairman, said his party’s get-out-the-vote effort is tracking as well as it did in 2006, when turnout was 68.2 percent.

“My personal sense tells me there may be some surprises,” he said, meaning Democrats may do better than expected. Whether the party’s tracking of those who are solid or lean Democrat means they voted Democrat again, he said, he doesn’t know.

While Democrats lost ground in Washington, what their voters did by voting was prevent a party disaster. They maintained control of both chambers in the state. Locally every Democrat incumbent had a closer race, but they all won.

My hunch is this also explains why late votes, those counted after those from election night, did not break Republican as they have in past elections. Democratic margins, in fact, grew larger.

Moore’s analysis, co-written with Hans Kaiser, also with Moore Information, follows:

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Company Sued for Campaign Finance Violations Has Had Local Clients

Beverly Woods was the subject in these critical 2006 campaign ads created by Moxie Media. The picture comes from the company's Web site.
In 2006 voters in the 23rd Legislative District received mailers asking the question, “Beverly Woods went to Olympia and what did we get?” Woods, a Republican, was first elected to the seat in 2000, beat Democrat Sherry Appleton by 4 percentage points in 2002 and in 2004 she won handily over a candidate who did not campaign with much intensity.

In 2006, though, she faced off against Democrat Christine Rolfes, a former Bainbridge Island city councilwoman. Rolfes ended up winning by 9 percentage points. A blog post just weeks after the election at the conservative site Sound Politics had in its comment string a conversation blaming Woods’ loss on her vote for a gas tax. Many people have said to me the same thing, that Woods lost her base when she voted for that tax.

However she lost, the mailer is the issue here, because it was created by a firm that finds itself in hot water with the Washington State Attorney General, Rob McKenna. Moxie Media is being sued by McKenna for the company’s under-the-radar efforts to oust a conservative Democrat in the 38th District in 2010. It’s the under-the-radar part that could get them in trouble, because the company allegedly created political action committees to temporarily hide the liberal money (labor, trial lawyers, etc.) that was pitching a conservative Republican who was not running a strong race. The effort helped put the incumbent, state Sen. Jean Berkey, in third place, virtually guaranteeing victory in November for Democrat Nick Harper, who as of Tuesday had received nearly 60 percent of the vote.

Moxie is not the only organization to run afoul of Public Disclosure laws in recent history. The Olympian’s Brad Shannon wrote, “The action against Moxie comes in the same season that the Republican-oriented Building Industry Association of Washington settled charges of concealing funds it later used to promote Dino Rossi’s 2008 gubernatorial campaign.”

The Washington State Wire has an explanation of what went on with Moxie and Berkey, explaining the money gets hidden.

Moxie Media’s anti-Bev Woods piece is one of several the company highlights in a portfolio on its Web site.

Of the campaign the company writes, “After many failed attempts by other Democratic campaigns to define State Representative Beverly Woods as too conservative for her district, Moxie Media ultimately helped defeat the three-term incumbent. We developed a series of five mail pieces that positioned Woods as ineffective and out-of-touch, helping to elect our client, State Representative Christine Rolfes, who has held the seat since 2006.”

The work Moxie did for Rolfes was pretty straightforward. Sure, some of it in 2006 was negative advertising, but there do not appear to be any obvious efforts to hide who was behind the ads. A search of Public Disclosure Records show that over three campaigns Rolfes has spent $61,625 for Moxie Media’s help.

Rolfes said the recent news does have her considering who she will employ in the future. “I had never seen them do anything that wasn’t above board. I’m disappointed to see how that company worked in another race,” she said.

Moxie’s work has showed up in other local races. In 2006 the company promoted Kyle Taylor Lucas, who tried to best state Sen. Tim Sheldon for the Democratic nomination for senator in the 35th District. The company was paid more than $50,000 from three different PACs, all of which had “Have Had Enough” in the name.

In 2006 the Harry Truman Fund, which supports Democrats, spent about $17,000 for ads against Republican Ron Boehme, who ran against Larry Seaquist in the 26th District.

In late October Bremerton Republican Trent England wrote on the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s Liberty Live blog, “I happen to know that Moxie works for my own State Senator Derek Kilmer, who pretends to be a Berkey-style moderate, but somehow still gets props from the far left (draw your own conclusions about who is the real Derek Kilmer: the one familiar to his Moxie pals, or the one he presents to voters in his swing district?).”

It is true that Moxie shows more than $200,000 in receipts for Kilmer’s campaign between 2004 and 2006. There were none, however, in 2010.

Kilmer said he worked with John Wyble, who co-founded Moxie, but left in 2008 and formed his own firm, WinPower Strategies.

Kilmer took issue of England’s use of the word “works.” “Once again Trent England hasn’t done his homework,” Kilmer said, adding that the ads he pays for do not mention his opponents. “The way I approach campaigns is like a job interview. “I’ve never gone into a job interview and said ‘This is why you shouldn’t hire the other guy,'” he said.

Democrats generally have condemned what is alleged to have been done in the 38th. Berkey, for her part, is asking that the Legislature not seat Harper, saying the election was tainted, according to a (Everett) Herald story.

Rolfes, who did work with Lisa MacLean, the Moxie founder named in the Attorney General’s suit, said she hopes the discovery of what happened with Moxie is evidence that the system worked. “The whole point of the Public Disclosure Commission is to allow a forum for catching these kind of indiscretions and unethical and possibly illegal acts,” she said.

Democrats Posing as Republicans Could Result in a New Election

Austin Jenkins wrote a piece on his own blog and later republished on Crosscut about an election elsewhere in the state that could be overturned.

A Democratic organization set up an organization that looked Republican in order to get a conservative Democrat legislator out of office. Apparently it worked, but the Public Disclosure Commission is not taking kindly to how the group shuffled campaign donations to hide the backers.

Go to Crosscut to read the whole thing.

Party Roots of Patty Murray and Dino Rossi

Jerry Cornfield at the (Everett) Herald gets to the questions of how the candidates ended up in the parties they chose in the race between U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Republican Dino Rossi.

Cornfield points out that both had influences in their lives that could have pushed them in different directions. From the story:

Patty Murray, 59, and Dino Rossi, 50, are not party ideologues and neither engaged fully in partisan politics until comfortably in adulthood.

Both come from large, middle-class families. Each has six siblings; Patty and her identical twin, Peggy, are the second and third eldest while Dino is the youngest.

Both grew up in small suburban cities Murray in Bothell and Rossi in Mountlake Terrace. Their fathers are World War II veterans and their families each hit by hardship that tested their will.

While there are parallels in their lives as youngsters, by the time each reached college, their life’s journey was driven by very different political values.

I continue to periodically point out stories worth reading in the block of stories above, but this one deserves special mention. It confirms to me that the embracing of any political philosophy is not exclusively an intellectual exercise or a response to self interest.

County Republicans Condemn Russ Hauge on Rifle Club Suit

Sandra LaCelle, Kitsap County Republican Party Chairwoman, sent this to us:

On September 13, 2010, at the Executive Board Meeting of the Kitsap County Republican Party, the following resolution was adopted:

Resolved, that the Kitsap County Republican Party hereby condemns the actions of Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hague and his office for the continual harassment and frivolous legal attacks upon the officers and members of the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club.

It is a bold statement for reasons I will provide further down.

Rifle club members were out in force at Monday’s county commissioner meeting addressing County Prosecutor Russ Hauge’s lawsuit against the club. Some of their comments will be included in a story Josh Farley is working on. Their basic points were:

  • The club is all about safety.
  • The county commissioners need to reign in Hauge and the Department of Community Development.
  • They asked why this had to be filed in Pierce County.
  • If the club is closed people will go shoot in the hills.
  • They questioned the qualifications of the prosecutor’s key witness.
  • They think this is a vendetta Russ Hauge is launching against Marcus Carter. (The two have faced off in court before.)

James Sommerhauser, a regular at these meetings and a fixture in the local Democratic party, said he belonged to the club for a couple of years. He thought it was safe, but said if it wasn’t he probably wouldn’t have recognized how. He said if the club didn’t get permits it was required to, then the club would be wrong in that case. He also pointed out that the prosecutor is a separately elected official, so county commissioner control over what the prosecutor does is almost non-existent. Josh Brown, county commissioner, said that the primary interaction between the commissioners and the prosecutor is over the prosecutor’s budget.

That does not necessarily mean the commissioners have to remain silent, but they’re not clear right now what authority they have to do or say anything.

Jim Coutu of Gig Harbor made a point that may speak to why some people who have no dog in the fight would have strong feelings about the suit. “Lawsuits come about because people cannot come to terms any other way,” he said. “This doesn’t feel like something that wanted to get resolved in a proper manner.” Where that matters is that the public knows of no problems between the county and the rifle club. And then there is a pretty big lawsuit.

You may recall there is also friction between the county and the city of Bremerton over the city’s financial participation, or lack of it, in the restructuring of the loan for the Harborside Condominium complex. We’ve been reporting it for months. It may result in a lawsuit, but because we have been reporting the conflict for some time that news won’t come out of the blue like the rifle club suit did.

The Central Kitsap Reporter had a story in May when neighbors of the range wanted the county to take action. It was kind of a “he said, she said” moment.

From a political standpoint, addressed in Farley’s story posted Saturday, there is so much to consider. I think Hauge was absolutely correct when he said the suit “could not have come at a worse time” politically.

In the Aug. 17 primary Hauge won what was a de facto straw poll by 12 percentage points. While that doesn’t officially fall into “landslide” territory, it is a pretty comfortable lead. Now this issue is out there, less than two months from election day. The only way this is a political win for him is if overwhelming evidence comes to light between now and the day ballot are mailed out. Courts do not move that quickly. And people mad at Hauge for taking this action will not wait until election day to mark their ballots.

What if it turns out that Hauge is right? I know many people will not consider that possibility, but I am not at liberty to rush to judgment here. I have not read his filing and even from what I little I have heard I have a lot of questions on both sides. But again, what if it turns out Hauge is right?

Would Republicans then still have cause to claim that this lawsuit is a “frivolous legal attack” and part of the “continual harassment?” Though the party’s statement doesn’t specifically name this most recent suit, in tone it seems pretty clear that the county Republican Party has already judged this case before the process plays out.

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
old Time is still a-flying.
And this same flower that smiles today,
tomorrow will be dying.”
– Robert Herrick

Republican Senate Hopefuls to Meet in Silverdale

Three Republican U.S. Senate candidates are expected to take part in a forum in Silverdale Friday evening. The public is invited.

Clint Didier, Paul Akers and Craig Williams have confirmed they will attend the event at the Silverdale Community Center. Don Benton and Sean Salazar will not, because they have other engagements planned. Dino Rossi has been invited and has not indicated whether he will attend.

The candidates are running to unseat Democrat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who is seeking her fourth term.

Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders will also attend.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and is scheduled to last until 8:30 p.m.

The Silverdale Community Center is at 9729 Silverdale Way, near the intersection of Bucklin Hill Road.

Angel Backs Benton for U.S. Senate

South Kitsap state Rep. Jan Angel is backing State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, in his bid to oust Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray in the November election. This might not carry the same weight Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Clint Didier does, but neither Palin or Didier live here.

The press release text follows:

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Burlingame to Challenge Brown in CK Commissioner Race

The race for the Kitsap County central district commissioner seat will be contested.

Republican Abby Burlingame will challenge Josh Brown, Democrat, in his bid for re-election to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners.

Burlingame, 30, is a North Kitsap High School grad who lives in East Bremerton and has cut hair for the past decade at A Barber Shop in Silverdale. She also studied public policy and law at Seattle Pacific University and said she is one Spanish class shy of finishing her bachelor’s degree program.

She interned during the 2009 Legislature for state Sen. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley and her name appears as a research assistant on papers prepared by the Washington Policy Center.

Her chief interest in running stems from her belief in local government, she said. Burlingame said local governments will continue to feel the brunt of budget concerns in the coming years. She said she not certain the county is well positioned to handle the budget challenges ahead, given the projects the county has planned.

Burlingame said she built a house when she was 23, a house she sold when she went through a divorce. She is single with no children.

Presidential Gifts: What to Get the Guy Who Can Get Anything in the World

Today I was assigned to do a story about Manette artist Marnie Holt Swenson, whose gift of an oil portrait of the first family was recently acknowledged by President Barack Obama.

As it turns out giving gifts to the president is a complicated process, and in the case of gifts from foreign dignitaries, it involves a lot of protocol. In fact there’s a whole department dedicated to screening, accepting, acknowledging and reciprocating gifts to the president and other employees of the executive branch from foreign officials.

The State Department’s Protocol Gift Unit must document every gift, no matter how small. Data from 2009, Obama’s first year in the White House, has not yet been compiled. Records show some of the more offbeat items received by his predecessor, George W. Bush, include a black Mercedes mountain bike from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a shoe shine kit and CD, “Spirit of the Bush,” from the Governor General of Australia, and the book “1,001 Reasons to Love America” from the Sultan of Brunei.

Other gifts to Bush that caught my eye: Official Dallas Cowboys gear from the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, a bull moose antler sculpture from the Canadian Prime Minister and 12 bottles of Georgian dry red wine from His Excellency Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia, “handled pursuant to Secret Service policy.”

I understand a Maine microbrewer called “Bill the Beer Guy” has donated a basket of his wares to Obama. Wonder what the secret service will do with that.

State Department gift officials must log the date of the gift, who it came from and the protocol under which it was accepted. The standard response is, “Non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. Government.”

As it turns out, in some cases, they really shouldn’t have.

If you visit the State Department website, you’ll find a link to archives, presumably the source of information for a post on the Mental Floss blog, ‘Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix.”

According to the blog, the President of Indonesia, thoughtfully, donated to President George H.W. Bush a Komodo dragon. “Perhaps worried that the venomous, flesh-eating lizard wouldn’t play nice with First Dog Millie, Bush donated the dragon, named Naga, to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden,” the blog says.

Representing a gift to President George H.W. Bush

And talk about gifts that may have missed the mark by a hair, the president of Azerbaijan gave Clinton a carpet that was a portrait of the president and first lady Hillary Clinton. The carpet shows the first couple inside a heart-shaped medallion. “I wanted to convey their lives as one beating heart,” the artist said.

Clinton Carpet

Pawlenty to Address Washington Republicans

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, considered a front-runner in 2008 to be John McCain’s VP nomination and a contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, will be the keynote speaker at the state Republican Party’s convention a state Republican Party event in April.

The party’s press release follows.

Chairman Luke Esser of the Washington State Republican Party announced today that Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) will deliver the keynote address at the 28th Annual WSRP Gala Dinner & Auction to be held Saturday, April 24 at the Bellevue Hilton.

Governor Pawlenty is currently serving his second term as the 39th governor of Minnesota, a term that concludes in 2011. Pawlenty’s career of public service includes experience as a city councilman, ten-year member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, four years of which he spent as House Majority Leader.

Pawlenty also served as Chairman of the National Governors Association. During the 2008 Presidential Election, he served as a national co-chair for Sen. John McCain, and since then he has remained a national figure in Republican politics.

“Governor Pawlenty is a rising star in GOP politics for several very good reasons,” said Esser. “The Governor believes in common sense conservative principles, and has balanced his state’s budget three times without raising taxes, despite facing record budget deficits.

“It is precisely that track record of success and respect for taxpayers which has earned Governor Pawlenty a reputation as one of the most innovative, energetic, reform-minded and accomplished governors.

“We are excited that Governor Pawlenty has accepted our invitation to speak at our annual spring dinner and auction, and look forward to hearing his vision for how the GOP can win in 2010, and effectively govern after our electoral successes.”