Posted by: sweeneyblog | August 10, 2012

Friday Odds and Ends: DelBene Armors Up, Didier Freaks Out, and Republicans Worry

Hello Loyal Readers

It is time for our Friday Odds and Ends, all the news that is fit to print, but not big enough for its own story.

1) In case you missed it, Suzan DelBene cleared away the other Democratic challengers by a pretty solid 9% margin in the race for the 1st Congressional District seat. We outlined how each candidate was pursuing a different strategy to win in an earlier post, I will be doing a follow-up once I’ve had a closer look at the numbers, but a couple quick responses.

Suzan DelBene

First, it is easy to say DelBene poured money into the district and that is why she won. It is true, she did have advertising everywhere in a district with few dense population centers, making it more susceptible to mailings and television, however, all the advertising dollars in the world can’t save you if you have a lousy message. Ask Mitt Romney how the millions of dollars he is spending in television is helping his image (hint: he’s losing ground). I’m not saying you should ignore the money DelBene’s campaign spent, but I think it is important to acknowledge that it wasn’t the only reason she won. She clearly had a solid message and well-timed campaign plan (again, more on this later).

Second, if you add up all the Democratic candidates vote totals in the 1st district, it is about 54% to Koster/46% Ishmael, which bodes well for a Democrat’s chances of picking up this seat. As a result, a slew of national organizations have jumped into the fray. EMILY’s List, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a handful of others have targeted this race for victory and are beginning to cut some big checks.

2) Clint Didier, former football player and current Tea Party candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands, is more than a little paranoid. The Seattle Weekly picked up on a speech Didier made at, where else, the Whatcom Freedom Rally, where he rants about Agenda 21, the United Nations and seizing public lands.

Didier is the one on the right

The article makes a big deal about how crazy these ideas are, which makes me curious, has the Seattle Weekly met Rep. Overstreet and Buys? I will admit, Didier charges into the subject with the sort of reckless abandon that only someone who is used to bashing his helmet-shaped head into other people could appreciate, but still. His paranoid Beck-ian fantasies about the United Nations seizing our lands, and being true to our Lord and Savior are pretty much par for the course for the political candidates churned out by the Whatcom Tea Party. While I appreciate the spotlight pointed at his crazy views, if that limelight could expand to Rep. Overstreet and Buys, I would be very pleased.

3) Finally, the Washington State Republicans are not doing too well. Their golden boy, Rob McKenna, who was their target race for this year, got a measly 43%. Remember, this is not some unknown character, Rob McKenna actually has a higher name recognition than Jay Inslee because he had been elected statewide twice before. So barely cracking 43% is a pretty weak showing. Some might argue that having religious conservative Shahram Hadian on the ballot drew away a critical 3% from McKenna, but Inslee also had a challenger on his side of the ballot, with Rob Hill, Democrat, pulling 3.5% of the vote. So no dice.

On top of this, with a low turnout, the pool of voters skew conservative. Older, whiter voters tend to be more reliable about getting their ballots turned in. So this election, in many ways, was a best case scenario compared to the general election for the Republicans.

McKenna isn’t the only Republican in trouble. Reagan Dunn got his butt handed to him by fellow Seattle City Councilman Bob Ferguson. For Secretary of State, the Democrats have their first chance of retaking the seat . . . since 1964!  Even locally, our two Tea Party representatives, Rep. Vincent “votes for jobs 12% of the time” Buys and Rep. Jason “Leprechaun Economics” Overstreet, barely lead their challengers by 2,000 votes in a race that should have been a slam-dunk. When you figure the conservative bent of their district, they should have been pulling much better numbers.

In short, this was a poor showing by the statewide Republicans, and does not bode well for them for November. Stay tuned this upcoming week for a great deal of number-crunching and perhaps some rather pretty graphs.



  1. Just finished reading Great piece!

  2. Interesting comments. As a voter in the 1st CD, I do worry about the blue dog leanings of Delbene. I will vote for her but she seems to me to be another Rick Larson!

    • Blue Dog? Seriously? Anything to the right of Darcy is a Blue Dog? Go to Missouri where they have actual, real live Blue Dog Democrats and then come back here and tell me that Suzan is anything like these people.

  3. I won’t vote for a candidate that votes against marriage. Isn’t our twelve year engagement enough (to prove we’re stable)? So, goodbye Buys (good-Buys?) and Overstreet!

    PS: Thank you for your vote, Kevin!

  4. Nicely done, Riley. Easy to read and understand and entertaining to boot. You’re pretty darn good at this.

  5. Can’t wait for those GRAPHS! Primaries are tricky to evaluate, obviously. DelBene may not be a “true” Blue Dog Democrat BUT she did tell us at the endorsement meeting that she would be caucusing with the New Democrats, which means she won’t be caucusing with the Progressives. Oh well, we must support her and keep “talking” with her now that she is THE CANDIDATE who MUST beat John Koster!

  6. Dunn and Ferguson were both part of the Sonics Arena vote for the King County Council. Dunn voted against the deal while Ferguson voted for it. The Sports fans paying attention to this were also hit with reminders from Arena Solutions, Sonicsgate, etc. to vote against Dunn. I’m not saying this was a major factor, but for a lot of people outside of King county, that was the one time they saw the two in action.

  7. I breathlessly await your analysis of how DelBene’s messaging rather than her money may have been key, especially since without the money in our system, there can be no message. Being stuck with Rick Larsen, I did not pay much attention to Susan’s ads; however, her messaging that her mission is to reptresent the middle class in Congress made me laugh. It seems a strange position for somebody who just bought a nomination to run on.

    That said, Susan will make an excellent candidate. She has a winning smile and is very likable. And, she is obviously very bright. None of these things can be attributed to Rick Larsen, who John Koster nearly dislodged.

  8. Riley,
    Clint Didier knows what he’s talking about. From your comments, I’m guessing you aren’t aware what he’s talking about.

    You may want to research this further.

    – Agenda 21 How Will It Affect You –

    Paul Murphy

  9. Wow! Riley. I hope you watch this. I know you know about Agenda 21 because you are a well-read young man and probably pooh-pooh it only because Whatcom Tea Partiers keep bringing it up at forums. And, we know your bias against our local Tea Party. I must confess that I too have regarded those talking about Agenda 21 as bordering on being loony conspiracy theorists.

    After watching the video, however, I am convinced. I know you will say this is wishful thinking on my part and, indeed, it may be.

    Agenda 21, upon learning more about it, gives me hope for the first time in a long, long while that my grandchildren may actually survive the ravages of global climate change. Now, we need to change out political system so that politicians can think beyond the next election cycle.

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