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Posts published in “Day: December 10, 2006”

Tri-City paper: Print as a sideline

Times are moving on, as the latest newspaper in the Tri-Cities - and it does qualify as a newspaper, as a print edition is available - is underway primarily as a (daily) on-line publication. Its editor and publisher, Ken Harvey, argues that “We don’t ever anticipate becoming daily in print because we believe technology will soon do away with most printed publications.”

The local blog McCranium wonders, reasonably, if that doesn't make it mainly a blog with a newspaper attached. And it makes the point that this newspaper arrives with a clear ideological pitch, which it does.

The Tri-City Citizen describes itself as "a locally owned weekly printed (40,000 copies per edition) and daily online newspaper reflecting a 'progressively-conservative and family oriented' perspective on our local community." More simply, and put in the current usual usage, it's a conservative paper (a quick look through home page headlines should make the point). The Herald is semi-centrist in its editorial stances, probably to the right of most fellow McClatchy papers, but well to the left of where it was when locally owned years ago, and probably left as well of many Tri-Citians.

The Citizen is also an outgrowth of the recent Tri-City Republic paper: "Many of the Citizen’s staff members had tried to provide such an alternative as members of the Tri-Cities Republic staff. Harvey says that, when it became clear the Republic lacked the financial support and business acumen needed to effectively compete with the Herald, most of the staff resigned and formed the team that has launched the new Tri-City Citizen. The Republic has since announced that it is ceasing publication."

We're skeptical of the business model, having seen so many other web efforts fail to pencil out. But we'll keep a watch.

Targeting Tebelius

This was bound to happen soon enough: Washington State Republican Chair Diane Tebelius apparently is being targeted for ouster by defeated Republican state Senator Luke Esser.

Tebelius' predecessor, Chris Vance, who resigned earlier this year, weathered a string of elections in which the state Republicans lost ground, but maybe the losses were close enough (the biggest, for governor in 2004, was almost immeasurably close) to fall not so directly on the doorstep of the state party. And Tebelius can reasonably point out that Washington Republicans held on to two hard-fought-over U.S. House seats, one of which Democrats came close to winning.

But the legislative losses were stunning, and so if the reports prove out and Esser emerges as the challenger, Washington Republicans will have the first of a series of choices to make. Were the losses of '06 partly the result of party problems? Or did they have to do more with changes in the districts (especially in the Seattle suburbs) or with individual campaigns?

There may be another layer to this too. From Sound Politics: "it sounds like Esser has already lined up some heavy-duty support. Esser works for and is closely associated with Attorney General Rob McKenna, the top Republican elected official in the state. I would be surprised if Esser would be testing the waters this publicly without McKenna's blessing. Also recall that McKenna and Dino Rossi both supported Tebelius' challenger for party chair, Fredi Simpson, last year." (Remember too that Telebius and Esser were among the candidates for the 2004 Republican nomination for the 8th district U.S. House seat won by Dave Reichert.)

This has to be caveated: Esser has not definitely said he's running; and one or more other candidates could materialize. (Mark Hulst, a veteran leader of the Skagit County Republicans, who ran for state chair in 2005, seems to have some support should he have interest.)

There's a possible indication here that the key suburban Republican leadership - whose top members have included McKenna, Esser and Rossi - may be positioning themselves for a central leadership role in the state Republican party, just at a time when the party experienced a massive defeat in just that area. Question, then: What does that translate to in terms of what direction the state Republican Party will or should take in the election ahead? A lot may ride on the answer.