Donaldson hopes Cougs can help him over hump

BUOYED BY POLLING numbers that show him in a dead heat for second place in Seattle's primary race for mayor, former WSU basketball star and long-time NBA player James Donaldson is reaching out to the Cougar Nation to help give him the runner-up spot in the primary – a spot that would earn him the right to battle incumbent Greg Nickels in November's general election.

Donaldson told CF.C that he's asking WSU fans who live in Seattle to cast their vote for him. He's planning to distribute that message virally. It'll start with several of his Cougar pals, like Jack Thompson, who then in turn will forward words of support for Donaldson on to their Cougar friends and so on.

"As all of us who had the joy of going to school in Pullman know, Cougars share a special bond. So I'm reaching out to the crimson faithful and directly asking for their support and confidence," he says.

"My message to the Cougar Nation is pretty straight forward," says Donaldson, who was a key part of the hoops renaissance coach George Raveling orchestrated in the 1970s. "The lessons I learned in Pullman about perseverance, hard work, team building and civic responsibility are the cornerstones of my campaign. I think every Cougar can relate to that. Government in Seattle can serve the citizens much better than it has under Greg Nickels and I want to lead the charge."

Donaldson is one of a host of candidates vying for the chance to take on Nickels, a two-term incumbent, head to head in November. Despite a shoestring budget that is dwarfed by his chief competitors, Donaldson's campaign is in the thick of the race according to polling numbers that came out last week.

August 18 is the last day ballots can be postmarked.

Donaldson, a recent inductee into both the WSU and Pac-10 sports halls of fame, spent nearly two decades in the NBA after graduating from WSU. He has made Seattle -- the first stop in his long pro career -- his home since 1980. Since 1990 he has owned and operated a series of physical therapy and fitness centers throughout the region, and been very active in a variety of community organizations.

"We need government that works smarter, harder and better. I pledge to give you the same perseverance and dedication I once brought to the basketball court, and that I've been bringing to my small businesses throughout the community for the last 19 years," says Donaldson.

To learn more about Donaldson's campaign, to volunteer or to donate, head to www.teamdonaldson.com.

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