You just had to laugh Wednesday morning in the state House when the final gavel fell on the first special session of the year, sometime around 12:10 a.m. – and everyone was waiting around for the opening gavel of the second one. State Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend, had one of the best lines of the year.
But before Washington State Wire tells you what exactly he said, this requires a bit of explanation for the uninitiated. In the state’s political world, everyone knows that Republican Rob McKenna has been hamstrung by rules that prevent him from raising money for his gubernatorial campaign while the Legislature is in session, while Democrat Jay Inslee is not. The “session freeze” applies to Attorney General McKenna because he is a state official. Inslee, until recently a congressman, hasn’t had to worry about it at all. In fact, Inslee’s latest campaign fund-raising numbers show that he raised $583,000 in the last month, for a total $4.83 million. (Never mind the fact that $1.1 million of it came from his old congressional campaign and the state Democratic Party.)
Last month, during the three-day break between the regular legislative session and the special session that started March 12, McKenna scrambled and raised some $270,000.
Which brings us to Rodne’s one-liner. Approximately five seconds after Speaker Pro Tem Jim Moeller brought down his gavel to end one session, and before he could pick it up again to start a new one, Rodne piped up: “Rob McKenna just raised $500,000!”
The Republican side of the House burst into guffaws.
The fund-raising race resumes today, of course. It was actually another seven hours or so before the Legislature wrapped up its business and the fund-raising restrictions were lifted, and the odds are that it will take more than somewhat more than five seconds for McKenna to hit the half-million-dollar mark.