February, 11th 2010

Yet another Republican to enter the field against Murray?

– Liz Mair

From The Washington Ledge, earlier this week (which I missed):

Over the weekend State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, formally threw his hat in the ring to take on Senator Patty Murray this fall.

A couple of other state GOP lawmakers have also been mentioned as possible candidates. State Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, told me this morning that he plans to run if Dino Rossi doesn't.

Good Lord.  I can't even keep track of how many people are actual or potential candidates running or set to run against Murray right now.  Fortunately, the Ledge notes that while State Sen. Linda Evans Parlette says she's been asked to run, she's more interested in running for governor.

Washington State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser seems to think this is all a good thing.  I have to say, I beg to differ.  Right now, it doesn't seem to me that Washington's Republicans are terribly far off from having a potential ten people kicking the living crap out of each other for the prize second place in Washington's top two primary while Murray coasts towards the finish line.  And second place could be achieved with a relatively small proportion of the vote from which reaching 50% plus one could be a very long reach in what will in practice be a very short period of time (Washington has an August primary).

I don't want to suggest I think Esser's crazy, but I will admit... I'm not 100% sure where he's coming from on this.  I do agree with him that Washington Republicans previously fielding well-financed incumbent congressmen (and women) with notable institutional support to run against Murray has not worked out too well.  That said, I guess my question to Esser would be, doesn't that suggest the smarter move might be to field an "outsider" candidate, maybe someone from a world other than politics altogther, rather than favoring a glut of Republicans getting into the race and potentially bloodying each other up and doing the DSCC's dirty work for it, without that committee being forced to spend a dime (which, it bears noting, would itself be a dime not spent in a state like Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Hampshire, or Colorado, all of which will be hotly contested but are in my opinion at this stage winnable by a Republican). 

Not that I'd argue that Esser is well-advised as Chairman to be engineering elections, hand-picking some candidates, and weeding out others willy-nilly, employing heavy-handed authoritarian tactics as and when needed.  But it seems like some of those in a position to help develop a Republican bench might help the party out more, overall, by, well, working with what looks like a potential glut of talent to, you know, develop a bench.  There are a lot of offices in Washington in which we could use a good Republican who is enthusiastic about serving and making a difference.  That need is not confined to Patty Murray's U.S. Senate seat.  Kudos to Linda Evans Parlette for realizing as much. [intro]


Editorial note: I leave California off my list simply because I'm involved in that race, which (it will surprise no one to learn) I do believe is winnable.


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