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Morning Wire: Republican candidates for governor, Sound Transit, LNG hearing

Our Senior Reporter Emily Boerger was in Tacoma and Lynnwood reporting stories for the Wire this week. Next week, I’ll chip in with reporting from Spokane.  It’s part of a statewide approach we try to take to our story telling outside of the hustle of the legislative session.

We’re building the Wire carefully since our re-launch in 2017, and it’s allowed us to tell stories from across the state, with commentary from across the political spectrum. So, thanks for reading our stuff, and for supporting our work at the Wire. 

With help from Emily Boerger

1. Grading Inslee’s run for president 

Andrew Yang gets a “cold shoulder” from the media, but is now polling 6th among Democrats running for the party nomination, while Beto O’Rourke started hot but has faltered considerably. With this topsy-turvy movement, how should we rate Jay Inslee’s run for president?  Overall, I grade the campaign a B. I dissect each part of the campaign here.

From a Democratic operative in Danny Westneat’s recent column: “It’s going to be a long four years… And we’re determined to be all smiles about it.” From Jim Boldt’s commentary: “It would be nice to get a new style, a new approach, and a new energy level in the state mansion.”

2. JT Wilcox’s Salmon Bake on Saturday

House Republican Leader JT Wilcox is hosting the 9th annual Wilcox Salmon Bake this weekend at the Wilcox Family Farms. It’s a big draw for Republicans and organizations looking to find a balance to the dominance of Democrats in state politics. I understand there may be a significant announcement for a new statewide candidate running for office at the Bake.

Four candidates have filed to run for the Republican nomination for governor. There is some buzz about Dave Reichert running, something he has generated and walked back from multiple times before. I offered these thoughts on Reichert running for governor back in 2017: “The bottom line – whether it was 2001 or 2016 – is that Reichert has never shown the political ambition to take on the tough race. While this may be to his political detriment, it might be more of a positive comment about him personally.”

3. Protesters rally at LNG project hearing

Prior to a public hearing on Tuesday afternoon, hundreds rallied in opposition to Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility project on the Tacoma Tideflats. The project has faced opposition, led by the Puyallup Tribe, since it first began over concerns about environmental impacts. The Tribe says they weren’t consulted during the planning of the facility. 

At the end of July, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency “made a preliminary determination” approving the project, and opened up public comment through September 9. The air permit discussed during the public hearing is considered to be one of the final milestone permits for the facility. 

4. Sound Transit breaks ground on Lynnwood extension

Sound Transit breaks ground at the Lynnwood Transit Center today, signaling a major milestone in the construction of the Lynnwood Link Extension project. Sound Transit Board Members were joined by Governor Jay Inslee, Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene at the event. Emily Boerger is there literally as I type this to cover the event.

The 8.5-mile extension from Northgate into Snohomish County will serve four stations in Shoreline, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace. During the event, Inslee congratulated Sound Transit on the project. “I’m proud of this project and the people that delivered it,” said Inslee. “These projects aren’t just good for commuters. They’re good for our economy—providing thousands of great-paying jobs during construction and beyond.”

5. The evolution of media in Washington State

File this under “self-inflicted wound.”  Crosscut, which has built a remarkable media operation since joining KCTS, published a criticism of an article it published, focusing on just the one story and dressing it down. At best, it seemed like gratuitous self-flagellation. At worst, it seemed like an organizational rebuttal of one of the leaders of its new union. 

Meanwhile, “The Divide” has been out with a few episodes for Sunday morning political discussions. Following the 2012 demise of “Up Front,” this is the only locally produced Sunday political show in the market. For your “live journalism” needs, Geekwire has it’s summit teed up for October, and the 2019 Inland NW State of Reform Health Policy Conference is coming up next week in Spokane.