Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute (5/22-23; 675 WA likely voters), finds three-term Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) opening her 2018 re-election campaign in robust fashion. The results are hardly unexpected, however, since the tested Republican, former state GOP chair Susan Hutchison, surprisingly decided to enter the race just as candidate filing closed. According to the PPP results, the Senator’s early advantage is 52-36%.
Controversy has been reigning in the Washington state media about a Global Strategy Group poll (released in part on 4/12; 400 WA-8 likely jungle primary voters) that has been selectively released. The flap surrounds whether pediatrician Kim Schrier or attorney Jason Rittereiser is in second place. Under the Washington primary process, the top two candidates advance to the general election regardless of vote percentage or party affiliation. But, regardless of who is doing better among Democrats, the more important fact is that Republican former state Senator and gubernatorial nominee Dino Rossi begins the race with a commanding lead. According to the latest release from the GSG, the “uniformed”, or first ballot test question asked, finds Rossi garnering 48% support. Dr. Schrier is second with 14%, Mr. Rittereiser third at 6%, and a second physician, Shannon Hader (D), is third with 5 percent. The 8th District is a marginal Republican seat that Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn) is vacating after seven terms.
Mr. Rossi lost the closest gubernatorial race ever in 2004, falling just 129 votes short of then-Attorney General Christine Gregoire (D) in a race that took weeks to determine and several recounts.
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn) retiring from this marginal district makes the seat highly competitive next year. Over the weekend, state Senator Dino Rossi (R-Kirkland), a former gubernatorial and US Senate candidate announced he would seek the open congressional seat, giving Republicans their top recruitment prospect. Mr. Rossi first came to national notoriety in 2004, when he forced then-Attorney General Christie Gregoire (D) into a major re-count, consuming weeks, and ending in him losing the statewide contest by just 129 votes statewide. He returned to challenge then-Gov. Gregoire in 2008, resulting in a 53-47% loss. In a subsequent contest with Sen. Patty Murray (D), Mr. Rossi fell, but by a very respectable 52-48% against the veteran incumbent. In each case, the new Republican congressional candidate carried the 8th District.
Eight Democrats had previously announced for the seat, but only one had ever won an election, and that to a small local office. We can expect several elected Democratic officials to soon come forward to enter this race. King County Councilman Reagan Dunn (R), son of the late US Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R), was also considering running for the House seat but said he would yield to Mr. Rossi. Republicans uniting behind Rossi, which appears to be happening, will aid their ability to retain the open seat.
Responding to Rep. Dave Reichert’s (R-Auburn) retirement announcement yesterday, two potentially strong GOP candidates confirm they are considering entering the new open seat race. Even before Mr. Reichert decided not to seek re-election, eight Democrats had already declared their candidacies. For the Republicans, all eyes are on former gubernatorial nominee and ex-state Sen. Dino Rossi and King County Councilman Reagan Dunn, son of the late former US Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R). It is reported that Mr. Dunn will not oppose Mr. Rossi should the former decide to run. This suggests the Republicans will have a consensus candidate. The new open race is considered a toss-up.
Seven-term Washington US Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn) announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election next year. Prior to winning his congressional seat in 2004, Mr. Reichert served in the King County Sheriff’s office for 33 years including eight in the top position. He came to national notoriety for his role in apprehending the notorious Green River killer, Gary Ridgway, the most prolific serial killer in American history credited with 49 confirmed slayings though the total could be as high a ninety. Just under 60% of the 8th District population resides in King County, with about a quarter living in Pierce County. Chelan and Kittitas Counties and part of Douglas are also included. The seat will likely feature a toss-up congressional race next year. Hillary Clinton carried the region last year with a 48-45% margin. President Obama defeated Mitt Romney here, 50-48%.
Former state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D), an ex-Chancellor of Washington State University Spokane, announced that she will enter the Democratic primary with the goal of challenging House Republican Conference chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane) next year. The eastern Washington district, which stretches from the Canadian border all the way to Oregon with the major population anchor in Spokane, is a reliably Republican district. President Trump carried the seat, 52-39%, despite losing the state, 37-52%. Ms. McMorris Rodgers was first elected in 2004 and scored a 60% re-election victory last November.
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