by desmoinesdem, Wed May 26, 2010 at 02:58:15 PM EDT
Republican Dino Rossi, who narrowly lost two governor's races in Washington, announced today that he will challenge three-term incumbent Senator Patty Murray.
In a five-minute video posted to his web site, www.dinorossi.com, Rossi reaches out to voters upset with the direction the country is headed, citing rising unemployment, plummeting housing values, "wasteful" stimulus plans and "massive new debt as far as the eye can see."
In language straight out of Ronald Reagan's playbook, Rossi says "America's best days" lie ahead if we "unleash the power of the people" and restore government to its "proper, more limited role."
He says he decided to run because he couldn't look his children in the eye if he did nothing "while this fundamental redefinition of America continues unchecked."
"I believe the policies of being passed in Washington D.C. have put us on the edge of a fiscal cliff. If we enact much more of this stuff, whether it's cap and trade, energy taxes or a value-added tax, then all the work and sacrifice our parents and grandparents did to make this country great for us will have been squandered."
Rossi still has a Republican primary to get through. He has to be considered the favorite, but Sarah Palin has endorsed tea party candidate Clint Didier. Assuming he wins the nomination, Murray will need to run a strong campaign, because several recent polls have shown Rossi competitive with Murray.
Rossi's biggest problem, aside from being a two-time loser facing a veteran campaigner, is likely to be money. Murray's re-election campaign had nearly $6 million on hand at the end of the first quarter. Rossi will need to spend some money before the primary and may struggle to raise campaign funds with such a late start. The National Republican Senatorial Committee may help, but it will need to spread resources across several open-seat races, as well as other pickup opportunities stronger than Washington.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee clearly considers Rossi a serious challenger, because its executive director released a memo today raising "substantive questions on [Rossi's] ethical conduct." Swing State Project just moved this race into the "lean Democrat" column, and that rating sounds right to me. Murray can't take her re-election for granted, but she is favored to beat Rossi. If Didier wins the primary, we can move this seat back into the safe Democratic column.