I'm at Mom's tonight. She lives in the country in Eastern Washington, but due to a fluke of geography the only local news she gets is from Portland, Oregon. It's weird, several Washington towns are closer, but that's how it works. For me, the advantage is that I get to keep track of Oregon politics along with Washington politics. Tonight, we're hearing the pre-election round-up for Oregon on KATU, channel 2. It's pretty boring.
The big race in Ortegon is the Senate race between the Republican incumbant Gordon Smith and Democrat Jeff Merkley. Smith / Merkley has become one of the most expensive races in the country. Since last summer, when I visit Mom, Smith, Merkley, anti-Smith, and anti-Merkley ads are almost the only ads I see on Portland teevee. The news is showing them voting. That's the extent of their coverage.
Next, the news makes a quick mention of the Washington gubinatorial race. This is the big race in Washington. Democratic governor Christine Gregoire is being challenged by Dino Rossi, who refuses to admit he's a Republican. This is a rematch from 2004, a race which was decided by a little over one hundred votes after several re-counts. The Republicans claimed there were too many absentee votes for Gregiore from Seattle. This was clear evidence of voting fraud, they said. The Bush Justice Department wanted the fereral prosecutor to bring charges against the Democratic Party. The prosecutor, a man with the clearly honest name of John McKay looked at the evidence and said there was no case. AG Gonzalez fired him. It was a bad year for John McKays in Seattle. When I drive over to Mom's, I pass a large campaign sign in Toppenish for Rossi. Printed across the bottom it says "Don't Let Seattle Steal This Election!" That's classy Dino. I can see you plan to be the governor for all the people of Washington.
Now the news is covering local elections in Oregon. The anchor, a well groomed guy named Steve Dunn, is showing the division between the parties in Salem. It's a good year for the Democrats, he says. They're expected to pick up some seats. If the Democrats can win only half of the seats they've targeted, they"ll have a big enough majority that they can raise taxes on anything they want without restraint.
I don't know if Dunn has a history of that kind of biased crack, but it really made me sit up and pay attention. After that.... nothing. They went back to pretty boring and formulaic coverage. They gave more time to the snow on Mt Hood than on anything of substance (Northwestern news is the most weather obsessed that I've ever seen). A qick Google doesn't reveal anything major about Dunn's biases, but I'm going to keep an eye on him during future visits to Mom's.