It's been a busy few days here in DC what with CPAC and all. But, getting back to the business of writing about what's going on in the other Washington (the one that Dino Rossi likes to say is "green with trees, not green with money"), here's a quick roundup of news regarding the race in Washington's third.
Over the weekend, State Rep. Deb Wallace jumped back out of the race to succeed Rep. Brian Baird, sounding a party-unity theme (“We cannot let the 3rd Congressional Seat go to an anti-choice, anti-health care Republican” ; “We must come together and support a Democrat who will keep the people at the heart of their mission to serve”).
In her statement, Wallace cited the importance of the third electing a “true moderate Democrat." But in addition to selflessness, her decision connotes a certain fear-- not necessarily regarding her ability to hold the seat, but rather, one tends to think, regarding Democrats' ability to do so. The third is top of local Republicans' "can poach" targets; it's high on the list of such targets, nationally, too-- and neither of the two principal Republican candidates are going easy.
For her part, later this week, Jaime Herrera will be in DC for a previously reported fundraiser breakfast with her old boss, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and her big-name endorser, former Sen. Slade Gorton. However, today I learned that in addition to that breakfast fundraiser, while here in the nation's capital, she'll also be participating in a "Meet & Greet" lunch-- also with Rep. McMorris Rodgers. My source tells me the lunch will take place on Thursday, at 12:00 noon, in the NRCC Main Conference Room.
This is likely to be a good networking event for Herrera, and she'll walk into it feeling good: She's heading to DC fresh off winning a straw poll conducted by the Cowlitz County Republican Party on February 13 (the results were published by her on Facebook today) during its Precinct Caucuses. According to the Facebook note, Herrera "received 88% of the total straw poll votes. Her primary opponents, Jon Russell and David Castillo, received 7% and 5% respectively." The note adds that "Cowlitz was the only county in the 3rd District that held a straw poll at its Precinct Caucuses."
That's an impressive showing, to be sure, but it bears mentioning both that a) Clark, not Cowlitz, County is the population and power base within the district and b) a straw poll is just a straw poll (and there are plenty of critiques that fairly get leveled at a great many of them-- this one will be no exception).
In any event, it's another poll that Castillo seems to be focused on-- that operated on Facebook by the NRCC, and relating to one of those famed moneybombs. Meanwhile, he's been criticizing a "moneybomb" of a different sort of late-- namely, the stimulus, passed just over a year ago now. Per Castillo, "One year ago, the American people were promised by this Administration and Democrats in Congress, that if their plan were implemented we would not see unemployment rise over 8%. What we got nationally was a rate of nearly 10%. While here in southwest Washington – the 3rd Congressional District – unemployment is well into double digits. The district’s largest county (Clark) is over 14%."
Expect to hear more of this particular point from both candidates-- and expect that figure to be an ongoing sense of angst to Democrats as they move forward. It's a primary reason why Democrats just can't risk a divisive intra-party fight in the present circumstances (though whether Deb Wallace is in, or out, they may still get one). Republicans are chomping at the bit. Keep watching. [intro]