The last forty-eight hours have been pretty sweet for Suzan DelBene and her campaign team. The good news just keeps rolling in following her big win in this month’s winnowing election, which ended Tuesday.
First, the DCCC has confirmed that DelBene will receive priority support over the next three months as she battles John Koster for the position of U.S. Representative from Washington’s 1st Congressional District.
DelBene will be part of the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” effort (although the 1st District hasn’t been held by a Republican since the 1990s, so it’s technically not a district that would be going from red to blue).
“[On Tuesday], the voters of the 1st Congressional District said loud and clear they want a member of congress who will deliver results, not rhetoric. They want someone who will stand up for the middle class, get our economy back on track, protect Social Security and Medicare,” said DelBene in a statement. “Being named to the Red-to-Blue program is another show of the growing support and momentum we’ve received as we move onto the general election.””
Second, DelBene received a hefty and enthusiastic endorsement today from EMILY’s List, which only supports pro-liberty Democrats for Congress.
“Suzan is an experienced business leader and savvy entrepreneur who has used her sharp skills to help struggling families get back on their feet,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List.
“She’s a progressive champion who is committed to promoting clean energy, expanding access to healthcare and economic opportunity, and holding Wall Street accountable. Washington families need leaders like Suzan to fend off Tea Party extremists, and EMILY’s List is proud to support her candidacy.”
EMILY’s List had stayed neutral during the winnowing election to avoid burning bridges with any of the candidates. (Darcy Burner, Laura Ruderman, Suzan DelBene are all strong, pro-liberty Democratic women.) Now that the general election matchup has been unofficially set, the organization is free to endorse… and it has. In the last election cycle, EMILY’s List raised nearly forty million dollars to help elect its candidates in key races across the U.S.
Third, the race in WA-01 has now been rated “Leans Democratic” by Roll Call, one of the more widely read journals of D.C. politics.
DelBene’s victory brings the best news for House Democrats. Even in the state’s most competitive House district, it will be difficult for Snohomish County Councilman John Koster (R) to paint DelBene as too liberal for the district. DelBene’s ability to self-fund — she donated $1.9 million to her campaign for the primary — in a presidential election cycle makes this an uphill climb for Koster.
Accordingly, Roll Call is changing its race rating for Washington’s 1st district from Tossup to Leans Democratic.
Koster and his Republican friends were probably already planning to define whichever Democrat made it through the winnowing election as too liberal for the district. That move is part of the classic Republican playbook — they use it in pretty much every competitive district in the country.
The only places where they don’t use it are districts they’ve written off… and those locales get branded as populated by crazies or whackos (I’m not paraphrasing; those are literally labels the other side dismissively uses).
State Republican Party Chair Concern troll Kirby Wilbur, a former conservative talk show host, had been hoping that Darcy Burner would be Koster’s general election opponent, figuring that Republicans would be favored to pick up the seat if Burner (whose is more outspoken than DelBene, but holds similar views on the issues) ended up as the Democratic standard-bearer.
Wilbur should be careful what he wishes for.
In 2005, Republicans were gleeful when it was announced that Howard Dean had been elected chair of the Democratic National Committee. Dean was promptly mocked and derided by Republican operatives and right-wing blogs. But Republicans weren’t laughing on Election Night in November of 2008, when Dean’s reinvigorated DNC helped propel Barack Obama into the White House.
DelBene’s campaign says it’s all hands on deck and full speed ahead for the November general election. They’re already getting organized so they can be prepared for the home stretch in October… as is John Koster’s camp.