1. Yesterday’s Tea Party victory in Kentucky (following last week’s Tea Party victory in Utah) makes it clear this is no fluke.

However, given Washington state’s top-two primary system—where candidates need to appeal to the center—it’s not clear that we’re going to see Tea Party conservatives like Clint Didier knocking out establishment Republicans like Dino Rossi. At least, that’s what a Republican consultant told me yesterday. (We spoke before the Kentucky news came through.)

My contrary theory is that the Tea Party vote does matter in Washington because top-two primaries still break down into R and D voting blocs—we know it’s going to be a Democrat vs. a Republican in the 3rd Congressional district even without a closed primary. And it’s the base of both political camps that show up in the primary. And so, if state Rep. Jaime Herrera (R-18), who’s running for the open seat in the 3rd, wants to advance to the general as the Republican, she definitely has to appease the Tea Partiers despite the supposed moderating influence of the top-two system.

This is all to say, the Tea Party movement is a fascinating political development. And PubliCola has been covering it from its inception in February 2009.

Here’s some of our coverage from the past year and a half as we've tried to get a bead on the movement:
•The inchoate movement holds its first rally in Westlake Center in February 2009.
•The movement builds with a tax day rally in April 2009.
•The movement takes hold in state legislature among Republican reps.
•Chris Kissel profiles local Tea Party leader Keli Carender in advance of the national Tea Party convention in February 2010.
•The movement continues, Tax Day April 2010
•Right after the Scott Brown win in Massachusetts, we interviewed U.S. Sen Maria Cantwell and asked her to differentiate her anti-Wall Street populism from the similar rhetoric we were hearing from the Tea Party.
•Chris profiled the GOP feild (sans Rossi) that's trying to capitalize on the Tea Party movement—including main Tea Party flag bearer Clint Didier.

2. 10 days ago,  we explained why Dino Rossi hasn’t announced his candidacy yet. We explained that he was still looking for a campaign manager. (His old campaign manager, Afton Swift, has moved on to political consulting. Swift, for example, is advising Jaime Herrera.)

Finicky Rossi had trouble lining up a replacement, according to our GOP sources, but he’s reportedly got the right person lined up now. Expect an announcement next week after the new manager has had time to get the operation ready to go.

3. Left wing Patty Murray challenger Richard Curtis dropped out the race yesterday. In his grandiose good-riddance email in which he ironically  accused others of giving "hyperbolic speeches devoid of content" while also pontificating about "this theater of the absurd masquerading about democracy," Curtis included  a rant about the mainstream media: "The for-profit media have too much of a profit motive in the theater to encourage a contest of ideas and the dominant political parties have no interest in it either," he wrote.

But simultaneously and, apparently obliviously, Curtis used Jim Brunner's hot story in the mainstream Seattle Times yesterday about Tea Party candidate Clint Didier's reliance on federal farm subsidies to find an example of the "flaming hypocrisy" we see from politicians.

4. The break room for Seattle City Council members and staff has always been a pretty open place, with reporters wandering in and out to buy a pop and see who's there. No longer: A new sign declares loudly: "Break room for STAFF ONLY!" Why the change?

Apparently, KING-5 reporter Linda Brill had developed a habit of "camping out" in the break room, council sources say, setting up her computer at a table by the vending machines.

We here at PubliCola certainly take liberties with city resources, but we generally limit it to setting up shop in the lobby by the elevators, where we can see everyone come and go.