Washington’s Democratic Party debuted its first advertisement in the race for governor on Thursday, one that blasts Republican candidate Bill Bryant for not saying whether he supports presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee is facing Bryant in the election.
Bryant, a former Port of Seattle commissioner, has been peppered by media in the state about Trump but has yet to publicly announce if he favors the businessman over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The online ad features clips of Trump soundbites, such as one about his onetime proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States that would last until “our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” along with snippets of Bryant deflecting questions from reporters about Trump.
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People have not been asking (Bryant) about Trump. We really only hear that from the media
Yvette Ollada, spokeswoman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant
Trump has since shifted his position on the ban, saying recently he now supports barring immigration from countries associated with terrorism.
The Democratic ad ends with text saying: “If Bill Bryant can’t make this simple decision, how can he make the tough choices as Governor?”
In a written statement, Washington Democrats communications director Marc Siegel said, “It’s clear that Donald Trump’s policy agenda for our state and nation does not match Washington values. Bill Bryant has had his chance to make this decision, and he hasn’t.”
Bill Bryant has had his chance to make this decision, and he hasn’t
Marc Siegel, Washington State Democrats communications director
A campaign spokeswoman for Bryant, Yvette Ollada, did not clarify if Bryant plans to vote for Trump in the Nov. 8 general election. She said in an email Bryant is “focused on the race for Governor and the issues that are facing the state of Washington.” Bryant’s campaign has not released any television advertising yet, she said.
“From what we are hearing on the campaign side, people have not been asking him about Trump,” Ollada wrote. “We really only hear that from the media.”
An April poll by independent pollster Stuart Elway said 48 percent of 503 registered voters preferred Inslee while 36 percent supported Bryant. The survey found 16 percent of those polled were undecided. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.
Inslee has raised about $6.7 million for his re-election campaign, according to Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission. Bryant has raised about $1.8 million so far.
The state’s top-two primary is Aug. 2, and the general election is Nov. 8.
Walker Orenstein: 360-786-1826