Labor unions back county exec candidate Dow Constantine
Labor unions have begun attacking state Rep. Ross Hunter and promoting Metropolitan King County Councilmember Dow Constantine through independent expenditures in the race for King County executive. Abortion-rights groups and a union are trying to slow former TV news anchor Susan Hutchison's momentum.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Labor unions have begun attacking state Rep. Ross Hunter and promoting Metropolitan King County Councilmember Dow Constantine through independent expenditures in the race for King County executive.
At the same time, abortion-rights groups and a union are trying to slow former TV news anchor Susan Hutchison's momentum with a targeted phone campaign and a mailing in the Aug. 18 vote-by-mail primary.
Contributors to the three independent campaigns have stockpiled $104,000 and say more has been pledged by other unions to the anti-Hunter campaign.
"The campaign will continue and broaden over the next few weeks to educate more voters about Rep. Hunter's record in Olympia," said Adam Glickman, spokesman for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 775.
Ads funded by two SEIU locals and other unions appeared in left-of-center political blogs Tuesday, directing readers to a Web site that calls Hunter "a bad deal for King County" and blames him for cuts the Legislature made to education, health care and human services.
The Web page says, "Ross Hunter repeatedly voted for lower unemployment benefits for families who've lost their incomes in this recession and to cut 40,000 working families from the Basic Health Plan."
Glickman said Hunter, chairman of the House Finance committee, was "out of step" with King County voters when he supported "devastating" budget cuts earlier this year.
Hunter said Tuesday, "It's ridiculous to attack me for being part of the Democratic Legislature. We made tough choices with about a $9 billion budget shortfall. We kept core government services. We balanced the budget without raising taxes.
"These guys must want me to be 100 percent with them on every issue. ... I am not 100 percent with any interest group. I don't know how you can be. Sometimes you just have to say no to your friends."
Hunter, a former Microsoft manager, said he hasn't decided whether to put his own money into the campaign.
Two SEIU locals put up half of the $30,000 raised so far for anti-Hunter ads. Others contributing or pledging money are the Washington State Labor Council, Washington Education Association, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 21 and Sheet Metal Workers Local 66.
The SEIU Washington PAC and Washington Machinists Council have also given a combined $49,606 for pro-Constantine advertising. An initial mailing touts Constantine's environmental credentials.
Glickman said SEIU endorsed Constantine in part because it views him as the strongest candidate to take on Hutchison.
Hutchison is the target of a $25,000 phone and mail campaign funded by Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington, Washington NARAL Now You Know PAC and the Washington State Council of County and City Employees.
The Clinton Group, Washington, D.C.-based political consultants, began placing phone calls Saturday that tell voters Hutchison "would be a disaster for women and families in King County."
A script for callers raises questions about the future of nine King County family-planning clinics and links Hutchison to "conservative Republicans, like Mike Huckabee, who are against a woman's right to choose, even in cases of rape and incest."
Hutchison said Tuesday, "I think they're using hackneyed partisan politics to divide our citizens and introduce issues that are not relevant to this campaign. I have made clear from the start that I did not get into this race to divide people but to bring people together to solve the complex problems of our county."
She said she didn't know Huckabee's position on abortion and, regarding the implication that she might want to cut family-planning services, said, "I have one word — ridiculous."
The independent campaign against Hutchison has something in common with Constantine's own campaign: treasurer Jason Bennett.
Bennett said Tuesday he is submitting a corrected form to the state Public Disclosure Commission clarifying that he performs only limited financial-reporting functions for the two campaigns and isn't involved in discussions of campaign strategy.
Also running for executive are County Councilmember Larry Phillips, state Sen. Fred Jarrett, engineer and former municipal public-works director Alan Lobdell, investor Goodspaceguy, and physicist and disbarred attorney Stan Lippmann.
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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