Jan Angel keeping press at arm's length as campaign winds down

Staff writerOctober 21, 2013 

UPDATE 10/22: Angel is breaking her press silence. She called me Tuesday to say that she never intended to stop interviews completely.

"I'm not hiding from anybody," she said. "There's only so many minutes in a day."

She said she's getting calls from all over the state and she can't take time away from voters to talk to, say, an Eastern Washington radio station.

That's different from what her campaign had told some news outlets, turning down even those with readers or listeners in her district and telling them flatly she wasn't doing interviews. On Tuesday she gave reasons for declining interviews with some, but not all of those outlets -- saying for example that a KOMO news crew showed up at her office and house with no warning Monday.

ORIGINAL POST:

Ballots are hitting mailboxes and so reporters are writing the usual stories previewing the key races, which this year includes the contest between Democrat Nathan Schlicher and Republican Jan Angel for a state Senate seat.

But read some of the recent coverage, and you might notice something odd: Angel declined to comment. Set-up stories by the Associated Press and KUOW either quote her spokesman or her remarks at public forums.

The AP, in fact, reported the spokesman said she would do no more interviews before the election. The Kitsap Sun got a no-comment as well and did a weekend piece about the silence. 

Less than two weeks ago, Angel was still doing interviews. I talked to her at length on the phone for a story I wrote on the biographies of the two candidates, although she declined an in-person interview, saying she was too sick at the time.

Silence is an unorthodox strategy. Candidates usually try to seek out media coverage, not hide from it.

What gives?

"This is a smaller community," Angel spokesman Keith Schipper said, "and so she is just focused on what legislative campaigns are typically focused on which is contacting voters or talking directly to voters."

Of course, most legislative campaigns don't spend $2 million, as the two candidates and their allies have in this record-setting showdown.

"At the same time," Schipper said, "we do have other TV interviews that she’s doing, so its not like she's completely dodging the media."

One TV interviewer isn't taking no for an answer. Keith Eldridge of KOMO tweeted today about his adventure trying to chase down Angel:

 

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