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1. Republican State Sen. Don Benton (R-17, Vancouver) has brought out an odd character witness to defend himself against the charges being made by his Democratic opponent Rep. Tim Probst (D-17, Vancouver).

Probst is reminding voters that Benton flopped as Republican Party Chair. (Benton was voted out as chair after eight months in 2001 after the 2000 elections when Maria Cantwell (D-WA) beat longtime Republican incumbent Slade Gorton; when Republicans lost critical suburban seats in the legislature; when the party spent money on a new building that bitter Republicans jokingly called the Cantwell building, grousing that the money should have been spent to help Gorton; and when the party left money in the bank rather than going all in during campaign season.)[pullquote]"He was asked to resign and then he was voted out," says Probst campaign consultant John Wyble. "We're happy to correct that. It's not any less damning."[/pullquote]

Called in to deflect the charges? Republican political consultant, Chris Vance.

Vance said in a statement issued by the Benton campaign yesterday:

"I can say without a doubt that Tim Probst’s statement regarding Don Benton’s tenure as State Republican Chairman is false and misleading. While there were disagreements about how Don spent Party funds, there were never any accusations of 'fiscal mismanagement' during his term as Chairman."

Vance, however, is the very person who ousted Benton as party chair, criticizing the party's failure to hold on to seats in swing district suburbs.

And Probst's campaign says there was "fiscal mismanagement," pointing out how bitter the party was at the time over Benton's decision to keep cash in reserve.

Back in 2001, the Seattle Times reported:
Since November, Benton has been blamed by party officials for not doing enough to help Sen. Slade Gorton, for not spending enough money on other candidates and for buying a new party headquarters building in Olympia without the approval of the party executive board.

Last month he ignored the executive board's call to resign.

Probst's campaign does cop to Probst getting it wrong when he said Benton was forced to resign. "He was asked to resign and then he was voted out," says Probst campaign consultant John Wyble. "We're happy to correct that. It's not any less damning."

The Tacoma News Tribune has more, including their opinion about Benton's threat to sue Probst for libel over the whole flap.

2.  Gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna will hold a one-hour televised debate at 9 pm on October 11. It will air as a rare joint broadcast between all the local networks and will feature a panel of political correspondents from all the stations.

The broadcast will be aired immediately after that night's vice presidential debate.

This will be the candidates' third televised debate (for our coverage of the earlier debates start here). A fourth debate, hosted by KING 5 and the Seattle Times, is scheduled for October 16.

3. The Metropolitan Democratic Club, which is announcing its endorsements today (spoiler alert: They're all Democrats) has not only endorsed the campaign against I-1240, the charter schools initiative, they've voted to hold their annual fundraiser to oppose the initiative, choosing the anti-charters campaign over other endorsed measures including the gay marriage and pot legalization campaigns.

MDC president Justin Simmons says the group holds one big fundraiser a year prioritizing a candidate or ballot measure they especially support.

4. Mayor Mike McGinn's office provided more information yesterday about the inclusion in McGinn's budget of a new, 180-space surface parking lot at the Woodland Park Zoo---a project that will cost the city an estimated $2 million.

The new surface parking lot is effectively a compromise between the zoo (which wanted a 1,400-space, multilevel parking garage) and local residents (who argued that a huge new parking facility would adversely impact both the zoo and their neighborhood).

The zoo already has 754 parking stalls in high-attendance periods, and another 2,300 on-street parking spaces are available within walking distance of the zoo; on summer nights, only about 60 percent of those spaces are taken up by neighborhood residents and zoo patrons.

That makes  it somewhat difficult for the zoo to argue for a massive new parking facility, although they tried, arguing in a May 2012 planning document that the hills near the zoo "may not be realistic for zoo guests with kids, grandparents, and gear."