Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Update in the race for state party chair

So there are reports out there that the "fix is in" on who's going to win the race for state party chair. I've heard a few sources tell me that they're pretty sure Dwight Pelz is going to triumph no matter what, but I'll believe that when I see it. The theory is that Pelz has the backing from key people (like Paul Berendt, who I predicted would give Pelz his endorsement) that a candidate would need to win.

Running against Pelz is Greg Rodriguez. I've personally endorsed Greg, and I have no regrets about doing that. Anyone who's followed NPI over the last few months knows that Greg did an admirable job serving as treasurer for Washington Defense (NPI's campaign to defeat Initiative 912) and he's definitely earned my endorsement. I don't know Dwight Pelz, and if he wins, I would hope he doesn't harbor a grudge towards people who backed someone else for party chair.

If Pelz wins, I hope he'll prove himself to be a good chair, by striving for party unity and not party division.

I've also heard a couple other people have decided to run for chair, but I haven't heard anything further about that, so we'll see.

David Goldstein points out this morning that there's something else we'd like from the new state party chair:
However, I do want something from the new chair: innovation and access. Paul Berendt and the Dems did a great job fighting the legal battle in last year’s election contest, but they and the Gregoire campaign/administration did an absolutely disastrous job fighting the PR war. This time last year I was often beside myself with frustration at the lack of cooperation (and effort) coming from the party and the campaign, as they got their asses kicked by the relentless media war launched by the BIAW and the Republicans through paid media, talk radio, the right-wing blogs, and the rest of their media infrastructure.
We agree completely with this statement. The entire reason that NPI set up Pacific Northwest Portal in January of 2005 was to counter what we saw as a massive void. Republicans were out in force on every front in their public relations war to savage Gregoire and Democrats. The local talk shows (especially on KVI) were on fire, the BIAW was sending out postcards touting Orbusmax and (un)SoundPolitics, and the Republicans were slamming newspaper and TV reporters with a barrage of news releases and press conferences, attacking King County Elections, Ron Sims, and of course Christine Gregoire.

We knew something needed to be done. And we starting developing the blueprint for Pacific Northwest Portal. The Portal was meant to serve as a gateway to reality based news and views - not only to activists, but also to the media. It has served its role admirably, and has become even more useful since we launched it, thanks to a never ending series of upgrades.

Things have improved vastly. The state party's communications staff is now sending press releases to bloggers (thank you very much) and having a dialogue with us. The state party's website, in fact, even has a link to Pacific Northwest Portal.

Communications are important. You can have an outsanding legal team but still lose in the court of public opinion. And Gregoire's current approval ratings reflect that Republicans prevailed in the several month public relations war over who really won the Governor's race.

So what do bloggers want? We want a chair who will pay attention to the progressive blogosphere, keep an open ear, an open mind, and an open heart, and somebody who will embrace party unity and friendship with all Democrats.

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