Elections

Mailer in Thurston County commission race called misleading -- by the person it claims to support

E.J. Zita, who sits on the Port of Olympia commission, said she is supporting Tye Menser, a Democrat running for Thurston County commissioner.
E.J. Zita, who sits on the Port of Olympia commission, said she is supporting Tye Menser, a Democrat running for Thurston County commissioner.

A Thurston County politician is denouncing a campaign mailer as misleading and the group behind it as anti-democratic.

E.J. Zita, who sits on the Port of Olympia commission, said she is supporting Tye Menser, a Democrat running for Thurston County commissioner against incumbent Bud Blake, an independent.

But a mailer that went out to voters recently tells people to write in Zita’s name for county commissioner, saying: “Don’t be fooled by fake Progressives like Tye Menser…”

“I do want to formally state that this flier is fake, that Tye Menser is the progressive candidate and I support Tye Menser,” Zita told The Olympian on Saturday. “And I’m dismayed that the far right is doing this dishonest campaign.… This is anti-democratic.”

The mailer was sent by a group called Real Progressives in Thurston County, which was set up by Glen Morgan, a conservative activist and contentious figure in the world of Washington politics and campaign finance.

Morgan told The Olympian Saturday he was not trying to mislead anyone but rather present options for progressive voters.

“I’m not a progressive, but for the real progressives, this is a choice,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything dirty about giving people more options.”

Blake said Saturday he was not involved with the mailer and that people should “stick to the facts.”

According to campaign disclosure records, Real Progressives in Thurston County is funded mostly by a political action committee called A Brighter Thurston County, which received $10,000 from the Thurston County Republican Party.

Morgan is listed as the campaign manager for Real Progressives in Thurston County and A Brighter Thurston County.

Morgan, who lives near Tenino, also has created a PAC called Conscience of the Progressives. The Seattle Times reported Friday that group sent mailers supporting “progressive” candidates in close races in the 19th Legislative District in southwest Washington and the 6th Legislative District near Spokane.

In both cases, the mailers urged voters to write in names of people who are supporting the Democrat in the race.

Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869
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