This comes as no surprise,
considering The Hill put Minnick at the top of its “most vulnerable” list the day he was sworn in. No points,
apparently, for beating freshman Republican Bill Sali in 2008 and becoming the
first Democrat to hold the seat in bright red
In the six months since, Minnick has attempted to put as much distance as possible between himself and House Democratic leadership. He voted against the stimulus package in February, the AIG package in March and cap and trade last month. As of last week, he was at the top of another list, the Washington Post’s tabulation of Democrats who don’t vote with their party leadership.
His earliest and best-organized Republican challenger is Vaughn
Ward, a candidate with so much going for him one might think the National
Republican Congressional Committee ordered him from central casting. He’s a
photogenic 40, with an attractive wife and two cute kids; grew up in
Ward is understandably happy to find Minnick on the lists of most vulnerable…
…as he is ardently unimpressed by
the lack of Democratic party-line votes. As he campaigns around
That would be the vote at the start of the current session to elect Nancy Pelosi as speaker. Minnick voted for her, and he should not have, Ward said in a recent interview.
While this may sound like an interesting idea to toss out, and might even make for an interesting diatribe on talk radio, it sounds a bit naïve or facetious for anyone with any familiarity with Congress. And Ward does have some familiarity, having worked in D.C. for Kempthorne.
Members of a political party cast their votes for their party’s leader at the outset of the session. It has nothing to do with whether one likes his candidate or dislikes the opposition party’s candidate; it’s just part of the process.
Or so it was explained to Central Washington voters some 20 years ago by Washington Republican Sid Morrison, after he voted for Bob Michel of Illinois rather than Tom Foley for speaker. It didn’t matter that he and Foley were personal friends and allies on many pieces of legislation that touched both their districts, or that Foley clearly was going to win, Morrison said. It’s just part of the process.
Ward conceded it would be unusual, but not historically unprecedented, and Minnick should have done it. He should also do more than vote no on Democratic bills he doesn’t like; he should offer amendments, use tactics to block or derail them and make floor speeches against the president.
This line of argument comes straight from the National Republican
Congressional Committee, whose job it is to turn as many seats from blue to red
as possible next year. It may play well with the pundits who come to
The first big test of a possible Ward-Minnick matchup comes this
week, when campaign finance reports for the second quarter of the year should
be posted with the Federal Elections Commission. When the first quarter filing
period closed, Minnick had raised about $266,000, about two-thirds of it from
political action committees. Ward, who’d only just begun the campaign, had
$50,000, most of it from individuals, but relatively few of them from
Campaigns are about more than raising money – spending it well is actually more important. But the upcoming reports of contributions could be the best early barometer of how strong this race will be.