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Monday, April 10, 2006

“Reichert may have to fight tooth-and-nail”

Posted by on April 10 at 15:35 PM

Roll Call, a D.C. publication for political insiders, has just published a story about the closely-watched House race between eastside Republican Dave Reichert and his strong Democratic challenger, Darcy Burner. (Pictured bottom right.)


The Roll Call story is yet another sign that Burner’s momentum is getting her major attention in both Washingtons. You’ll need a subscription in order to read the whole thing online, but here’s an excerpt:

Reichert May Face Tough Challenge From Neophyte

By Nicole Duran

Rep. Dave Reichert probably envies his fellow freshman Republican from the Evergreen State, Rep. Cathy McMorris.

Both emerged from tough primaries to win nationally targeted open seats in 2004. Both have distinguished themselves early in the 109th Congress and are considered rising stars in the GOP — Reichert even snagged a subcommittee chairmanship out of the gate, one of only six freshmen ever to do so. And both face unknown political neophytes in their re-election campaigns this November.

But while McMorris, whose district sits safely east of the Cascade Mountains in strong GOP territory, likely will coast back to Congress, Reichert may have to fight tooth-and-nail to become a sophomore.

Reichert represents a classic swing suburban district outside of Seattle that is becoming more Democratic. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) took the 8th district with 51 percent of the vote in 2004, compared to President Bush’s 48 percent, and Reichert won with just 52 percent last time.

“The 8th is a swing, Democratic district,” concedes Reichert’s political consultant Bruce Boram. “Any Democratic opponent who runs against Reichert starts at 43 percent [of the vote].”

Add that more than 60 percent of 8th district voters currently believe the country is on the wrong track, according to recent polls, that the popularity of Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress are at all-time lows and that the district “is definitely trending in the Democrats’ favor,” and “it’s an environment where you have to take that seriously,” Boram added.

The factors Boram ticks off combine to make a potent electoral cocktail, but what could make it a double for Reichert is money.

Democrat Darcy Burner surprised national Democrats, Republicans and probably Reichert by outraising him 2-1 in the first quarter of this year.

She still trails him in overall cash on hand, but she dramatically narrowed the ratio with a stellar three-month period that saw her bring in $140,000 in the last 10 days of March.

Boram said Reichert likely began April with more than $700,000 while Burner had $355,000 in the bank.

Burner gave her campaign $25,000 and loaned it $10,000 but is not expected to seriously self-fund.

“Darcy Burner has done a phenomenal job establishing herself as an aggressive candidate for change right out of the gate,” said Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “She’s really demonstrated she’s going to make a run at this seat.”

Neither the DCCC nor the Washington Democratic Party recruited Burner, a 35-year-old former Microsoft executive. A wealthy state Representative passed on the race, as did a number of other officeholders and the well-known radio personality Reichert defeated last time.

Burner initially had a primary opponent, but he dropped his bid and endorsed her. The Democratic members of the state’s Congressional delegation have held a fundraiser for her, and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) will headline an event for her later this month.

“Darcy has exceeded expectations at every point in her life,” said Zach Silk, her campaign manager. “I think she has a story and a biography that connects with the district. I think Republicans are going to dismiss her at their peril.”

CommentsRSS icon

Good. Reichert should have to answer for his votes cutting student loans. No free ride this time, Green River Killer-Catcher.

"Strong" Democratic challenger--is this going to be her Stranger-bequeathed adjective for the next six months?

Reichert a student loan cutter! I'm sure those leave it to beaver wannabe families on the eastside with the 2 suv garage and two kids will want him to answer for that.

Why haven't I heard of Roll Call Politics until now?

Keep fishing. How about taking a poll of the citizens in the 8th District? I think that'd carry a bit more weight.

Gomez, you won't be satisfied until she wins. Neither will we.

Funny how topic of Burner's campaign brings something very unusual to the Stranger Blog: the GOP troll. The campaign has begun!! I was kind of enjoying the conversational tone here, but clearly someone thinks there is some serious political work to be done in these here comments.

You might say that being aware of Roll Call is a sign that one knows what's going on in national politics.

Politicians generally don't spring out of thin air into the hearts and minds of constituents; word has to spread, and political publications can be important bellwethers of growing support.

β€œDarcy has exceeded expectations at every point in her life,” said Zach Silk, her campaign manager.

I would have *expected* her to complete law school. ;)

By the way, Chetbob, I'm a moderate. Especially after living here a while and seeing that, indeed, liberals are just as deluded as conservatives, just in different ways.

Darcy Burner has yet to stand up on her own and answer the bell. She continues to hide behind her campaign managers, letting them do all the talking, getting whatever members of the press they can to say vaguely positive things about her, and, in lieu of being more specific, going as far as they can in citing how evil Reichert is. Of course, this worked so well for John Kerry (though, to Kerry's credit, at least he did the talking for his campaign).

I'm not a troll: I'm legitimately frustrated at how the Democrats continue to bang their heads against a brick wall they've tried and failed to run through time and time again, instead of looking for the gateway. The gateway is not money, nor is it painting Reichert as the walking antichrist. It's convincingly building up Darcy Burner herself as a strong, independently liberal candidate, and you can't do that by raising money, kissing her ass in the press and calling Reichert a demon.

Darcy spent two days answering Eli's questions.

How much of what Eli wrote were words that he and Darcy's handlers put in her mouth, and how much of it was Darcy's own words? We'll never really know (except for Eli, no matter what he tells us she said, and Mrs. Burner herself). YOU'LL never know, Dan, unless you were sitting with them during one of the interviews.

Darcy Burner, not her campaign managers, not the media, needs to be the firsthand spokesperson for her campaign.

And over the course of two days, he couldn't find out about the year of law school?

I'm still missing how the year of law school is relevant to anyone except right-wing pedants grasping for a "story".

I'm not sure either, but I can see missing the fact of it in a 30 or 45 minute interview. But in two days of interviews, there's gotta be either an oblivious reporter, or a deliberate attempt to hide it.

Why is it relevant? Maybe she was afraid it would show her as an opportunist, or someone who doesn't finish projects she starts. I dunno.

I don't know anything about her, except the Stranger has already anointed her as Saint Darcy, and stridently pushes her cause in agitprop fashion.

It's annoying.

Aexia: Lots of us are missing the relevancy.

Mr.neo-lefty troll: As far as building up Burner as "a strong, independently liberal candidate" its clear she has been doing that top to bottom with everyone she has been in contact with supporting the Democrtic party. I'm sure the electorate will also have no trouble believing she is "a strong, independently liberal candidate." The electioneering question is whether she can stand up and say she is not going to be misrepresented and at the same time avoid appearing to be a whiner or a bitch when she does it.

Chetbob, go take a poll in the 8th District and let's see if you're right. If you're as convinced she is the real thing as you think she is, go show me some hard evidence. Otherwise, I'm not the one being the troll here.

I think, in your insulated opinion, you seem to perceive fringe media coverage and journalists preaching to the choir as the electorate of WA's 8th Congressional District buying her en masse as a candidate.

And quite ironically, I'm being such a pedant about this because I DON'T want her to lose. But I'm seeing the Dems making the exact same mistakes with her that have cost them control of Congress for the last 10 years, and instead of learning from it, they're just skipping right back down the exact same road.

You can keep calling me a troll, but whether or not you and The Stranger wins whatever argument you seem to think you're having with me and other dissenting opinions, the fact remains that Burner still has a lot of character and persuasion related work to do. As it stands, all this is simply hand-rubbing chuckling in the fortress, over plans that may or may not work.


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