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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

May 30, 2012 at 6:10 AM

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Wednesday politics: Cory Booker in demand in Northwest, Gary Locke speaks on the Chen affair, Hispanic voters

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is a bona-fide big deal, after rescuing a neighbor from a burning house. Booker is the keynote speaker at the Democratic Party's state convention gala party this Friday.

Booker has stayed in the national spotlight after the fire, first getting into it with the Obama administration about the appropriateness of the campaign against Romney's Bain Capital connection, then taking it back after a likely trip to the woodshed.

Today's question: Is Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's role at Bain Capital fair game for discussion in the presidential campaign?

The Freedom Foundation, a free -market think tank, has also invited Booker to speak as part of the state Republican Party convention this weekend. The invitation was admittedly late, dated last week.

So far, no word from Booker. The group wants to hear from Booker, particularly on the issue of charter schools. "We are the big tent party,'' said Kirby Wilbur, state Republican Party chairman. "We will allow Cory Booker to talk about charter schools.''

I don't know about you, but I have been wondering about former Washington governor Gary Locke's role in the Chen Guangcheng affair in China. The new U.S. ambassador was clearly involved in the diplomatic efforts to provide safe haven to the blind activist. Locke gives the big interview to The Daily Beast.


In this photo released by the U.S. Embassy Beijing Press Office, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, left, talks with U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke, right, before leaving for a hospital at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, Wednesday, May 2, 2012. At center is language attache James Brown. (AP Photo)

Politicians in both parties are heavily courting the Hispanic vote.
Here is a thoughtful analysis about this voting bloc. A current poll shows Hispanic voters favor President Obama. This could be significant in several states.

Don't forget to catch and friend Seattle Times Politics: 2012 Elections on Facebook.

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Campaign contributions to state races

This table shows campaign contributions to each gubernatorial candidate. Gov. Chris Gregoire's funds are from before she declared she isn't running again. Click here for more info on other races.


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