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Morning Wire: 10th CD Debate, Behavioral health, Mike Vaska

We are super excited to be co-hosting tomorrow night’s debate with the candidates in the 10th CD, and we’re building a similar event with candidates for Lt. Governor for later this month.

But, next week, we’re going to take a week off from content. So, the site will be quiet and our email newsletters – this one and our Daily Wire – will be on pause for a week.

Enjoy the 4th of July this weekend! We’ll be back with this newsletter on the other side of the holiday.

With help from Michael Goldberg

1. 10th CD Candidate debate tomorrow

 Tomorrow evening at 7:00pm PDT, the Washington State Wire and The Nature Conservancy of Washington will host a virtual debate with candidates for the 10th Congressional District. Six candidates were selected to participate based on their fundraising totals in the most recent FEC filings. Confirmed to participate are Kristine Reeves, Marilyn Strickland, Beth Doglio, Joshua Collins, Phil Gardner, and Nancy Slotnick. 

In a nonpartisan and impartial format, candidates will be allotted equal time to respond to questions regarding environmental policy, economic policy, social justice, as well as tell us about their campaigns. The debate is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. This may be the only virtual conversation among the candidates ahead of the primary, so we’d be very much honored to have you join us!

2. Behavioral health subcommittee discusses COVID

The Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee held a meeting Monday morning to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on behavioral health in Washington State. The committee heard an update on the DOH’s forecast for behavioral health impacts on Washingtonians, actions taken by the Health Care Authority to support behavioral health during COVID, and the Medicaid MCO response to the virus. 

During the meeting, panelists testified on a broad range of topics including the state’s response and COVID’s impact on behavioral health clients and providers. You can check out the additional documents and our coverage of the meeting to learn more.

3. Chopp, Stokesbary on corporate payroll tax 

Former Democratic Speaker of the House, Rep. Frank Chopp and House Republican budget leader, Rep. Drew Stokesbary discussed their divergent approaches to legislating for Washington State’s economic recovery in separate interviews with TVW’s Mike McClanahan last week. Chopp indicated confidence that his caucus would support the proposal he introduced earlier this month to raise $2 billion in revenue for social services and public health via a corporate payroll tax and capital gains tax.

Stokesbary pointed to budget woes in Oregon and California, states with progressive taxation, to make his case that Washington would be no better off with a new tax structure. He’s in favor of aligning spending with revenue levels from two years ago. He did acknowledge, however, that avoiding a corporate payroll tax could be difficult given that corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, and Expedia came out in favor of a payroll tax this past session.

4. Q&A: Mike Vasca on his run for AG

Longtime Seattle lawyer Mike Vaska is running to become Washington State’s next attorney general. Vaska, a Republican, is hoping to deny incumbent Bob Ferguson a third term in office by running a campaign in the vein of Northwest Republicanism. For this reason. he’s earned the endorsements of former AG Rob McKenna, former Gov. Dan Evans, and former Sen. Slade Gorton.

This strategy, of running on a mainstream message independent from that of the national party, follows three years Vaska spent as chair of Mainstream Republicans of Washington (MRW) Alliance, where he mulled over what it would take to build a winning coalition. In an interview with reporter Michael Goldberg, Vaska answered questions about his vision for the AG’s office, his prior experience, and why he believes the tumult of recent events presents a unique opportunity for Washington State Republican candidates.  

5. A few senate races to watch

Ahead of ballots dropping in the primary in a few weeks, tracking fundraising totals for senate candidates can give you a sense of where things are, and where the focus of the larger political and policy community is. For example, the 10th is an open seat where the Democrat, Helen Price Johnson, reports $176k raised to the $99k raised by Republican Ron Muzzall. Democrat Danielle Reser raised $179k to Republicans combined $59k (Jenkin with $23k, Dozier with $36k) in the 16th. In the 17th, Republican incumbent Lynda Wilson reports $122k to Democratic challenger Daniel Smith’s $101k. 

In the 28th, Republican incumbent Steve O’Ban has raised $341k to Democrat T’wina Nobles $181. This race will likely see well over $1m spent when it’s all done. In the 19th, Democratic incumbent Dean Takko faces a likely-to-be-self-funded Republican challenger Jeff Wilson. I’m told he’ll spend a fair amount of his own money, but he only reports $16k so far. If he is serious about challenging Takko, he’ll need to show it in July C-3 reports. And, in the 25th, the open seat has only $5k separating the two candidates. We’ll see if either can widen the gap in July. 

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