FORMER U.S. representative Maria Cantwell has gotten some prominent Democrats excited about her comeback campaign: a potential challenge to fellow Democrat, state Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn, for the party's 2000 race against Republican Senator Slade Gorton. State Democratic Chair Paul Berendt told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that a Cantwell candidacy would be "very exciting." However, Cantwell might want to take a closer look at her support base. Keith Grinstein, a member of Cantwell's exploratory committee and her treasurer, has some strange allegiances. According to the Federal Elections Commission, Grinstein, Vice Chair of Nextel International, has donated $1,000 to George W. Bush, $1,000 to John McCain, and -- here's the kicker -- Grinstein has maxed out to Gorton, Cantwell's potential opponent, contributing $2,000. Sure, it's commonplace for big donors to cover their bets and dole out cash to both parties, but this oddity takes political hypocrisy to a new level. Grinstein, who's also maxed out to presidential candidate Al Gore, says you have to separate personal politics from what you do as an officer of a corporation. "Personally, I find it difficult to support Slade," Grinstein says. "But he's very pro-business." Grinstein says he kicked in to the Gorton campaign at a private Gorton fundraiser, thrown by Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and telecommunications entrepreneur and Nextel board member Craig McCaw.

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