We're going to need a new desktop widget to keep track of all the candidates in Washington District 3. That's not a surprise (we suggested as much would happen) but the field really has grown large and fast in the few days since Democrat Brian Baird said he would not run again next year. Helped along by the fact that there's no really obvious successor, and that fact that this is a closely-balanced enough district that it realistically could swing either way next fall.
So. Among the Democrats, we now have: State Senator Craig Pridemore of Vancouver, state Representative Deb Wallace of Vancouver, peace activist Cheryl Crist (who primaried Baird, to little effect, in the last two cycles) and Hispanic activist Maria Rodriguez Salazar.
Among the Republicans, there's state Representative Jaime Herrera of Ridgefield, David Castillo of Olympia (a former federal veterans department official), Washougal City Council member Jon Russell, and former Marine John William Hedrick of Camas.
That's eight candidates in the week since Baird's announcement, and no reason to think there won't be more.
To try to sift for something resembling a front-runner . . . on the Democratic side, Pridemore probably has the most substantial voting track record (improving his 50.7% in 2004 to 61.7% in 2008), in the center of Vancouver, where the largest chunk of the voters in the district are. Of course, that's also one of the more liberal sectors of the congressional district, and Wallace's 61.3% last time in a slightly tougher district wasn't a bad calling card either. On the Republican side, Herrera (initially appointed but elected last year with 60%) displayed strength and campaign capability too, and is well-connected through her staff work with eastern Washington Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers.
But the race is early. It can reshape in many ways in the months ahead.