Spin Control

TUESDAY, NOV. 16, 2010, 11:57 A.M.

2012 Senate campaign starts…today?

After regular missives for months from the folks at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, things had been quiet for two whole weeks.

In other words, since the election in which the NRSC's guy, Dino Rossi, lost to Democrat Patty Murray.

They didn't call, they didn't write.  After months of sending us clips of national stories about what a great guy Rossi was, diatribes about Murray or links to polls that showed he was beating her, it seemed like they'd forgotten about this Washington.

Not so. Today they're back, with an e-mail blasting...Maria Cantwell. She committed the cardinal sin of voting for Democratic leadership. Imagine that, a Democrat voting for a Democratic leadership team. A senator from Washington voting for a leadership team that includes Patty Murray, the other senator from Washington.

The press release contains most of the standard stuff, such as a suggestion that Cantwell "put her party bosses' reckless, job-killing agenda ahead of the best interests of her constituents." The best interest of Washington state voters is debatable, even if it is usually debated by people in Washington state.

But the curious thing in the NRSC statement is the assertion that Cantwell's vote for Democratic leaders "puts her at odds with her state's voters."

Considering that the state's voters just re-elected Murray by at least 100,000 votes over NRSC recruit Rossi, wouldn't it put Cantwell at odds with Washington state voters to vote against the Democratic team?

The real purpose of the e-mail is contained in the final line, however: "Washingtonians will no doubt elect a fiscally responsible leader as their next U.S. senator in 2012." No hint yet as to the identity of said fiscallly responsible leader.

Washingtonians shouldn't feel too special, however. The NRSC prepared 13 similar press releases targeting Democrats up for re-election in 2012. They just swapped out the name of the senator and the state.

So there you have it. The first shot in Washington state's 2012 senate race.

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