1. State Sen. Don Benton (R-17) has sent a cease-and-desist letter to his opponent, Democratic state Rep. Tim Probst (D-17), threatening to sue Probst for "slander and defamation" if he doesn't retract statements he made about Benton's record in the Senate---specifically, that he missed nearly 300 votes between 2009 and 2012.

"Your use of the false claim that Senator Benton missed votes is clearly intentionally misleading and knowing and malicious, and done illegally to harm Senator Benton's reputation," the letter, signed by Benton's attorney Peter Mozena, says.

WashingtonVotes.org, which monitors votes by state legislators, confirms that Benton missed 299 votes between January 2009 and December 2012.

2. The council honored former city council member Cheryl Chow, who, at 66, is dying of brain cancer and came out as gay last month. Speaking from a wheelchair, her gray hair shorn back to her skull, Chow told the council a story about her mom, the legendary restaurateur Ruby Chow, who died when Chow was 63.

Chinese people, Chow said, are "basically not demonstrative"---bowing, for example, instead of hugging. But as Ruby Chow was dying, the younger Chow's partner, Sarah Morningstar, urged her to go in to her mother's bedroom every night and tell her she loved her. "So I went in, and I said, 'I love you, Mom,' and I kissed her on the cheek. No response. And I kept doing it over and over, and then one night, I said, 'I love you, Mom,' and I kissed her and I walked out of her bedroom ... and just before I went out of her door ... she said, quietly, 'I love you.' And it took 63 years for me to hear that, but it was worth it."

Chow also clarified what she meant when she told KING 5 that her life had been "wasted" because she hadn't come out sooner. "When I said I wasted 66 years, I didn’t mean because I was in the closet," Chow said. "What I meant was, I could have helped so many more people and kids from committing suicide and feeling bad about themselves."

Then she bowed to the council and wheeled herself away from the dais.

3. Fifth District state senate candidate Brad Toft attempted to get a protective restraining order against Kelly Ann Pratt, the woman who accused Toft of "jokingly" swinging a bat at her head when she worked for him at a Bellevue mortgage firm. (Toft is running for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Cheryl Pflug, a Republican who has disavowed Toft for what she called his "egregious and disreputable behavior.") Late last month, a judge denied Toft's restraining order request, concluding that there were "no threats of violence" or "immediate threat[s] to Toft.

 4. In case you missed it: In a video released yesterday, Romney claims to have "inherited nothing," says he'd do better in the upcoming election "if my parents had been Mexican," and calls 47 percent of Americans freeloaders who make the outrageous assumption that they have a right to things like shelter and food.
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