Morning Fizz: $7 million committed to the charters cause?

Former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels talks to Crosscut writers and editors. Credit: Berit Anderson/Crosscut

1. Jolt pooh-poohed the charter schools initiative Tuesday—it seems a bit late in the game to just be getting your signature gathering effort underway for the July 6 deadline (they'll need 241,000 valid signatures).

But a source tells Fizz that the campaign already believes it has $7 million in commitments toward supporting their cause, including $4 million from Bill and Melinda Gates and $1 million from Nick Hanauer, the local investor, big Democratic donor, and ed reform advocate who caused a flap earlier this year by bad mouthing Jay Inslee over education issues. (Note: We'd originally that it was the Gates Foundation but we now understand.)

Speaking of Jay Inslee, if the charter initiative does go forward, watch for the anti-charters Washington Education Association, the teachers' union, to match the charter camp in spending, which will drain a traditional source of money away from the Democrats in the governor's race.

2. The King County Democrats gave their sole endorsement to former state Rep. Laura Ruderman last night in the crowded field of Democrats running in the new 1st Congressional District. You'll remember that the group's endorsement committee punted on the issue, after only considering Ruderman's main rivals, former state Department of Revenue Director Suzan DelBene and netroots star Darcy Burner.

But put to the full body, Ruderman won last night with a 33-11 vote over DelBene.

3. Speaking of endorsements, former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is having trouble getting Seattle Democrats to back his bid for Washington Secretary of State against fellow Democrat Kathleen Drew, a former Gov. Chris Gregoire aide from Olympia. So far, four of the six Seattle districts — including the 11th, the 43rd, and the 37th, and the 34th (Nickels' home district in West Seattle) have gone with Drew.

4. Fizz has a call in to Washington State Democratic Pary Chair Dwight Pelz to see how he feels now about what once appeared to be quite a coup; the keynote speaker at the June 1 state Democratic convention is Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

The mythical New Jersey Democrat, who literally saved a woman from a burning building earlier this year, tweaked Democrats on Meet the Press this week, by defending Mitt Romney's former equity firm Bain Capital against a pro-Obama attack ad on the firm.

Booker told Meet the Press:

I have to just say, from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. To me, it’s just we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America, especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.

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