Early this morning, I got a tip from a very well-informed, well-connected Washington Republican who reads this blog: In the race to succeed Rep. Brian Baird, Jon Russell (one of the Republicans in the race) would be dropping out today. This has subsequently been reported widely on Twitter, and word is getting around the district.
What has not been discussed publicly, however, is a rumor swirling in GOP circles, which this reader filled me in on: Not only is Russell out, but he is expected to endorse Jaime Herrera, who is vying with David Castillo for the support of Republicans in the district ahead of the top-two primary later this year.
If this proves to be correct and Russell does endorse, it's unlikely to fill the hearts of Castillo and his team with much joy. However, it's also worth emphasizing that a forthcoming possible Russell endorsement is unlikely in and of itself to propel Herrera into first place so far as Republicans are concerned. Castillo remains in the race full-bore, today slamming the Obama administration for proposing a Health Insurance Rate Authority which he says "should look very familiar" to Washington residents, in view of authority already exercised by Washington State's Insurance Commissioner. He also has a top notch team working in particularly key areas like new media, which are sometimes overlooked (erroneously) by campaigns (full disclosure: I work with Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn in relation to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC). On which note, Herrera is also today announcing an overhauled campaign website.
As ever, there's lots going on in the third. Stay tuned...
UPDATE 4:39PM ET: Russell has now endorsed Herrera-- via Facebook. Full text below the jump. [intro]
Jon Russell, Republican Candidate in Washington's 3rd Congressional District is announcing his departure from that race. In doing so, he is giving his endorsement for that race to State Representative Jaime Herrera. He will be formally announcing his candidacy for Washington State's 18th Legislative District Position #1 on March 8th in his hometown of Washougal.
In making this announcement, Russell said, “I started this race for U.S. Congress in June of 2009. Since that time I have met the most wonderful people across Southwest Washington, from Long Beach to Packwood, from Camas to Olympia. The stories I've learned, of personal success in the face of adversity, have inspired and encouraged my heart in the midst of our present tumultuous times.
Unfortunately, with the announcement of Congressman Baird not seeking another term, coupled with State Representative Jaime Herrera entering the race, there has been a dramatic negative shift in our fundraising ability. Many of my supporters have been torn in their loyalties between Representative Herrera and me. I know that we are close enough on almost every issue, with the exception of term-limits, which I fully support. I have confidence in her to make the right decisions on our behalf in Washington D.C. I encourage my supporters to rally behind Jaime in her bid for Congress.”
In regards to his 18th District Legislative race, Russell Continued…
"As the owner of an urgent and family care clinic, I know that I can have a direct impact on how health care is handled in our State. And, as an entrepreneur whose business has hired employees in the midst of the current recession, I know what it will take to get Clark County and Cowlitz County back to work.
As Mayor Pro-Tem of Washougal's City Council, I understand the importance of working with local governments in the 18th Legislative District to eliminate the unfunded mandates that drive up the cost of government and necessitate increases, including the water rates and sewer rates levied against citizens.
As a City Legislator, I have cut property taxes. I've also sponsored e-Verify, to eliminate the hiring of illegal immigrant labor by our city. And, I have voted against the use of eminent domain, to protect personal property rights. I am ready to take on the role of State Legislator, with the support of the people of the 18th District."