Paul Ryan raises money at pair of Eastside fundraisers
Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, raised money Monday at a reception in Hunts Point and a dinner in Medina. Officials said those could be the last Washington state events attended by the GOP ticket.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan raised money Monday at a pair of Eastside fundraisers that officials said could be the last Washington state events attended by members of the GOP ticket.
Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman and architect of the House Republican budget, headlined a $1,000-per-person reception in Hunts Point and a $25,000-per-couple dinner in Medina. As has become standard for political visits in the area this campaign season, there were no public events and no opportunities for reporters to ask questions.
Combined with a fundraiser in Portland, Ryan took in $3 million Monday for his campaign with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, GOP officials said.
At least 200 people attended the Hunts Point reception, hosted by tech magnate Bruce McCaw and his wife, Jolene. The two-hour event included a speech by Ryan and an opportunity for higher-paying guests to take photos with him.
King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who is running for attorney general, said the speech centered on economic issues.
"He talked about the budget and the national debt, and what it will take for us to sustain programs in the future," Dunn said.
Other prominent Republicans at the gathering included state party Chairman Kirby Wilbur and 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Dino Rossi.
Outside the home, meanwhile, some 50 members of Working Washington and other labor and liberal groups protested Ryan's ideas for changing social programs, including Medicare.
The protesters tried to tie Ryan to Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob McKenna, who was attending his own fundraiser in Moses Lake.
They held a large banner saying "Ryan & McKenna, don't cut working families." And one of them had an oversized mask of a "fat cat" with a cigar in its mouth.
The protesters greeted Ryan at Boeing Field when he landed at 3:30 p.m. and then followed his motorcade to the McCaw home and to the dinner later in the evening.
Earlier in the day, 1st District congressional candidate Suzan DelBene and fellow Democrats held a conference call with reporters to discuss similar topics.
Ryan's visit comes as he and Romney have fallen slightly behind President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the polls after last week's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
On Monday, Obama reported that he and his Democratic partners raised $114 million in August — $3 million more than the Romney team. It was the first time Obama has topped Romney in three months, but the Republican still has more cash.
As for Washington state, a KING5 poll released Monday showed Romney trailing Obama 54 percent to 36 percent here.
Still, those attending the fundraisers said they were upbeat about the GOP's chances nationwide in the fall, in part because of Ryan.
"He seems to be very knowledgeable and very much understanding of the numbers and the problems we face," said Mike Garvey, a maritime-business owner. "He's very analytical."
Before coming to Seattle, Ryan attended a private luncheon in Portland with a similar price structure.
During a brief speech there at The Governor Hotel, Ryan discussed the economy and challenged Obama to pick a side in a teachers strike that began Monday in Chicago.
He also lamented the University of Wisconsin football team's upset loss Saturday to Oregon State.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Brian M. Rosenthal: 206-464-3195 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @brianmrosenthal.