An Obvious Question About the Veracity of the Times' Claim
1. In case you missed it, and you probably did: Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (who's up for reelection this year) and GOP state attorney general candidate Reagan Dunn have both taken out full-page ads in the Seattle Times this morning.
The ads are not—like the ads the paper is running for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna or for R-74, the gay marriage initiative—independent expenditures from the Seattle Times Co. nor in-kind contributions, Times spokeswoman Jill Mackie tells Fizz.
The Cantwell team accepted the Times' ad deal via email on September 25.
If the Times accepted an $100,000 buy from Cantwell back in September (we have confirmed that's what the five day run is worth), why did they need to prove a point with a $75,500 McKenna ad?
This raises an obvious question about the veracity of the Times' claim to have run the ads for McKenna and R-74 as an "experiment" to prove that newspaper political advertising works. If they accepted an $100,000 buy from Cantwell back in September (we have confirmed that's what the five day run is worth), why did they need to prove a point with a $75,500 McKenna ad?
Mackie says, for starters, "the start date of the ads were pushed back four times. So, it was unclear when or whether they would begin for certain." She also said the McKenna ad was happening on a different track than the Cantwell ad.
She tells Fizz:
"The Cantwell ad is a part of a statewide newspaper advertising project managed by ... Allied Daily Newspapers (the association that represents all dailies in the state). The pilot effort launched by The Times and the statewide effort were being developed on parallel paths managed by completely different people. The Seattle Times team responsible for launching the political advertising one-time print initiative did not know whether the statewide program would produce political advertising in print or not.
While sales conversations were ongoing, when we launched this pilot campaign, it was unclear whether candidates would engage in the purchase of a schedule of print ads. We have made strong efforts over a number of past political seasons with little to no results on the print side. At the time we launched this pilot effort, it appeared the results were likely to be similarly unproductive.
The fact the campaigns have decided to do something is outstanding. We hope others will make similar decisions. Certainly, by doing so, they will reach a high quality, engaged audience."
Make of that what you will. One thing, though, if they were on seperate tracks, Mackie's statment about the uncertainty of the Cantwell ad should have had no bearing on the McKenna ad.
As for the timing of the Dunn ad, the Washington State Republican Party, which funded the ad, has not reported its expenditure with the Public Disclosure Commission yet. The ad buy was an in-kind contributuion from the WSRP. It should show up on Dunn's next reports, which are due on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see if the date on the buy came before or after the Times' McKenna independent expenditure, which was reported on October 17.
2. The Washington Education Association, the state teachers' union, has a (picayune) bone to pick with their adversaries, the education reform group Stand for Children.
The two groups are squaring off in the state senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1, Bothell) and her Republican challenger Dawn McCravey; the WEA is backing McAuliffe and SFC is backing McCravey. Both groups have spent about $200,000 in independent expenditures in the race.
The union wants to know why a Stand for Children mailer calls McCravey the “current President of the Northshore School Board."
"Stand is deceiving voters," WEA spokesman Rich Wood says.
"She's the former president," SFC spokeswoman Anne Martens explains. Given that the mailer is an independent expenditure, SFC did not talk with McCravey and Martens says SFC got her resume info from McCarvey's campaign website. The website says McCravey was the Northshore School District board president from "December 2009 to 2012."
The current president is Julia Lacey, who took over this year. Oh ... snap?
3. And a follow up to Tuesday's Fizz—"Desperation or Confidence"—when we reported that the Washington State Republican Party made a last-minute $25,000 contribution to incumbent GOP state Sen. Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island), who's facing a tougher than expected race from Democratic challenger Maureen Judge: The Republicans gave Litzow another $2,500 yesterday.
Going into the final weeks, Litzow was far ahead in fundraising, having brought in more than $466,000 with $177,000 cash on hand. Judge, had raised $137,000 with $12,000 cash on hand.
The race is one of six pivotal races in the battle for control of the state senate.
4. Be sure to check out yesterday's site: We had a couple of scoops— 1) We caught McKenna's campaign pushing homophobic rhetoric on its website and 2) the Seattle Times appears to have written up a script to deal with the flood of "cancel-my-subscription" calls.
Also: Yesterday's Cola "One Question" has some more on the Times controversy.