OLYMPIA — Republican Bill Bryant is running out of time in his quest to become Washington’s next governor.
The latest statewide poll found that when October arrived many voters, including some in his own party, were still unfamiliar with him and what he’s all about. That helped explain why Bryant trailed incumbent Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee by 10 points entering the final weeks of the election.
Bryant might be in a better position if the state Republican Party — particularly its leader — expended as much energy promoting his campaign as Donald Trump’s pursuit of the presidency.
Bryant needs money, desperately so, to air television ads in the Puget Sound region where so many of the state’s voters live. Inslee had raised nearly $5.5 million more than Bryant, as of Wednesday morning [Oct. 12]. And there’s a pro-Inslee Super PAC with another $1.3 million it’s itching to spend.
Meanwhile, the state Republican Party ended any visible financial support to Bryant after the Aug. 2 primary. Its last direct contribution to his campaign came July 29, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission reports.
But party chairwoman Susan Hutchison — a viral hit since defending Trump’s caught-on-tape comments in 2005 as the nominee simply channeling his inner Bill Clinton — hasn’t stopped raising money.
She’s been working hard to harness the locomotive power of the Trump train to haul in money to help elect GOP candidates up and down the ballot.
“Like you, I’ve been around for quite a few elections. I can honestly tell you that I don’t ever recall the passion, energy and determination behind anyone like we’ve seen coalescing behind Donald J. Trump,” she wrote in a solicitation letter sent out in the days before the controversial tape surfaced.
“Whatever the reason, my mission is to take that passion for Mr. Trump’s candidacy and his bold leadership and extend that momentum down the ballot to other critical races where home grown bold leaders of our own are looking to Make Our Evergreen State Great Again!” she wrote.
In the letter, Hutchison does single out the campaigns of incumbent Secretary of State Kim Wyman, state auditor candidate Mark Milosicia and Commissioner of Public Lands candidate Steve McLaughlin as ones they are focused on helping. She also cited the potential to “take control” of the Legislature with enough wins in key races.
Bryant isn’t mentioned.
By itself, that’s not a bad thing since he wants nothing to do with the presidential nominee.
But the Bryant camp is discouraged to see it occurring in October when it hoped to be the recipient of greater attention and resources from the state party especially when it’s clear Trump has no chance of winning in Washington.
Time is running out.
Gov. Jay Inslee and Bill Bryant will debate for the third and final time at 8 pm Oct. 19 in Pasco. It will be carried live on several TV stations including KIRO 7, KOMO4, FOX 13 and KCTS 9.
Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623; firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @dospueblos.