As we bask in the glow of our big health care win this past week, my thoughts start to turn towards the 2010 Midterm elections, and my political life here in the 4th District of Washington State.
I've been living in territory occupied by Representative Doc Hastings since 1995. Yes, THAT Doc Hastings. Tom Delay's waterboy during the ethics hearings. The man to whom party loyalty means everything. The Candidate of No. He hates the stimulus but he cashes the checks. He hates health care reform even though he's on Medicare. A Republican rubber stamp.
A great candidate and a unique set of circumstances might actually led Jay Clough, a young former Marine and a progressive voice, challenge for Doc's seat. But he needs your help, and he needs it this weekend.
The 4th District is reliably Republican, the most red district in Washington State. But the Democrats here are loyal and fierce. Every election, 40% of the district votes for the Democrat running against Doc. That means there needs to be a ten point swing for us to be competitive in a congressional race.
One of the ways I knew that this election cycle was different in the 4th was a letter that Doc Hastings sent me yesterday. Usually it's to tell me how he disagrees with everything I've just argued in a letter I've sent him (sometimes I have time to waste). This time it was to announce a local town hall in Zillah, Washington. He's already held a Q & A session in Prosser, a town of about 5000 people. That is to say, Doc's already campaigning.
He never does that. Sometimes he doesn't campaign at all, and he usually agrees to only one debate. His job has been so safe in the past he can ignore us altogether, both before and after the election. This time he's a little nervous, and not just because we have a real candidate in Jay Clough to challenge him, but also because there is a Tea Party candidate running as an independent.
In other words, a third party candidate might siphon some votes from Doc and put us closer to start with, and that has him worried. As well he should be.
The first quarter fundraising reporting deadline closes on March 31, in just four days. Let's take a page from Howard Dean's 50 state strategy and take the fight to the Republican Party where they think they are safest. Let's make them spend money on seats they thought were already won. Let's give Jay Clough a fighting chance to make serious ad buys, and to build a campaign that has a real chance to upset.
Go to Jay's website and check out his views and his biography. Then help him out by making a $5, $10, $20 or $50 donation. Early donations draw more donations later as people see how serious a candidate is about making a challenge. Let's see if we can find a thousand Kossacks out there to give him the financial bump he needs.
You can also become a fan for Jay on Facebook, just by following the link on his website.
I had a nice conversation with the candidate yesterday, and he's agreed to answer our questions and those from the Kossack community, so post them below if you want me to ask them, and all future interviews will be published here soon. Thanks for your help! I have faith in this community, and I'm in for the first $100.
Update 1 Jay is actually a Marine Corps veteran and served as an infantryman from 1995 - 99, not an Iraq War vet as I said earlier. My mistake...