Who can spark Washington’s GOP base?

Jerry Cornfield

Jerry Cornfield

President Donald Trump says he wants the Grand Old Party to keep its grip on Congress and vows to campaign on behalf of Republican candidates he wants to see in the majority.

With Republicans in danger of losing up to three congressional seats in Washington, is a return to this state possible?

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee certainly hopes so. With his Twitter tongue firmly in cheek, he invited POTUS to drop by to help his party’s hopefuls, knowing a visit from the nation’s leader would fire up Democrats in the fall campaign cycle.

Susan Hutchison, ex-state GOP chairwoman and candidate for U.S. Senate, probably wouldn’t mind.

Hutchison, a prominent bellhop on the 2016 Trump presidential train and the party’s sacrificial lamb against Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, knows the president can really excite the GOP base, and it is very much in need of a spark.

But Republican U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Vancouver, along with congressional candidate Dino Rossi of Sammamish would certainly prefer the president not stop by anytime soon.

They’re trying to hold onto those GOP seats. They know Trump is unpopular in parts of the districts they are campaigning to serve. They should rightfully worry a Trump rally like the one in Everett could do them more harm than good if it adds too much fuel to an already fired-up Democratic base.

The president does what he wants to do. If Trump does arrive in Washington one day this fall, don’t be surprised if those three miss the event due to a scheduling conflict.

In other news: Big Pop and Big Oil and Billionaires means Big Money will once again be flowing into statewide initiative campaigns.

Leading the way is Initiative 1631, which would impose a new fee on carbon emissions of oil refineries and other select industries. As of Wednesday, it had attracted nearly $10 million in spending, of which $5.4 million is in the cache of opponents.

Phillips 66, which has a refinery in Ferndale, contributed $3.5 million to the opposition effort Aug. 10. Andeavor, formerly known as Tesoro, gave $1.5 million in July. It operates a refinery in Anacortes.

Supporters have pulled in $3.8 million, of which roughly half was spent getting the measure on the ballot.

Those with billions of bucks are early backers of Initiative 1639, which would add new restrictions on buying and storing of firearms.

Paul Allen, a founder of Microsoft and No. 44 on the Forbes list of billionaires, has given $1.23 million while Steve Ballmer, another ex-Microsoft exec and No. 22 on the list, is in for $1 million. Nick Hanauer, who’s pretty wealthy too, matched Allen’s contribution.

The NRA did form an opposition committee. It’s given it $100,000 thus far.

A third measure, Initiative 1634, would bar cities and counties from levying a local tax on soda pop and food.

Not surprisingly the Coca Cola Co. and Pepsico Inc., vanguards of the soft drink industry, like this measure and have poured in $2.9 million and $2.1 million respectively so far.

Opposition hasn’t materialized in a big way yet.

It’s only August, so expect much more money to make its way into these campaigns in the next three months.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.


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