The American Prospect raises the existential question for Dino Rossi and his closest advisors:
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair John Cornyn has a had a pretty tough year recruiting and protecting his candidates. They just keep running into trouble — from Charlie Crist fleeing the Republican Party in Florida and Bob Bennett’s primary loss in Utah to John McCain’s Arizona primary challenge and the Kentucky Rand Paul insurgency overwhelming the GOP’s chosen standard-bearer. So if you’re a Republican considering a run for Senate and Cornyn says, “I told him we will do whatever it takes to help him and that’s a fact,” do you take that to the bank?
That’s the question facing perennial Washington state GOP candidate Dino Rossi, who is mulling over a challenge to sitting Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
And I’d wager the answer is “no.”
At the risk of stating the obvious, there are really only two possibilities here: either Rossi has already made his decision, or he hasn’t. If he’s made his decision, then he’s decided not to run, because there’s absolutely nothing to gain from delaying his campaign any further, while there’s not much to lose from keeping his name in the headlines. And if he’s still undecided, I’m guessing a large part of the process has to do with working out the logistics of raising enough money to be competitive.
Rossi raised about $11.6 million during his 2008 gubernatorial bid, and even assuming he could match that total in roughly half the time — averaging about $70,000 a day between now and the election — that would still leave him well short of Sen. Murray’s likely total… maybe by as much as $5 million. And that’s assuming he can take Cornyn’s promise to the bank.
So thanks, American Prospect, for raising that very important question. But as for the rest of piece, well, you really ought to do your research:
While Murray isn’t particularly vulnerable, in a tough anti-incumbent year and with a candidate like Rossi, who has come within 133 votes of winning the state’s gubenatorial seat, Republicans might have an opportunity to exploit.
Of course, that 133 vote margin was way back in 2004; Rossi lost by 194,614 votes in a 2008 rematch, after voters had the opportunity to get to know the two candidates better. Maybe you just confused “2004” with “2008” — after all, they both have “200” in them — but I’d argue that the more recent election is the more relevant one.
Except the Tea Party candidate will stay in the race no matter what happens in the primary. So will a self-funding millionaire conservative candidate. That doesn’t spell an easy chance for Rossi.
Yeah, um, except we have a top-two primary here in Washington state, so nobody will be on the November ballot other than the top-two vote getters. So while I love that whole Tea-Party-and-self-funded-millionaire-candidates-as-obstacles meme, and would absolutely love to run with it… well… if wishes were horses, and all that.
Moreover, Democrats are already doing everything they can to make Rossi the next Dan Coates — Coates, the former Indiana senator returning to run for Evan Bayh’s open seat, hit early troubles by slighting his old state and with his work as a Washington lobbyist. Thus far, they’ve been hitting him for not paying $20,000 in back taxes and his connections to a shady bank.
I’m confused by that last sentence. Does “him” refer to Rossi or Coates? Or both? (Factually, it does apply to Rossi, but that’s not so clear from your vague use of the objective personal pronoun.)
Rossi has had two heartbreakingly close statewide elections in the last two cycles.
“Two heartbreakingly close” elections? Really?
Surely 2004’s 133-vote margin was a heartbreaker (no doubt Rossi still believes he actually won), but the 194,614-vote, 6.5% margin in 2008… not so much. That’s about the same percentage of the national vote by which Barack Obama beat John McCain, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody describe that race as close, heartbreakingly or otherwise.
So yeah, while I agree with the American Prospect that Rossi should question whether Cornyn can help him all that much in a U.S. Senate bid, Rossi first has to answer the question of whether he can actually help himself. And based on his 2008 performance, the evidence isn’t all that convincing.