April 27, 2010
U.S. Senate Race - The Thinning Starts

The Republican field narrowed by one with Chris Widener's withdrawal from the race. That still leaves ten announced Republicans with possible number 11, the big elephant in the room, Dino Rossi, still playing coy about his intentions. If Rossi gets in, it is expected the other challengers would bow out except Paul Akers who says he's running regardless of what Rossi does. Aside from Rossi, Akers, with personal funds, and Clint Didier, with Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman as his finance chair, look like the best hope for raising the money to match Senator Murray's bulging war chest. This will not be another tilting with a windmill year for Republicans, Murray is in trouble. Akers, Didier, Dr. Art Coday and State Senator Don Benton are all claiming to be close to Murray in the polls.

Rossi would clearly be the Republicans best hope IF, after losing two quests for Governor, his heart is really in the race. Governor Gregoire cleaned his clock in the 2008 gubernatorial debates on TV. While Patty Murray is no Chris Gregoire, she is often "misunderestimated". She's a tough campaigner who has co-opted veterans' groups, brought home the bacon and supports Boeing. It will be a down and dirty race as evidenced by Democrat preemptive anti Rossi ads and web sites already in the media.

Filing closes June 11 but that is too long to wait for Republicans to unite behind a single candidate willing and able to defeat the "Mom in Tennis Shoes". It will take all the time between now and November 2 to convince a majority of Washington voters that they are not well served by a tax and spend liberal. It's decision time Dino!

cross posted on clear fog blog

Posted by warrenpeterson at April 27, 2010 10:53 AM | Email This
1. I say announce ASAP that you're not running. As an adept politician you're an excellent 'behind the scenes', 'get things done' individual. There must be a capacity more suited to you. You are not a good debater and you tend to not rally a crowd like a contender must. You just appear to be too nice a guy. Sen Murray has a track record that will be well defined thru the campaign, her military friendship will be exemplified and every bit of minute minutia will be elevated to the hero stature. Give the other(s) a chance to build up a head of steam and focus on your profession and family. :)

Posted by: Duffman on April 27, 2010 11:31 AM
2. Witness the potential for a train wreck via the atrocious 'top-two' primary system, whereupon a Demo runs to the left of Tennis Shoes securing the vote of Marxist Seattle, she runs a moderate campaign, and the Rs split the vote. Voilà, two leftists in the General.

Lord save us all.

Posted by: yaddacubed on April 27, 2010 01:12 PM
3. Duffman seems to be quite concerned of the possibility of Dino running against his favorite queen, her Dullness. Frankly, Duffman the Liberal, should be concerned even, if Micky Mouse was running against her.

Posted by: Daniel on April 27, 2010 01:34 PM
4. As an independent and one who genuinely likes Mr Rossi I'd like nothing more than to see him win; obviously I would vote for him.
Having said that, I don't believe he can win...simply as that.
What the Republicans need is someone 'in the mold' of John roberts (Chief Justice); do you remember him before Congress? Someone who has complete 'command of the facts' and who totally exudes confidence in his ablility and one who instills (at least reserved) fear in those who are want to challenge him. I'm not familar with all of the candidates who are potentially running, but I do surmise that Dino Rossi is not that person.
And...if Micky Mouse were running against Sen Murray, he too would get my vote. (I'm not a tennis-shoe mom fan) :)

Posted by: Duffman on April 27, 2010 01:46 PM
5. Well, Duffman...If your position is true as stated, you haven't a thing to worry about. Anything short of a Cardboard Cutout will win against Patty Murray...PERIOD!

Posted by: Daniel on April 27, 2010 02:43 PM
6. Here's a better strategy:

Do NOT unify behind any candidate until it's very late. Make this race about Murray, the most liberal Senator in the Senate (a lower ACU rating than any other Senator with more than 1 year of experience).

The left will have a tough time attacking 3, 4, or 5 potential candidates, and their mudslinging will be even more obvious as they try to paint all with a broad brush.

In the mean time, ALL go after Murray with her liberal, tax and spend, deficit-building approach. Highlight real differences between you and the other candidates, but in a positive way, because the reality is that ANY of them would be a massive improvement over Murray.

Wait as long as possible, remember Reagan's 11th commandment, and focus on the real challenge in this race: eliminating Murray.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on April 27, 2010 02:54 PM
7. I saw Craig Williams at a recent ? and answer session courtesy of the 912 group of Tacoma. he seemed to answer alot of hard ?s in fact he actually welcomed them! He actualy has more to offer than Dino Rossi. Check his website and see what you think?

Posted by: Laurie on April 27, 2010 03:21 PM
8. This is not 2008. I believe Rossi would win hands-down against Dim-Bulb Patty, Duffman. Of course you never know with all the King County Commies.

Posted by: Saltherring on April 27, 2010 03:23 PM
9. No one is "CLAIMING to be close in the polls" as the article states - they all INDEED ARE CLOSE! We don't need Dino to enter the race. We need someone who chose to enter MONTHS ago because he truly wanted to help his country. There are two candidates who entered months ago and have won some straw polls - Clint Dider and Art Coday. Personally, I like Coday because he answers questions at the candidate forums with much more depth and understanding of all the issues. Plus he's a doctor who works with Medicaid patients and the elderly, so he can counter Patty when she stands a little kid next to her at a debate and wants everyone to feel sorry for his lack of healthcare.

Posted by: Greg on April 27, 2010 05:52 PM
10. I think you'll find that the Dems have written Murry off. Any future funding for Patty will be token in nature. The Dems know that Murray is Toast and will merely put up a brave face for the inevitable.

Posted by: Daniel on April 27, 2010 06:45 PM
11. I agree with Warren's comment. I'd like nothing better than to see Patty Murray lose, but in reality the planets will have to be in alignment and the opponent needs to take the fight to her.

Maybe my view will change, but it's too early to make a reasoned judgment. Didier would be an interesting candidate as would Akers - both seem to have backing. I don't know much about Coady, but am also believing that Rossi should not run - if he doesn't have fire in the belly, like he evidently does not, he is wasting his time.

Posted by: KDS on April 27, 2010 07:06 PM
12. In Missouri, Claire McCaskill couldn't beat weak gubernatorial nominee Matt Blunt in 2004, yet beat incumbent Sen. Jim Talent in 2006. I hope that Dino Rossi will be able to do the Republican equivalent.

Posted by: T.J. on April 27, 2010 08:29 PM
13. [Sen. Murray] has co-opted veterans' groups...

This Seattle liberal eagerly anticipates a senatorial campaign which consists primarily of a Republican hectoring veterans about how their votes "belong" to him.

Rossi would clearly be the Democrats' best hope IF, after losing two quests for Governor, his heart is really in the race.

Fixed that for you. You're welcome.

Posted by: tensor on April 27, 2010 08:43 PM
14. Go, Patty Murray.....out the door, that is~

Posted by: Michele on April 27, 2010 09:07 PM
15. Rossi has nothing to gain by getting in now and a whole lot to lose. I hope he waits until filing week to announce. There really is no advantage to getting in the race now. He already has high name ID and he'll be able to fundraise instantly. Plus, all the publicity or whether or not he'll run is giving him a ton of free press.

Posted by: Mike on April 27, 2010 10:33 PM
16. It's time to narrow the field down even further. Not all candidates should be treated equally since some, frankly, don't stand a prayer. There are really only three Republicans running for the US Senate at this stage of the game; Akers, Benton, and Didier. (Plus Rossi, if/when he gets in). They are the only ones truly putting campaigns together that have the potential to be competitive on a statewide level. The others, while all well intentioned, are simply in over their heads and should consider running for positions further down the ballot, otherwise they're going to be pretty bored after the primary. Seriously, if someone would like to explain how Coday, Salazar, Williams, beat Murray with their shoestring soapbox campaigns, I'd love to hear it. They should all be running for state leg seats.

Posted by: Mike on April 27, 2010 10:50 PM
17. I took the liberty of classifying the “tiers” as I see them.

Tier 1: Our best Shot to Retire Murray
Dino Rossi

Tier 2: Formidable Challengers
Paul Akers, Don Benton, Clint Didier

Tier 3: Good Guys In Over Their Heads; Should Run for State Leg Positions
Art Coday, Craig Williams, Rod Rieger

Tier 4: Maybe They’ll Get Their Mothers to Vote for Them, Maybe
Sean Salazar, Wayne Glover, Scott Johnson

Posted by: Mike on April 27, 2010 11:09 PM
18. Has Rossi ever proposed a government program, agency, or department that he would abolish? I remember many he specifically said he would keep or expand when running for governor.

he does not sound like he would represent what I want.

Posted by: Lysander on April 27, 2010 11:20 PM
19. Dino Rossi has to consider one thing if he runs. If he runs and loses this time he is done as a legimitate candidate. If he loses and tries to run again he will be Washington State's Harols Stassen. (If you do not know who he is look him up on wikipedia.) He will become a joke. I would sit this one out if I were him. I would challenge Cantwell. I would campaign hard for whoever the nominiee is. (I am supporting Paul Akers Myself.) Dino could look like an elder statesman and could propell himself to the senate in 2 years.

Posted by: Mathew "RennDawg" Renner on April 27, 2010 11:58 PM
20. Dino Rossi has to consider one thing if he runs. If he runs and loses this time he is done as a legimitate candidate. If he loses and tries to run again he will be Washington State's Harols Stassen. (If you do not know who he is look him up on wikipedia.) He will become a joke. I would sit this one out if I were him. I would challenge Cantwell. I would campaign hard for whoever the nominiee is. (I am supporting Paul Akers Myself.) Dino could look like an elder statesman and could propell himself to the senate in 2 years.

Posted by: Mathew "RennDawg" Renner on April 27, 2010 11:59 PM
21. Mike, have you seen the current slate of candidates or are all your tiers just based on money and name recognition? Some of your lower tier guys are pretty smart and darn good speakers IMHO.

Three well known candidates with money and name recognition have all lost to patty murray big-time in the past! Given that fact why would you use the same criteria to determine your tiers this time and not give one of the lower tier guys a chance?

Dino will have nowhere to go but downhill from the excitement of him entering the race. He lost handily to Gregoire in 2008 and has already told the public by his actions that his heart isn't in the race. It will show.

Paul Akers is spending lots of money but isn't catching on. He's a nice guy but the two times I've seen him the audience tune out within 30 seconds when he spoke.

Don Benton has a reputation that proceeds him. He got ~4% support at the last Spokane candidates forum and his campaign workers told me they aren't getting the reception they thought he would get.

Clint Didier is popular NFL star but he can never win because he doesn't watch what he says and the Dem's have video of all his crazy statements. He primarily appeals to the extreme far right and you can't win in Washington with just them. He also flip-flopped on the repeal of don't ask don't tell at the last Spokane forum. In March he said he supported repeal at the Spokane candidate's forum. Last week he said he supported it. Like I said, he doesn't watch what he says.

Money can't solve the problems of any of those guys.

On the other hand, money COULD help candidates like Coday and Williams because they are quality candidates. It would have helped Widener as well but he dropped out. Of these two candidates:

Coday has an edge on health care being a doctor, but he has also painted himself into the far right religious pro-life corner. He may be able to overcome it if he can get a large portion of the AARP vote for his work with Medicare.

Williams seems to know more about the issues than the others, is well spoken, and has avoided social issues in favor of fiscal concerns. That could help in King County but may hurt in Eastern Washington.

I agree that the other candidates probably should be looking at other races.

That's my 2 cents on the race from what I've seen, but usually it's the big players who decide these things and not us small people.

Posted by: MikesBain on April 28, 2010 08:37 AM
22. You make a good point about heart. I don't think Rossi really wants to be a Senator - if he did he would have said so by now. I do think that Don Benton is a good challenger and would make a great senator but nobody is giving him any credit because everyone is waiting for Rossi. At a certain point, we should tell Rossi to sh*t or get off and let us all move forward.

Posted by: Laura on April 28, 2010 09:05 AM
23. MikesBain,

Very good analysis. I agree with most of your points. I have been to two of the candidates forums, mostly because I wanted to judge the candidates' stage presence and see how they respond to tough questions. I don't dislike Coday or Williams; they're just not taking the steps necessary to build a successful statewide campaign. It takes more than just being smart and be a good public speaker. I'd like to see them be successful this fall so they can make a positive change in government. We need good candidates for the state leg positions too. I think it's a waste for only 1 to advance past the primary and have the rest sitting on the sidelines for the general when there are many uncontested state leg races out there. Maybe some live in leg districts already held by R's, but I doubt all of them do.

Posted by: Mike on April 28, 2010 03:49 PM
Akers put on a good show at the 47th caucus...I think he'd be a breath of fresh air, blowing in from the outside.

Inside air? Very stale...

Posted by: John Bailo on April 28, 2010 06:10 PM
25. If Rossi wavers much longer he'll be known as Dunno Rossi or Dontknow Rossi :)

Posted by: MikesBain on April 29, 2010 06:23 AM
26. I am with many in that Rossi needs to either declare that he is running or stay away. We need to be able to decide based on who is in the race and who isnt. Not who might be. I happen to think that Clint Didier has a wonderful presence and would be a great breath of fresh air for all of us. Yes, he is from Eastern Washington and we have not had a Seantor from Eastern Washington since, I dont know when, when was the last time or have we had one ever? But I think that he would be a great choice, he has my vote.

Posted by: Blanchard on April 29, 2010 06:59 AM
27. Didier is a good man. The last Eastern Wash. guy who won a Senate race was in the 1930's. Will Didier be able to handle the backlash from moderates in King County when they see some of the things he has said at forums about dying for his country and going to jail, let alone his Ron Paul militaristic views?
Art Coday, on the other hand, is an authentic Conservative and Republicans, who can't be attacked for saying any outlandish things at forums and can put up a great debate in the health care issue, being his is an M.D.

Posted by: Greg on April 29, 2010 07:47 PM
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