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1. Mayor Greg Nickels held his campaign kickoff fundraiser on Saturday afternoon at the Central Area Senior Center at 30th Ave. S. just south of Jackson St.

Team Nickels was in a jolly mood because less than 24 hours earlier, on Friday afternoon, City Council Member Tim Burgess—perhaps the most legitimate name to surface on the list of potential Nickels challengers—announced he wasn't running. (Morning Fizz alerted you on Friday morning, btw, that Burgess was "leaning not running." Learn to trust The Morning Fizz.)

It was a casual Saturday affair of jeans, sweaters, potato salad, burgers, cokes, and Doritos—and there was a more-than-respectable turn out. Although it was heavy on insiders and staffers. And I didn't see a single City Council Member there. 

Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis (grilling hot dogs on the back deck) was candid about his satisfaction with Burgess' decision not to run, repeating what Burgess had told him: Burgess isn't running because the big donors in town were going with Nickels—and Burgess just didn't know how he was going to raise the money.

Democracy rocks. 

As for the other names still being mentioned—former City Council Member Peter Steinbrueck and former Seattle Super Sonic James Donaldson—Team Nickels seemed most nervous about Steinbrueck; everyone there, for example, kept asking me about Peter's intentions. I do know this: Steinbrueck polls well against Nickels. 

2. Both contenders to replace King County Executive Ron Sims—King County Council Members Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips—were working the room at the Nickels' fundraiser (always on opposite sides, however).

I brought up the same question with both guys: What's up with filling the Executive spot between now and the end of the year? It seems a little dysfunctional and, frankly, like a lack of  council leadership that the issue is still in limbo.  Constantine didn't have time to talk, he said.

Phillips, however, was chatty and took the opportunity to dis Dow. "That seems like something the council chair [Constantine] should have worked out [by now]," he joked.

3.  State Sen. Jenea Holmquist (R-13, Moses Lake) gets the "Best Press Release of-the-Session-so-Far" award.

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Sen. Holmquist—the ranking Republican on Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles' (D-36, Ballard) Labor, Commerce, and Consumer Protection Committee—fired off what I'd call an omnibus press release against the Democrats on Friday afternoon, as the last week to pass bills out of policy committees came to a close.

Lambasting a series of Democratic bills that she says will "kill jobs" and cause "higher prices," Sen. Holmquist's press release started out by saying the Democrats passed "four controversial bills" that essentially tell Washington businesses to "go to Idaho!" (Unable to contain her outrage, however, Sen. Holmquist actually went on to flag seven bills.)

Included on Sen. Holmquist's "In What Universe Does this Make Sense?" list: 1) a bill that prohibits businesses from forcing employees to go to meetings where the employer is trying to influence workers' beliefs on political, religious, or union matters;  2) the "Cap and Trade" bill (the Democrats call it a "Cap and Invest" bill, Holmquist calls it a "Cap and Tax" bill; 3) a bill guaranteeing a construction warranty for people who buy new houses; and 4) a bill trying to stop the BIAW from spending workers' comp dollars on political campaigns. 

Sen. Holmquist is certainly not scared of controversial bills herself. She has sponsored bills this session: to repeal the family leave act; to weaken minimum wage laws; to amend the voter-approved renewable energy initiative; and to make sure the words 'Under God' stay in the Pledge of Allegiance.  

4. On Sunday evening, 4-term Seattle City Council Member Jan Drago announced on her Facebooks page that she's not running for re-election. It's hard not to break character here because even though I disagreed with most of Drago's positions, I liked her a ton. Her successor has some classy shoes to fill.
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