Reporters love gotcha stories. Don't let any reporter tell you otherwise. Ignore all our fancy lectures about journalistic ethics and highfalutin editorial standards. A gotcha story is what we live for.

Susan Hutchison, you are giving us the ultimate gotcha story. It's the gotcha that keeps giving.

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We ask if you're a Republican.

You say you're nonpartisan.

And—gotcha!—you donated $2,075 to Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi; you donated $500 to George W. Bush; you donated $3,000 to U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert; and you donated $500 to Mike Huckabee. (Given your donation to Huckabee—who famously raised his hand when asked during a presidential debate: Who here doesn't believe in evolution?— it's not surprising that you were also a board member at the creationism-touting Discovery Institute.) And, as Neil Modie documented , you planned to run as the Republican candidate against Sen. Maria Cantwell in 2006.

Your denials only egg us on.

First, Erica C. Barnett wrote a story in the Stranger laying out the basics on your Republican credentials. Then I wrote story on PubliCola outlining your all-star GOP campaign team. Then Modie expanded my PubliCola story and expanded Erica C. Barnett's Stranger story on the Seattlepi.com. And then the Stranger linked back to Neil Modie's PI.com story.

You're stuck in our gotcha loop.

Susan, here's how you kill this "story." Just say: "Yes, I'm a Republican, and I'm proud of it." And then tell us that you liked Dino Rossi's economic platform better than Gov. Chris Gregoire's and that you liked George Bush's surge plan better than John Kerry's flip-flopping.

The "story" that you're a Republican? Over.

You may think the liberal media wants to crucify you as a card-carrying member of the GOP (and granted, a few reporters likely do), but really, the fact that you're a Republican is only a story because you're saying you aren't a Republican. Once you say, "Yeah, I'm a Republican," reporters are going to have a hard time selling their editors on that blockbuster. It's hardly front-page news that a political candidate is a Republican. It happens all the time. It's called November.

And, in fact, the Seattle Times has a track record of endorsing Republican candidates: Rossi over Gregoire. McGavick over Cantwell. Bush over Gore.

And some Republicans even win. In King County.

In 2007, Republican Dan Satterberg won the King County Prosecutor's race over Democrat Bill Sherman 54-45. In  2008, U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert  beat Democrat Darcy Burner in King County, 51-48. And also in 2008, Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna beat Democrat John Ladenberg in King County, 53-46.

I'm not saying that declaring your Republican status is risk-free. The GOP is certainly a damaged brand.

But there are some upsides to declaring yourself a Republican: The county—which everyone thinks is screwed up, with its $60 million budget shortfall—has been run by Democrats for a million years. "Change" isn't exactly a campaign slogan to scoff at.

And whichever Democrat you draw after the primary—King County Council Member Dow Constantine, Democratic State Rep. Ross Hunter, Democratic State Sen. Fred Jarrett, or King County Council Member Larry Phillips—they're  going to blast you  by "outing" you as a Republican either way. That is, in fact, their entire campaign strategy. So, take that strategy away from them.

Out yourself.

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