Washingtonians are doing their part to help President Bush reach his $200 million fund-raising goal for re-election. According to the consumer advocates at Public Citizen, one of the keys to the president's fund-raising success is his Rangers and Pioneers. All 455 members of this elite group pledge to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 each by bundling contributions from other donors. Since the maximum an individual can give is $2,000, the Rangers and Pioneers have to put the squeeze on lots of friends, family, and business contacts. Six Washingtonians are on this list, most from the high-tech sector: telecom exec and spouse Susan McCaw, Edge Wireless CEO Wayne Perry, and two Microsofties—Chief Financial Officer John Connors and attorney John Kelly. U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn, R-Bellevue, and Pacific Seafood CEO Frank Dulcich round out the list. By contrast, none of U.S. Sen. John Kerry's top fund-raisers are from Washington. Bush has raised more than $2 million in the state, while the Massachusetts Democrat has raised just over $148,000, according to the Federal Election Commission. Even when you combine the top four Democratic presidential candidates in terms of local fund-raising (Howard Dean, John Edwards, Kerry, and Dennis Kucinich), Bush still beats them in the money game 2-to-1, giving new meaning to the nickname the Evergreen State. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
Whatever you think of Gary Locke's reign as governor, at least he's giving some people their money back. Since announcing in July he wouldn't run for a third term, he's refunded $185,042 in contributions given to fund his once-presumed 2004 re-election campaign. According to Locke's latest public disclosure filing last week, high rollers getting political rebates include Costco Chairman Jeff Brotman and his wife, Susan Brotman ($1,400), builder Jon Runstad and attorney Judy Runstad ($1,750), Uwajimaya CEO Tomio Moriguchi ($735), telecom magnate Bruce McCaw ($595), the Seattle Mariners ($648), Weyerhaeuser ($875), the Washington Software Alliance ($700), the Washington State Auto Dealers Association ($875), and the ever-grateful Boeing Employee's Credit Union ($875). Enron also got back its $1,000. (Apparently the fallen energy giant isn't letting a little bankruptcy interrupt influence buying.) Locke's campaign chest was bulging early with $547,000 around the time of his withdrawal. Though the refunding is ongoing, he's still got $249,000 in the bank. Maybe he could forward it to, say, the children whose medical benefits he cut last year. RICK ANDERSON
"Last week I competed in 'the Funniest Celebrity in Washington' stand-up comedy contest. . . . I concede I was beaten fair and square by Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who performed a devastating impersonation of President Bush. At one point, Baird's Bush confessed his astonishment at learning that 'terism' has three r's, and that 'agiculture' has one. The whole thing will be on C-SPAN in the next few weeks, and Baird's act alone is worth your time." —Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten during an online chat (washingtonpost.com, March 16)
"Britney's all flash, no substance." —Headline for a review of Britney Spears' concert in Seattle (Seattle Times, March 13)