Unsuccessful Senate candidate Clint Didier set conditions Friday for endorsing fellow Republican Dino Rossi in the race against incumbent Democrat Patty Murray.
Rossi must take strong positions against abortion, taxes and government spending, said Didier, who finished third in Tuesday’s primary.
The Rossi campaign, which on Friday challenged Murray to a series of debates, responded to Didier’s statement by insisting the Republican nominee wouldn’t submit to “demands made by anyone, even people with whom he agrees.”
The Murray campaign said the two would debate, although the scheduling would depend on Murray’s Senate schedule.
Didier told a Seattle news conference that he spoke with Rossi Thursday evening and that Rossi wanted to think about the requirements to take an unequivocal anti-abortion stand, make a no-new-taxes pledge and promise not to increase federal spending.
“I don’t think these are much of a reach for Dino Rossi – in fact, they are part of our party’s platform,” Didier said. “The ball is in Rossi’s court, and I’m anxious to begin campaigning for him.”
In a statement after Didier’s news conference, Rossi’s campaign said he would work to reduce spending, improve the economy and “put Washingtonians 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.”
In an e-mail to the Associated Press, Didier said he didn’t see the conditions as a list of demands. Instead, he believed people want to hear specifics from Rossi rather than generalities.
“He doesn’t have a chance of winning right now. I’m trying to give him a chance,” Didier said, who added he’d received many messages from supporters asking him to continue his fight.
But under Washington law, a candidate who loses in a primary cannot launch a write-in bid.
While Didier was in Seattle, Rossi was in Eastern Washington, starting the day in Moses Lake and stopping in Othello before an evening appearance in Spokane. His campaign challenged Murray to six televised debates, five in the state and one “nationally televised.” Rossi had declined to debate Didier and fellow Republican Paul Akers before the primary.
“Of course there will be debates,” Alex Glass, Murray’s deputy campaign manager, said on Friday afternoon. The number and timing will depend in part on the Senate schedule, Glass said, but Murray wasn’t inclined to debate outside the state.
“This election is about the voters in Washington state,” Glass said.