Tim Eyman (center), a Republican candidate for Washington governor, walks with a group of supporters on May 14 during a rally at the Capitol in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Tim Eyman (center), a Republican candidate for Washington governor, walks with a group of supporters on May 14 during a rally at the Capitol in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Eyman is in the voter guide after removing Inslee reference

The initiative-promoter turned GOP candidate was told references to the governor weren’t allowed.

EVERETT — Tim Eyman will have a statement in Snohomish County voter guides for the Aug. 4 primary after he edited Jay Inslee out of his original submission.

Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell said Monday that Eyman sent new wording which complies with rules governing the content of candidate statements. It makes no direct mention of Gov. Inslee, whom he is trying to unseat.

It “has been accepted and will be included in the local voters’ pamphlet,” Fell said in an email.

Those pamphlets, which Fell described “as an important tool,” will be sent to roughly 480,000 registered voters in Snohomish County.

Eyman, a professional initiative promoter and first-time Republican gubernatorial candidate, is one of three dozen people challenging Inslee, a Democrat, who is seeking a third term.

A week ago, Fell rejected Eyman’s initial 300-word statement and gave him until Friday to turn in a new version or appeal to the county prosecutor.

At the time, Eyman accused Fell of censorship and vowed to appeal. But instead he sent Fell new verbiage Friday afternoon.

“The revised statement was submitted under protest,” Eyman wrote in an email. “If he censored this revised one, we absolutely would have filed a lawsuit and I’m 100% confident the judge would side with us.”

State law prescribes candidates talk about themselves in the statements, and it permits counties to adopt their own rules on the boundaries of acceptable content.

Snohomish County administrative rules say candidates are supposed to address issues, not use obscene or libelous language and not “comment on or make any judgments about opponents or incumbents.” The county auditor has the authority to reject statements “deemed inappropriate.”

Fell highlighted numerous sentences in Eyman’s original offering in need of rewriting because Inslee was identified directly or through clear inferences, such as one line referring to Washington having “a Seattle Legislature, Seattle Supreme Court and a Seattle Governor.” (Inslee’s actual private residence is on Bainbridge Island.)

In the new version, Eyman swaps “a politician” for Inslee and drops the line about a Seattle governor. He gets in a plug to “Reject Referendum 90,” which would repeal the new sex education law signed by Inslee. And he condemns “any politician … allowing lawlessness, riots, and armed occupation of city streets,” a not-so-veiled reference to what’s happening in Seattle.

Once it became clear the revised wording would be accepted, he considered whether the changes made it as good as the original, Eyman said.

“And the truth is this: it’s actually dramatically better,” he said.

Voters can read that original version online.

All candidate statements are run “exactly as submitted” in pamphlets produced by the state. Those guides also contain a disclaimer that the Office of the Secretary of State “does not make corrections of any kind or verify statements for truth or fact.”

The state provides only an online voter guide for the primary. Should Eyman advance to the general election, the state will mail pamphlets to all registered voters — including in Snohomish County — containing the statement.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

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