A “credible” opponent for Cantwell?

The Republicans are still trying to find a credible opponent for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) in 2012. Former Bush Deputy White House spokesperson and Bush-Cheney ‘04 Press Secretary, Scott Stanzel is considering it.

But I said “credible.”

And now Seattle Weekly‘s Mike Seely writes:

…lately we’ve been hearing somewhat credible rumors that 8th District Congressman Dave Reichert might be up for abandoning his seat and challenging Cantwell. So is this chatter serious, or is there a stealthier factor at play here?

By “stealthier factor” he means that Reichert is using such rumors to leverage a more favorable redistricting outcome.

Seely ponders:

But what if Reichert’s motives are more pure? What would ensue would be a fascinating race between polar opposites: Cantwell, the wonkish brainiac who takes on issues of substance yet struggles with retail politics and staff retention, versus Reichert, the dull knife who gets by on Ken-doll looks, law-enforcement legend, and timely tacks to the center.

That would be fun! I like it. Reichert is, for sure, a stronger opponent for Cantwell than is Stanzel. But a Reichert challenge would accomplish two things. First, it opens up the Democratic-leaning 8th CD (which, of course, may be unrecognizable by 2012). Second, it means Republicans would dump lots of money into the race. Less so with Stanzel; Republicans would find more promising races upon which to spend their spoils.

This is Reichert’s big Window of Opportunity…but could he win?

In a statewide competition against an uberwonk, Reichert would not get away with his usual strategy of dodging all things substantive. He’ll have to speak in public and try to come off as intelligent and informed. No more “I’ve looked in a microscope and seen the heartbeat of a stem cell” moments; no more, “I don’t know enough about this issue, so I’ll pass on the question” answers like he gave in his 2006 debate against Darcy Burner. No more confessions of voting the way the leadership tells him to vote. The Cantwell campaign would eat him alive for such blunders.

So, no, he can’t. If Reichert sticks his head through that Window of Opportunity…he’ll get his freakin’ throat slit….


  1. 1


    Nope. The rethugs need to hold on to the 8th and Reichert will have a lot of trouble against a good Democrat.

    Sen. Cantwell is about as safe as it gets these days and will draw tomato can opposition.

  2. 2

    rhp6033 spews:

    Richart is pretty much an example of the power of incumbency in the House – after the first couple of elections, these guys get enough campaign contributions from special interests that they are almost impossible to beat. But I’d love to be proven wrong.

    I really can’t see Reichart giving up what has become, by default, a relatively safe seat for him, to take a jab at the Senate. Seriously, it’s hard to find a Congressman with a thinner record of accomplishments in the House, especially considering he’s on this third term. Although the elections to unseat him have been close, he’s gradually spread that margin of victory a bit in each subsequent election.

    Of course, there’s no rule Richart HAS to give up his House seat, he could resign it after the election. But it sure make campaigning for re-election rather awkward, and unless the politician is extraordinarily popular at home, that tactic still ends up putting the campaign for both positions at risk.

  3. 3

    rhp6033 spews:

    The problem for the Republicans is that no serious Republican would touch this state-wide contest. They would have to appeal to the Tea-Party types out of one side of their mouths, and then tell the rest of Washington voters that he (or she) is “not like those other Republicans”. In today’s video age, they aren’t going to get away with that.

    I predict that the Republican challenger will end up being a Tea-Party wingnut who hasn’t got a prayer of winning. Of course, with our top-two primary system, it’s entirely possible that you might have Cantwell and another Democrat on the general election ticket.

  4. 4


    rhp6033 @ 3,

    “I predict that the Republican challenger will end up being a Tea-Party wingnut who hasn’t got a prayer of winning.”


  5. 5


    4. Darryl spews:

    rhp6033 @ 3,

    “I predict that the Republican challenger will end up being a Tea-Party wingnut who hasn’t got a prayer of winning.”


    07/28/2011 at 10:58 am

    rhp6033 was spot on as usual.

    Darryl, that was EXACTLY what I was thinking too.

    I think we ought to start a write-in campaign for the puddybitch.

  6. 6

    Just Right spews:

    Reichart might do it if he’s thinking of retiring from his House seat anyway. Maybe he’s done?

  7. 7

    Michael spews:

    Run Davey, run!

    Davey’s always struck me as lazy and a run at Cantwell would be hard work, so I doubt he does it.

    I’m still holding out for Kathy McMorris-Rogers to throw her hat in the ring.

  8. 8

    Pete spews:

    Reichert’s on his fourth term. He’s beaten Ross, Burner twice, and DelBene. And he’s been the ultimate inconsequential backbencher.

    McMorris-Rogers would be a much more formidable candidate than Reichert. She has much more of a DC profile, and she’s a much more competent politician.

    Reichert and Rossi are the Republican names that have come up for every gubernatorial or Senate race for a few years now. Hairspray Dave’s name wouldn’t keep coming up if his ego didn’t have at least some interest in higher office, and he’s not getting any younger. But there have been several instances of Republican mover/shakers being appalled by Reichert’s cluelessness when not reading from a script, and his tacks to the center take him out of most Tea Party fantasies. Even leaving aside his personal deficiencies, I don’t see him being a strong candidate at all.

  9. 9

    Michael spews:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if McMorris-Rogers throws her hat in the ring and while the odds would favor Cantwell, I think McMorris-Rogers could win it.

  10. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 6: One of the problems Reichart might face is that the national Republicans have, over the past two election cycles, pretty much insisted that the candidates provide a hefty amount of self-financing of their election. They can do it through committing their personal fortunes or their own fundraising (as long as it’s not taking dollars away from other Republican races). Despite what I said in # 2 above, I don’t think Reichart has a lot of personal money he’s willing to risk, nor do I think he has large enough campaign stash accumulated to win a statewide race. And he’s not going to be able to use his franking priviledges to send out free “constituant information updates” (i.e., campaign literature) to the voters statewide. That’s why a good number of the recent Republican candidates have been quite wealthy lately.

  11. 11

    rhp6033 spews:

    Of course, Reichart’s going to vote with the Republicans on Boenner’s “Cut, Cap, and Balance” bill, which will be dead upon arrival in the Senate a few hours later. They aren’t even going to bury it in committee, they are going to bring it to an immediate “no” vote.

    I wonder how well that votes going to play in the 8th district?

  12. 12

    rhp6033 spews:

    Of course, one of the things we haven’t been considering is the effect of redistricting on Riechart’s district. There’s a distinct possibility he may figure he’s going to be retired from the House soon, anyway.

  13. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “he’ll get his freakin’ throat slit….”

    Probably not the best simile, I wish you had expressed the underlying idea in a different way, but you’re right that Reichert is no match for Cantwell … hell, in a debate with a 30-inch tall rabbit, he’d get his freakin’ ankles kicked!

  14. 14

    rhp6033 spews:

    Speaking of the debt limit, the House interrupted debate on Boener’s bill late today to debate instead the naming of post office buildings. I guess they think that’s more important than avoiding a national default.

    More likely, observers say that the majority whips were reporting that they still don’t have the votes, and Boener is delaying a vote to try to drum up a few more votes.

    If some House Republican gets a pork-barrel project for his district inserted into the bill to buy his “deficit reduction” vote, it would make for some beautiful add campaigns over the next year!

  15. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @14 Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Asshole) has his own ideas about who’s important and who isn’t:

    “Back in February Toomey previewed his bill by telling Geithner during Senate testimony, ‘You’re telling us that if we have to delay a payment to the guys who mow the lawn around the Mall, that would have the same kind of impact and cause the same kind of financial crisis that would result if we failed to make an interest payment on a Treasury security.'”


    Roger Rabbit Commentary: At least the guys who mow the grass around the Mall are doing something productive, which is more than any Republican representative or senator can claim.

  16. 16

    YellowPup spews:

    Oh yes, I would savor a Reichert run against Cantwell.

    By “stealthier factor” he means that Reichert is using such rumors to leverage a more favorable redistricting outcome.

    As in @12, to continue his distinguished career of selfless public service in another way? How more favorable?

  17. 18


    YellowPup @ 16,

    The idea behind the rumor is to make the redistricting commission think twice about making the 8th more “D” as they redraw the district.

    I am not sure why the commission would really care, but that’s the reason given.

  18. 19

    Michael spews:

    Darryl, the guy wasn’t a very good sheriff and a lot of this underlings acted like complete thugs. It’s amazing what people can get away with when the press are afraid to question the creation of what’s clearly a false narrative.

  19. 20

    Michael spews:

    19 continued… Cathy McMorris-Rogers also owes much of her political success to the creation and maintenance of a false narrative.

  20. 21

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 15: The important difference is that the guys that mow the lawn on the Capital Mall are either employees of the NPS (relying upon a regular paycheck to feed, clothe, and shelter their families), or a small-business owner that won the contract by biding on the job in the expectation that collecting from the federal contract wouldn’t be a problem. Either way, the employees would soon be out of work until this is resolved.

    T-bill holders, however, were simply trying to find a safe place for their investments, settling for a lower interest rate in return for what they thought was a very low risk. Turns out that with the GOP in charge, everything’s at risk, however. But T-bill holders can afford to do without redeeming their investment for a longer period of time than the guy who mows the lawn can wait for his paycheck.

    But it’s a false argument, because we don’t have to make the choice. We can simply agree to raise the debt ceiling so we can pay the obligations which we’ve already incurred. A “clean” bill raising the debt ceiling would have no problem passing the Senate or receiving the President’s signature. Crisis averted.

    As for avoiding a credit downgrade, that’s still a problem, but one which can be worked out without putting the full faith and credit of the United States at risk. Besides, the Senate plan cuts the deficit by four times as much as the House plan.

  21. 22

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    There aren’t any Democrats or Republicans in any state worth voting for. Why bother?

  22. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 Why bother? Because there’s a real difference between Democrats and Republicans. No matter how flawed Democratic electeds are, no matter how many times they disappoint us, Republicans are far worse. So, if you’re a real American, and you love your country, you know what to do.

  23. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 Okay, I understand your explanation, Darryl; but until you posted that, 99.9999% of readers wouldn’t “get” the allusion — and it’s still an unfortunate choice of words, due to the fact it could be easily misinterpreted. I’m not trying to diss on you, man, I mean this as constructive criticism.

    When I was a college freshman, I took a speech course, taught by a wonderful professor who soon after unfortunately died. He said something in that class that has always stuck with me:

    “When choosing words, don’t ask yourself if you’ll be understood; ask yourself if you can possibly be misunderstood.”

  24. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @21 There won’t be a “clean” bill. The reason there won’t is because Republicans are misusing their House majority to demand the dismantling of the New Deal as the price of releasing their hostage — the U.S. economy — alive. Even though polls show two-thirds of Americans want a “balanced” deficit reduction bill that uses both revenue increases and spending reductions to reduce deficits. And 90% of Americans don’t want those cuts to come from Social Security and Medicare.

    This has gone way beyond the Constitution’s concept of protecting “minority rights” from “the tyranny of the majority” (quote marks intentional). This is a tyrannical minority trying to impose their will on the majority through force and coercion.

  25. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    This issue presents Democrats with the most important issue they’ve had to deal with since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So far, they’ve passed the test with flying colors — today, not one House Democrat voted for the GOP Tyranny Act of 2011. Let us hope Senate Democrats and the White House have just as much backbone.

  26. 27

    rhp6033 spews:

    I presume Reichart voted for the Republican bill. Let’s hang it around his neck in his next re-election campaign.

  27. 28

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    “So, if you’re a real American, and you love your country, you know what to do.”

    Yeah, I’ll write-in somebody who’s not a Dem or a Rep. They’re both useless.