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Posts published in “Day: January 5, 2009”

Longevity, at the outset

Walt Minnick

Walt Minnick

The new Congress, most of it at least, is sworn in tomorrow, and for many that will mark the start of a new career, in some cases an extended period. The two new Oregonians in Congress likely will be there a while. Senator Jeff Merkley will be there for six years anyway (re-election that far out is too hard to predict as yet); and Representative Kurt Schrader looks, for now anyway, to be well positioned for re-election. The same should go for the new Idaho senator, Republican Jim Risch - as matters sit, a strong prospect for re-election if he seeks it.

However, the Hill newspaper today ranks another Northwesterner as the second most endangered new member of Congress (after Louisiana Republican Joseph Cao, whose political difficulties probably are greater than anyone else's in the new Congress). That would be Democratic Idaho Representative Walt Minnick:

Minnick won in large part thanks to outgoing Rep. Bill Sali’s (R) inability to play nice even with members of his own party. The incoming Democrat will attempt to hold down a district that voted 69 percent for President Bush in 2004, and he has shown the fundraising prowess to do so. Minnick would be well-served if Sali ran again, but, even in that case, the GOP primary would be no cinch for the one-term former representative.

The Hill correctly nails the early interest among Republicans in the seat, throwing in the names of Sali, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (who was interested in a U.S Senate seat last cycle) and state Senator John McGee of Caldwell. (more…)

One of a kind

Bill Grant

Bill Grant

Once, just as the idea of Republicans getting elected from within Seattle was an ordinary and normal thing, there were Democrats - usually relatively conservative, but Democrats - getting elected from the parts of rural Washington east of the Cascades. But there hasn't been one of those - the rural Democrats from eastern Washington - in many years now, with one exception. Bill Grant, a Democrat who has representd the Walla Walla and surrounding area for 22 years, has been the last of his kind. (Even back then, he was unusual - the legislative seat he won had been held by Republican Doc Hastings, now a U.S. representative.)

Until now. Grant, diagnosed with lung cancer only last month, died on Sunday at Walla Walla.

There will be the usual laudatory remarks following his passing. I his case, they will generally match with the favorable descriptors he tended to get from around the political sphere. They also match up with this: A person who could get elected as long and convincingly in such strong territory for the opposing party, must have been doing something right all those years.