The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 October 2004

Washington State Elections: What May Go Wrong For The GOP

If George Nethercutt fails to beat Sen. Patty Murray on Tuesday, and polls show him well behind the Osama Mama, blame it on an ill-advised campaign strategy by the GOP that kept Nethercutt from going sufficiently negative against what should have been a vulnerable incumbent.

It's the same thing that may keep the R's from winning their first gubernatorial election in two decades. Dino Rossi took a soft, warm approach during the campaign that looked appealing but may end up missing the mark on Tuesday.

My guess is that some strategists in the party took too seriously some focus group, polling data or personal feeling that male candidates couldn't be seen attacking female ones. It was incorrect- Gregoire is tough as nails and Murray is an entrenched incumbent. The smart move would be to go after them.

If Gregoire loses on Tuesday it will be because she comes across as overbearing to the point of being scary. In the debates she looked like a power hungry lunatic. Rossi came across as human and likable but a little too mellow. Again, a bad GOP strategy.

Polls have Gregoire slightly ahead but I think this is the one truly close race in WA State.

As for the contest to replace GOP Rep. Jennifer Dunn on the Eastside, the latest KING 5 poll shows Sheriff Dave Reichert ahead of Democrat talk show host Dave Ross. I never believed the polls that showed Ross doing well here, he comes across as too much of a Seattle elitist, that's the last thing you want to look like outside of city limits. Reichert is popular but ran a lackluster campaign and fared poorly in some of the debates, nevertheless he should win easily on Tuesday.

Polls also show the anti-Monorail measure losing in Seattle, but I find that hard to believe. As sticker shock set in at tab renewal time and the Monorail Authority looked more and more like a bunch of flakes, recall signatures flew onto pages in front of grocery stores. People are fed up paying $500 or more to renew an annual vehicle registration for just one vehicle.


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