Has Republican Obstructionist Dave Reichert Met His Match? Suzan DelBene Jumps Into The Race In WA-08
Early this morning Politico posted a short feature on the next race against rubber stamp Republican backbencher Dave Reichert. DWT readers will be familiar with Reichert and the suburban 8th CD outside of Seattle because of the heroic campaigns of Darcy Burner in 2006 and 2008. (Darcy, who will be a Blue America guest at Firedoglake this coming Saturday at 11am, PT, scored 49% (59,268 voters) against Reichert in 2006 and 47% (171,358 voters) this past November). Obama beat McCain 57-42% and the PVI for the district has gone from a D+2 to a D+3. Reichert looks like he has a big, fat target on his back.
The point of the Politico piece is that "for the third consecutive election cycle, Reichert could face a well-funded, former Microsoft employee" and that Suz DelBene is less of a liberal and more "moderate" than Darcy. Politico completely bought into the meme that Reichert supporters in the media have been able to perpetuate, namely that Darcy lost because she was too liberal and too close to "the blogs." There is no evidence of this; just nonsense spread by the Reichert camp.
Interestingly the new candidate, Suzan DelBene, is probably just as progressive, especially on social issues, as Darcy. But she's trying to create an imagine as a pro-business moderate. I hope she doesn't make the mistake of getting onto an anti-working family path. Reichert, who has taken a staggering $1,088,931 in legalized bribes from the financial/insurance/real estate sector, has been a dependable handmaiden for the banksters against ordinary American families-- always. For example, in early March he wasn't among the few Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote for the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, which will allow bankruptcy judges to work with lenders and borrowers to readjust the terms of mortgages to keep families in their homes. This lockstep anti-family vote came despite the fact that the projected foreclosure numbers for WA-08 over the next 4 years show 13,204 families losing their homes. But, as usual, Reichert was more interested in Republican Party tactics of obstruction than in the well-being of his own constituents.
Friends in Bellevue tell me DelBene is a great candidate with lots of money and a strong impulse towards social justice. They tell me to ignore her overtures towards the establishment and the Democratic strategy of painting her as a middle of the road Democrat. The middle of the road thing sure was pushed in the Politico piece.
“Her business experience suits her very well at a time when economic issues are at the forefront of people’s minds,” said DelBene lead consultant Kelly Evans, who led Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire’s reelection efforts last year. “Suzan has progressive values, but she also brings a business approach to fiscal matters.”
...“She’s very different than Darcy. I think it’s a matter of style and the way she approaches people. This woman is polished and professional, she’s low-key and people listen to her,” said King County Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Sheary. “I’ve watched her several times go in cold into meetings and events where she knows no one, and before you know it, the room is hush and everyone’s listening.”
The two candidates have also cultivated distinctly different constituencies. Burner, a regular contributor to the liberal blog Daily Kos who launched her second campaign with an anti-war video, was embraced by the Netroots, which donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to her campaign.
But her liberal politics, though well-suited for online activists, limited her appeal in the moderate suburban seat. She twice lost narrowly in suburban King County, which casts roughly 80 percent of the district vote, and lost by wider margins in Pierce County, which casts the remainder.
Where Burner talked about the war in Iraq, DelBene on her campaign website focuses on investment, jobs and the economy-- with no mention of the war. And as she meets with local Democrats, she emphasizes her business background.
In an interview with Politico, DelBene argued the party’s problems over the past several elections stem from its inability to reach out to blue-collar voters in the district’s outer suburbs in Pierce County and southern King County.
“It’s important we represent not only the northern part of the district but also the southern part of our district that’s more rural and has a different economy than up here,” said DelBene. “We need to address both sides of the district.”