The outcome of the race between Sen. Patty Murray (D) and Republican Dino Rossi could very well determine who holds a majority in the Senate next year. Both parties are treating it as such. Money is pouring in, as are the big name personnel. This is especially true on the Democratic side – former President Clinton, President Obama, Vice President Biden, have all recently stumped on Murray’s behalf. First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are in town today. One local politician told BATTLE ’10 this is the most politicized he has seen the state in almost a decade.
Given its status as a solidly blue state – Obama won by 17 points in ’08 – Washington perhaps is an unlikely venue for so much high profile consideration. Murray’s seat might well be safe in an ordinary year. Of course, this is not an ordinary year and Dino Rossi is no ordinary GOP candidate. Some believe he is the only one who could have seriously challenged Murray’s seat. And he certainly has. Recent polling shows the race neck and neck.
Rossi told reporters on a conference call this afternoon that all the attention Murray has received is an indication of how worried the Democrats are about losing what could be the much-coveted 51st Senate seat. “Her D.C. friends are coming to bail her out” Rossi said. “It’s a sign they think she’s in trouble.”
Rossi described his travels across the state and the outpouring of support his campaign has received. “Luckily the fire marshal hasn’t shown up, I think we’ve been way over capacity at many of theses rallies,” he said.
The former state senator touted his record of “balancing budgets without raising taxes.” When asked for specifics regarding what he would cut from the federal budget, Rossi shot back: “After actually writing budgets I know it’s not one thing, it’s not five things, it’s not a thousand things, it’s more than that,” he said. Current spending levels, he said, were unsustainable.
He continued to hammer his opponent for her record on spending, earmarks, and other policies he says are bankrupting the country. Last week, Rossi told BATTLE ’10 he was running because “the future of America is at stake,” and he felt like he was in a position to make a difference. “The situation’s bad enough to get me out of political retirement,” he said.
Rossi has repeatedly predicted on the campaign trail that unless the country has a serious course correction soon, “I think we’re going to wake up 24 months from now in a country we don’t recognize.”
“The American experiment doesn’t work on autopilot,” he said. “Every generation has to step up.”
Rossi remains confident about his chances on Election Day. “We are in a position to win this race,” he said. At a business roundtable meeting in Everett, Wash., last week, Rossi said the race would ultimately come down to who decides to vote. “We won’t get any do-overs [after Nov. 2],” he said.
That goes for all of us.