If Dino Rossi is betting on Tea Party enthusiasm to sweep him into a competitive race with Democratic incumbent Sen. Patty Murray, he better not bet too big, at least according to a couple of ‘baggers quoted in yesterday’s TNT:
Rossi is considering whether to enter the race against Sen. Patty Murray. One of a long roster of less well-known Republicans seeking to unseat Murray, former NFL tight end Clint Didier, last weekend said tea party activists would reject Rossi. And no candidate will win without their backing, he said.
Pierce County Tea Party member Lawrence Hutt agrees, though he supports a different candidate for Senate, Sean Salazar.
“Rossi is too establishment to get the tea partiers all fired up,” said Hutt, a paralegal from Wauna. “He’s not going to fan the flames of any tea partiers I know.”
Sen. Patty Murray’s alleged vulnerability hinges on a voter enthusiasm imbalance… you know, that Big Red Wave that’s supposed to sweep Democratic incumbents out of office come November. But if a lot of that Republican enthusiasm is coming from the over-hyped teabagger wing of the party, then the later Rossi jumps into the race, the more of an establishment interloper he’s going to appear to Didier and Salazar’s passionate supporters.
I mean, it would have been one thing if Rossi had gotten into the race back in March when he first started dominating the headlines and rumor mill, but for him to just step in and claim the nomination a couple months before the primary, well that can’t help but piss off a bunch of the true believers, and it’s tough to see how it puts him in much of a position to win their enthusiastic support.
The longer Rossi waits, the more toes he steps on, and the harder the logistics of a competitive race become. For example, if he were to jump in tomorrow, Rossi would have to raise about $60,000 a day between now and Nov. 2, just to match Sen. Murray’s current totals. And it’s not like Sen. Murray would be standing still; in 2004 she raised an additional $5.1 million from April through the end of the campaign, while facing only an anemic challenge from George Nethercutt.
Nor can Rossi count on anything approaching the $13 million worth of “independent” expenditures that came his way during his 2008 gubernatorial campaign. The BIAW, by far his biggest backer, is betting the farm on an initiative that would gut our state’s worker’s compensation system, while the NRSC would have an awfully tough time matching the $5.5 million the RGA put behind Rossi two years ago. Meanwhile the Washington Association of Realtors, one of the state’s wealthiest Republican-leaning PACs, has already endorsed Murray.
So is Rossi too liberal? No. Is he too establishment? Maybe. But his biggest problem is that he’s not really enough of anything.