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Originally published Thursday, September 7, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Rove will attend Reichert fundraiser

Karl Rove, a controversial figure and close adviser to President Bush, will be in Medina next week to help raise money for freshman U.S.S. Rep. Dave...

Karl Rove, a controversial figure and close adviser to President Bush, will be in Medina next week to help raise money for freshman U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert and the state Republican Party.

Reichert, R-Auburn, is being challenged by Democrat Darcy Burner, of the Carnation area, in the 8th Congressional District. Although Reichert has more money on hand than his opponent, Burner has raised more cash in the past two consecutive quarters.

Bringing Rove in to raise money can carry risks, said Todd Donovan, a political-science professor at Western Washington University.

"It's going to be a bad year for Republicans because of the unpopularity of the [Bush] administration. So anything that can link a Republican incumbent to ... Republican leadership in the White House, it's going to drag people down," Donovan said.

Still, the election is far enough away that the move probably won't hurt Reichert, he said.

Donovan said, "It's less likely to hurt him now than two weeks before the election" because voters will be more tuned in to the election in the final weeks.

Rove is expected to attend a Sept. 15 private fundraiser for the state Republican Party in Bellevue. Then he'll head to a fundraiser for Reichert at a private home in Medina hosted by John and Kathy Connors and Martin Tobias.

Tobias is the CEO and chairman of Imperium Renewables, which develops biodiesel technology. He's also involved in a venture-capital company with John Connors.

About 100 people are expected to attend the event, which is closed to the public. All are supporters who have committed to donate $1,000 to Reichert's campaign annually. They're invited to four events each year.

Reichert's campaign staff would not estimate how much money the event is expected to raise. This is the first time Rove has traveled to Reichert's district to raise money for him.

Rove is Bush's chief political strategist. He was under scrutiny for months after a grand jury in 2003 began investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity to reporters. Rove learned in June that he would not be indicted.

He has traveled the country to help raise money for GOP candidates. According to an Associated Press report last month, Rove brought in $10.4 million in 75 events this election cycle, which was more than any Republican official other than the president, first lady and vice president.

Staff reporter Andrew Garber and

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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