This Washington

Democrat Tries to Turn Tables on Republicans in Eastside Burbs Battleground

By Camden Swita June 4, 2010

This post has been updated with Republican incumbent Rep. Glenn Anderson's comments.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTKZoREMEJs[/youtube]

Here's a man-bites-dog story: 2010 is the year a Democrat in a swing district is going to knock out a Republican. That's the storyline from candidate Dean Willard, a T-Mobile VP, anyway.  Calling himself the "best chance" for Democrats to steal a House seat occupied by a Republican, Willard kicked off his campaign last night at a wine bar in Issaquah.

Willard is challenging incumbent Rep. Glenn Anderson (R-5, North Bend, Snoqualmie, Issaquah, and portions of unincorporated King County), who outspoken progressive Rep. Geoff Simpson (D-47, southeast King County) described last night as being the most "despised" representative by Democrats.



They say the best defense is a good offense (or something like that) and so, in an election year when Republicans are planning to take seats away from Democrats, especially in Willard's suburban Seattle turf—Washington's political battle ground, the Crescent—Willard is clearly the Democrats' all star candidate.

Several Democratic House members—one from as far away as Olympia—joined Willard at the kickoff. Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Bellevue), Rep. Simpson, Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41, Mercer Island) and Rep. Sam Hunt (D-22, Olympia) were all milling around the packed bar.

Willard's camp has a good chance of taking the seat from Rep. Anderson, they say. Last election, Anderson was challenged by David Spring, a researcher at the University of Washington who ran a much less professional campaign with much less money, and won 48 percent of 5th district votes, said Sylvester Cann, Willard's campaign manager. As for money this year: Willard has raised $37,000 to Anderson's $22,000. And Willard still has about $28,000 on hand, according to the Public Disclosure Commission, while Anderson has just $7,000 on hand.

Willard is running on a platform of tax reform and fully funding basic education. Check out the video for more details, particularly on Willard's tax reform plan—it's not what you think.

Rep. Anderson shot back at Rep. Simpson's "despised" comment with this:

"That's music to my ears, music to my ears," he said. "If Glenn Anderson is the single most significant barrier to the progressive agenda in Olympia, that's not my problem, that’s theirs. I'd love to think I have that much influence, that I could derail what has happened over the last decade. If they have decided I'm at the root of that evil, I think that speaks for itself."

And in response to Willard's comments in the video, Rep. Anderson said he's out listening to voters and understanding their needs, but if Willard wants to bash him, "let him take that to the voters."

"This is an election where we’ve really moved beyond political platitudes, angry accusatory rhetoric," Anderson said. "Let's just get our act together and fix the problem."

Editor's Note: PubliCola ran an advertisement for Willard's campaign kick off this week. Advertising does not affect our coverage. For example, Joe Mallahan, Greg Nickels, and Seattle City Council hopeful David Miller all advertised prominently on PubliCola last year. None of them got our endorsement and some contend our coverage was downright unfair to Mallahan.
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