1. This week, Republicans in the state senate reintroduced a bill they passed last year to exempt cigar bars from 2005's voter-approved indoor smoking ban. (The bill stalled in the house.)
Anti-smoking advocates at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific were ready and released a poll yesterday showing that 71 percent of Washington voters oppose the loophole.
The poll of 500 likely Washington voters was done by EMC Research.
2. Issaquah city council member Mark Mullet, a Democrat, announced yesterday that he will challenge state Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-5) this November. In a statement, Mullet, who owns Zeek's Pizza and a Ben and Jerry's franchise in the Issaquah Highlands, said his experience as a small business owner "has taught me what government policies help and hurt small business owners."
Pflug, one of two state Republicans to come out in support of Gov. Gregoire's gay marriage proposal, has served in the 5th since she was appointed to replace Dino Rossi in 2004. In 2008, she faced only a nominal challenge from Democrat Phyllis Huster, who received just 40 percent of the vote.
Mullet's campaign consultant is John Wyble, a Seattle consultant who represents Democratic candidates.
3. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee's December fundraising numbers are in. He raised $340,000, bringing his total money raised to $3.3 million with $2.1 million cash on hand.
The count leaves him slightly behind his Republican rival Rob McKenna, who has raised $3.7 million and has $2.3 million on hand.
That may sound like a dead heat, but here's the catch: McKenna wasn't allowed to raise any money in December. State elected officials are prohibited from raising campaign contributions while the legislature is in session.
UPDATE (thanks to a commenter): Additionally, $55,000 of Inslee's December take came from the Washington State Democratic Central Committee. The state Democrats have now contributed $365,000 to Inslee's total.
4. The Seattle Times reports this morning that former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels is pondering a run for secretary of state.