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May 17, 2010 at 12:44 PM

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Grumbling in GOP land about Dino

Posted by Andrew Garber

There's grumbling in the Republican ranks about Dino Rossi taking so long to declare whether he'll run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.

A letter apparently written by Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke was e-mailed to GOP officials, and reporters, over the weekend complaining that Republicans "have the ability to take this seat in the Senate away from the Democrats, but Rossi's failure to make a decision has badly hurt our chances."

Mielke is a supporter of Don Benton, a state senator who has already declared his candidacy again Murray. I have a call out to Mielke.

His letter set off a chain reaction of e-mails by party officials, some agreeing and some not.

Mathew Manweller, chairman of the Kittitas County Republican Party, and a Rossi supporter downplayed Mielke's letter, saying, "this is hardball politics. You have a Benton backer saying I'm really upset at that Dino guy."

Still Manweller said the letter represents some frustration within the party.

"I don't think this is completely manufactured," he said. "People want to know, Dino, if you're in, great we want to help you. If you're not, I'd like to help somebody else so let me know. Those are fair concerns."

Manweller said Rossi should make a decision soon. "I think Dino probably has to make a decision here and let people know within a week or so, or the milk is going to sour."

Some of the e-mail thread sent to reporters is on the jump.

From: Mathew Manweller
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2010 9:12 AM
To: Linda Peterson; 'Alice White'; 'Priscilla Osborne'; 'Commissioner Tom Mielke'

Hi Folks,

I might be a good idea if we step back and put Commissioiner Mielke's email in a little context.

Mr. Mielke is a Commissioner in Clark County--Sen Don Benton's town. He served in the Legislature with Sen. Don Benton. He is officially endorsing Sen. Don Benton.

What we are seeing here is nothing more than good old fashion hard ball politics. There is nothing wrong with that. Mr. Benton has every right to play hard ball. Politics is not a game for the faint hearted. But, in politcal terms, this is just Mr. Benton "Throwing an elbow" at the biggest player in the game and having one of his allies do it instead of doing it himself (by the way, that is also smart politics).

But, having said that, let's not get carried away with Mr. Mielke's "nobility" and "concern" for the Party. He is playing his roll. He is trying to help his candidate take down his biggest rival. This happens with every contested primary. It will happen in all the future political primaries.

Whether you support Mr. Benton in this race or some other candidate, or plan to support Mr. Rossi--make no mistake we are all going to get LOT OF EMAILS like the one Mr. Mielke sent out. It is part of the game. A hard hitting game. Let's not get thrown off our game. The Dems would love nothing more than to see us fight each other and print these emails in statewide media.

Good luck to which ever candidate you are supporting =)

Dr. Mathew Manweller
Chairman, Kittitas County Republican Party

From: Herb Hardin
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2010 7:48 AM
To: Linda Peterson
Subject: Rethinking "It's time to get past Rossi"

Well, folks, the bottom line is that it's all about WINNING! Polls show Dino winning - but none of our other candidates. So if we want to take back that Senate seat, we'd better go with a WINNER! - not fall on our own sword with pique about Dino's delay...or unfairness to other candidates. That may be true BUT it won't kick Potty Murray out (oops, did I misspell that again?) Politics is a messy game - but bashing a WINNER is self-destructive.

It is the Senate which confirms (or not) Supreme Court nominees. If we don't get the Senate back, our Supreme Court will get packed with super-left-wing Obama candidates who will FURTHER change our constitution from the bench. THAT'S what the Senate races are all about this year and in 2012.

So prudence says to ask Rossi to declare by "x" date (e.g. June 15) or potentially lose the backing of the WSRP. I hope he runs. I pray he wins, like the pollsters say he will.

Herb Hardin,
Klickitat County Committeeman


On May 17, 2010, at 7:16 AM, Linda Peterson wrote:

Ditto and well-said, Tom Mielke! It's way past time for Dino to fish or cut bait. What he's doing by not announcing a decision one way or the other is a slap in the face to the WAGOP and the voters who so strongly supported him in 2004 and 2008. Could it be that he's waiting until the last minute in order to force the state party to beg him to run and thus, anoint him as the "chosen one?" We already have one self-appointed "messiah" in DC, we don't need another one in WA state. Harsh words? Yes, but he's hurting the chances of others in the race who had the guts to make the decision to run months ago. There are plenty of other extremely viable candidates that can beat Patty Murray if the party will rally around them and support in the primary the top 2 or 3 already running. I believe Dino's antics and arrogance have lost him considerable support and credibility among WA Republicans and a lot of people have already committed to other candidates. Regardless of the polling showing Dino leading Murray, I believe we can still win without him. After all, if he doesn't run (and I expect he will), and the WAGOP will rally around the top 2 or 3, where are the voters who want to get rid of the status quo going to go? They won't vote for Murray given the choice of supporting a true conservative Republican. The 2010 election will be a referendum against politics-as-usual and Rossi is playing politics-as-usual.

Linda Peterson

State Committeewoman

Stevens County


From: Alice White []
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2010 5:29 AM
To: Priscilla Osborne; Commissioner Tom Mielke
Cc: Subject: Re: It's time to get past Rossi

This has been my thought for several many have plowed the field, planted the seeds for someone else to harvest ?

Alice White, Asotin County Chair, Asotin County Republican Central Committee

----- Original Message -----

From: Priscilla Osborne

To: Commissioner Tom Mielke

Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2010 7:42 PM

Subject: Re: It's time to get past Rossi

I agree totally.

Perky Osborne, Stevens County Chairwoman, Stevens County Republican Central Committee

On Sun, May 16, 2010 at 3:08 PM, Commissioner Tom Mielke wrote:

Dear Members of the State Committee

I am very disappointed that Dino Rossi is playing political games with the Republican Party.

We have the ability to take this seat in the Senate away from the democrats, but Rossi's failure to make a decision has badly hurt our chances.

We have other candidates who've been in the race for a long time now and who've been taking Sen. Patty Murray to task over and over on the things she is doing and not doing. Some have been paying for TV in Seattle and other areas exposing Murray's voting record. I am concerned that Rossi's failure to make a decision has been holding up contributions that would normally be going to other viable candidates. Rossi has held back with his finger in the wind long enough and it is hurting and jeopardizing good Republican candidates who can actually win this race.

Enough is enough, Rossi would be getting started way too late to have a successful campaign himself if he announced now... He needs to get out of the WAY and let others run... or we will have lost any chance to take this seat away from Murray when she is the most vulnerable she is ever likely to be.

Dino has hurt us all by waiting for no good reason; financial, political or strategic. All he's done is anger a lot of the base because he refuses to make his plans public and that makes him look indecisive while a lot of us see this fantastic opportunity slipping away because of Rossi.

I, for one have had enough.

Tom Mielke
Clark County Commissioner
District 1 (GOP)

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