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Spin Control

WA Senate race Friday update

As predicted yesterday, Clint Didier did not endorse Dino Rossi this morning at a Seattle press conference. He did, however, lay down conditions under which he would endorse Rossi.

Rossi, who declined to submit to what his campaign called "a list of demands", meanwhile, issued a challenge to Sen. Patty Murray to debate him six times before the primary, five in Washington state -- with two in Seattle and the others scattered around to other cities -- and one nationally televised debate. This might seem surprising to people who recall that Rossi declined to debate Didier and fellow Republican Paul Akers before the primary.

"Of course there will be debates," replied Alex Glass, deputy campaign manager for Murray. The number and timing will depend on the schedule of the Senate, which returns to session in September. But Murray isn't inclined to debate anywhere outside the state, Glass added. "This election is about the voters of Washington state."

Didier said he would endorse Rossi if the Republican nominee would make an unequivocal anti-abortion stand, make a no-new-taxes pledge and promise not to increase federal spending. They weren't a stretch for Rossi, Didier insisted, and they're part of the party platform.

The Rossi campaign responded that he would work to reduce spending, improve the economy and put Washington residents back to work. But, the campaign added: “Dino will continue to campaign on the things he believes, and will not submit to a list of demands made by anyone, even people with whom he agrees, in Washington State or Washington, D.C.”

Before Didier's morning press conference, there was some speculation he would announce a write-in campaign for the seat. But state law prohibits a person who is eliminated in the primary from mounting a write-in campaign in the general. Didier said he'd received messages from people encouraging him not to quit, and he and supporters plan to start a new organization called Taking Back Washington, which he'd explain at some future date.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.