February 20, 2006

60 IN '06:

Vander Plaats bows out: Takes second spot on Nussle ticket (James Q. Lynch, 2/20/06, The Gazette)

Bob Vander Plaats will end his bid for the Republican nomination for governor Wednesday and become U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle's running mate, party leaders said Monday.

The Nussle campaign told high-ranking party members Monday of the decision by the campaigns to join forces, ending what some believed could have become a bitter primary battle between the eight-term congressman from Manchester and the Vander Plaats, a Sioux City businessman.

Well, Can't Cantwell Be Beat?: Washington Republicans are optimistic, for a change. (Fred Barnes, 02/27/2006, Weekly Standard)
[R]epublicans have a realistic chance of capturing the Senate seat now held by Democrat Maria Cantwell, 47, who ousted Gorton six years ago. The reason is the Republican candidate, Mike McGavick, a former insurance executive and titan of the Seattle business and civic community. To be successful in Washington, Vance says, a Republican candidate must be "conservative enough to unite

the base, moderate enough to win." And McGavick, 48, "fits perfectly." The McGavick election strategy, says his campaign manager, Ian Goodnow, is simple: "It's him."

McGavick is a protégé of Gorton, having served as a foreign policy adviser, then as chief of staff in Gorton's Senate office. In the 1990s, he worked in the insurance industry in Chicago, which led to his becoming a widely respected figure in Seattle when he turned around Safeco, the insurance giant headquartered here.

Safeco lost $1 billion in 2001, and McGavick was summoned to revive the company. He cut the payroll, slashed administrative expenses, and trimmed the lines of insurance the company offered. Safeco made a profit of $300 million the next year. McGavick announced his plans to leave Safeco and run for the Senate last year. This is his first race for public office. [...]

Is Cantwell vulnerable? Her personal fortune is gone, along with the dot-com bubble. She's irritated some liberals by voting for the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, and cloture to shut off a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito. But she's held a double-digit lead over McGavick in the polls for months.

Vance, the ex-Republican chairman, insists Washington is not a knee-jerk Democratic state. "If both sides have good candidates that are well financed, you end up with a dead heat," he says. That's what happened in the governor's race in 2004, the contest for secretary of state in 2002, and the Cantwell-Gorton election in 2000. All three wound up with recounts. The best guess is the Cantwell-McGavick race will be tight as well.

Given Ms Cantwell's poll standing, trouble with the base and campaign debt it wouldn't even be much of an upset, except to Democrats who think this is their 1994.

Red Washington Podcast #2: Mike McGavick (Timothy Goddard)

This second Operation: Red Washington podcast features Mike McGavick, the Republican candidate for Senate, who’s taking on Maria Cantwell in November. Listen now!

In the interview, Mike discusses his thoughts on how state legislative candidates can best make use of whatever coattails he posesses come November, and also argues that the state Republican party has been remiss in their attention to important issues, particularly education and the environment. He explains how he hopes to appeal to both the independent minded voters who make up the bulk of the state electorate and the conservative Republicans whose party he is in–and to do it without compromising his principles. He also gives a thumbs up to the Internet-driven Porkbusters project, and shares his less than complimentary thoughts on the current United States Senate. All that and more in episode #2 of the Operation: Red Washington Podcast.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 20, 2006 10:03 AM

Are there any Democrats left who think this is their 1994?

Even the Kos Kiddies seem beaten down and despondent about recent turn of events.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at February 20, 2006 10:43 AM

Watch out for mysteriously appearing King County votes.

Posted by: pchuck at February 20, 2006 10:44 AM

Being a protoge of Gorton is all well and good, but don't get too confident--Chris Vance is the kiss of failure.

Also, what pchuck said. (Indeed, many are now wondering whether Cantwell actually won the legal vote last time.)

Posted by: Kirk Parker at February 20, 2006 10:51 AM

King County Registrar:"and the dead shall rise again ... and again ... and again."

Posted by: Genecis at February 20, 2006 11:57 AM

She'll raise all the money she needs from the mega-rich Muckleshoot, Tulalip and Puyallup tribes plus the owners of Costco, Starbucks and other liberal NW businesses. The indians still take credit for Gorton's defeat. Until King County suburbia starts voting Republican in greater numbers the statewide dem candidates have to be the favorites.

Posted by: Patrick H at February 20, 2006 12:30 PM

If all the people on the Internet who are angry over the crap that Real Player puts on their computer would just send a dollar to Vance's campaign, he could run campaign ads 24/7 against Real's former executive all the way through Election Day.

Posted by: John at February 20, 2006 12:39 PM

I just did an interview w/ McGavick that you all might be interested in. He's setting up a pretty remarkable persona for himself--a combination of Ronald Reagan, John McCain and Slade Gorton--that just might do the trick. He's about the same place in the polls that Cantwell & Rossi were in the fall, so a tight race, as noted, is pretty likely.

Posted by: Timothy at February 20, 2006 2:02 PM

It's always amazed me that insider Republicans have labeled this a "top tier" race while consigning Nebraska, West Virginia, and (especially) Florida to the ash heap. Cantwell is vulnerable because--like so many other Senators--she's basically a place holder (recall that she was one of the victims of the Republican Revolution of 1994). But I would suspect that also makes her more likely to be rubber-stamped back into office by a blue-leaning state. It's much easier to win across party lines in state elections (governor) than federal.

Posted by: AC at February 20, 2006 2:22 PM

Here's a Seattle Times article from today's paper on Washington tribes donations to federal candidates since 2000.


The Tulalips and Puyallups alone have already given her $65k and that is just the beginning. Due to the governor granting them more machines and tables, they have a lot more money than they had in the last cycle.

Posted by: Patrick H at February 20, 2006 2:44 PM

AC, Nebraska is not a slam dunk for the GOP; although, I do think the GOP could win it. Right now, the GOP candidates are Dave Kramer (a terrible choice - I went to the same college as the guy and contrary to what he says, he has an apetite for spending somebody else's money as big as his dinner apetite), Don Stenberg (who came within 5,000 votes of beating Nelson in 2000) and Pete Ricketts (who co-founded with his father Ameritrade). I like Ricketts and Stenberg but the problem is Nelson. Unfortunately, he is a rational Democrat and many people in Nebraska like the guy. In addition, as a conservative Nebraskan I think Nelson is more likable than our other senator (Chuck Hagel (R-France)). Unless Stenberg or Ricketts can really light a fire, this is going to be a hard race. It can be done, in fact Hagel upset Nelson in the 1996 to win his senate seat. One issue that Nelson should be hammered with is a $150 million plus judgment the State was forced to pay regarding a low-level nuke dump that Nelson messed up while he was governor.

I'll vote for Ricketts or Stenberg but I'd rather cut off a finger than vote for Kramer.

Posted by: pchuck at February 20, 2006 2:44 PM

I hate Real Player.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 20, 2006 4:56 PM

Oh man, I thought I was the only one who thought it was more trouble than it is worth. Not only does it not work as reliably as Windows Media Player, it is loaded with more deletium than it. Hard to believe that you could be worse than the Dark Empire in both categories. The web host I use for pictures refuses to support it because it's just too hard to get to work correctly.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 20, 2006 7:23 PM