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8th District: Do Tuesday’s primary results spell trouble for Reichert?

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Aug. 17, 2010 at 9:47 pm with No Comments »
August 18, 2010 3:45 pm

In Washington’s 8th District race, incumbent Dave Reichert is scoring a decisive primary victory in a crowded nine-candidate field tonight. But the Auburn Republican also is failing to garner more than half the vote.

On a night when the GOP was expected to show strongly, does Reichert’s showing spell trouble for his chances in the general election?

“I think these results indicate people want to see change,” Democrat Suzan DelBene said Tuesday. “This is a statement that people are not happy with the job he’s doing.”

Reichert, 59, will square off in the general against Delbene, 48, a Medina Democrat who ran well behind him Tuesday, but also easily advanced.

A spokesman for Reichert said the former King County sheriff was upbeat by Tuesday night’s results, but was at home with family and unavailable for comment.

“We’re happy that it looks like the voters want Dave to run in the general election,” campaign spokesman Darren Littell said. “Primary elections are tough to use as indicators in this state.”

Reichert’s showing actually looks solid, when considering other factors. His 48 percent vote count, when combined with ballots cast for other GOP candidates, puts the percentage of total ballots cast for Republicans in the primary at more than 58 percent. DelBene, meanwhile, garnered less than 27 percent of the vote.

Reichert’s strategy heading into the general likely will be to again bank on his public service experience as a former King County sheriff and now a three-term Congressman against his challenger, a political novice.

DelBene, a former Microsoft executive and hi tech entrepreneur, will likely seek to cast Reichert as an insincere and far more partisan representative than the moderate he claims to be.

Considered one of the few swing districts in Western Washington, the 8th District spanning eastern King and Pierce Counties has always sent Republicans to the U.S. House. But its voters have supported Democrats in other key races.

Already, both candidates are nearing the $2 million mark in fund-raising in what promises to be another hard fought and expensive contest.

Seven other candidates in the race ran well behind the two front-runners.

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