Writings and observations

Jennifer Dunn

Jennifer Dunn

Jennifer Dunn

These days you couldn’t say this about but so many Republicans in Washington state, but you can about Jennifer Dunn: Had she simply so chosen, she almost certainly would have been, right up to this week, a member of the U.S. House from a western Washington district.

Elected first in 1992, and most recently in 2002, she was as close to unbeatable as you get in the 8th district. The Republican who followed her after her opt-out in 2004, Dave Reichert, has had tough contests both cycles, a good deal tougher than she faced, and is headed into another at least as difficult next year. But even in the changing conditions of the King County eastside, we’re pretty sure Dunn would have ridden the wave. She was well liked; her political skills were of an unusually high order; but she also had a fine sense for practicality.

Her death in Virginia – yesterday, we gather, though details are sketchy – was abrupt and unexpected, from a pulmonary embolism. At 66, she was still working actively and involved in politics, in both Washingtons. Washington state Republicans will feel a definite loss there, in addition to the personal.

And some of the shock that comes with the reminder that we none of us know when our time is up. Dunn, highly active politics for many years (she was a state party chair before her election to Congress), made a lot of the time she had. Her voters were among those who certainly seemed to know it.

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