Congressman Dave Reichert, who represents the socially moderate but fiscally conservative 8th District, voted last night to maintain "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the ban on gays in the military. (The majority of the house voted to repeal it.)
So today, Equal Rights Washington, the state's largest gay-rights group, is setting its sights for the mid-term election on Reichert, who represents the district southeast of Lake Washington. "We always believed he was against gay rights" says Josh Friedes, director of Equal Right Washington (ERW). "This was such an easy vote for Reichert because overwhelmingly, 70 to 80 percent of Americans support repeal of DADT, and the 8th Congressional District is more socially liberal than most of America. This was not only a vote against the gay community but a vote against his own district."
ERW doesn't usually endorse in congressional races, leaving that to national groups. But the organization—feeling political power as leading player in the fight to approve Referendum 71 last year—might make an endorsement of Suzan DelBene, the Democrat challenging Reichert this year, says Friedes. "If he won't support us on something as simple as DADT," he says, "it bodes poorly for our ability to work with him in the future to end [the Defense of Marriage Act], which is really the vote where the 8 Congressional District will be very important."
"We are so outraged by this vote," Friedes adds, "This is the vote that shows his true positions."