May 27, 2010
10:51 AMThe Wind Machine
● Dino Rossi (R) announced Wednesday that he is in the race to acquire the U.S. Senate seat now held by Patty Murray (D-Washington), who is running for a fourth term. Immediately, this becomes a campaign that gains national attention, given that Senator Murray was thought to have an easy path to re-election. While Mr. Rossi still must beat some other Republican candidates, notably Eastern Washington farmer and former NFLer Clint Didier, in the primary on August 17, he is the instant favorite to be on this fall’s ballot against Senator Murray. This is not withstanding the announcement last week that Sarah Palin, and presumably many others loosely affiliated with the Tea Party, are supporting Mr. Didier. One sure, practical effect of today’s news will be an escalation in campaign spending on all sides. This is a race that will be decided on November 2, probably by the numerous and normally securely liberal voters of Puget Sound.
● The other Pacific Northwest race of national interest is in Idaho’s 1st District. On Tuesday, Raul Labrador (R) upset the favorite Vaughn Ward (R) to earn the right to face Representative Walt Minnick (D) on Election Day. The conservative Mr. Ward lost due to egregious campaign missteps ( e.g., plagiarism), while the conservative Mr. Labrador, born in Puerto Rico, probably benefited from one of the more engaging family photographs I have seen used in a political campaign.
This race is of national interest due to the intense fight to control the House of Representatives and because Representative Minnick is a first termer who is thought to be at risk in what has been historically a safe Republican district. To complicate matters, Representative Minnick is in tune with many of the values of that district and has been one of the few, if not only, incumbent Democrats endorsed by the anti-spending insurgents known as the Tea Party.