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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

February 17, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Clint Didier announces bid for Hastings’ seat

Former NFL tight end and two-time statewide conservative candidate Clint Didier announced Monday he’ll run for Congress in the 4th Congressional District.

Didier, a Republican who made waves as an outspoken tea-party challenger in the 2010 Senate race, said his phone was “instantly loaded with calls from supporters” after 10-term Rep. Doc Hastings announced last week he won’t seek reelection this fall.

As he did in his unsuccessful 2010 Senate bid, Didier sounded a grim warning about a government he believes is crushing America’s freedom.

“Everyone I talk with seems to share an uneasiness about this time in America. It’s an uneasiness about our future. Even though they can’t put their finger on it, everyone seems to know it centers on the size and scope of the federal government. It has to change and we need those willing to take the tough votes to change it. I am.”

Didier won two Super Bowls with Washington in the 1980s. After his football career, he returned to his home of Eltopia, Franklin County, to run a farm and raise a family.

In 2010, Didier ran as a tea-party insurgent challenger for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Patty Murray. During that contest it emerged that despite his anti-government handout rhetoric, he’d taken $273,000 in farm subsidies over the years (Didier has since sworn off the subsidies).

Endorsed by Sarah Palin, Didier finished a distant third in the 2010 primary, with 12.76 percent of the statewide vote. However, Didier did beat Dino Rossi in three counties in Eastern Washington. He also was the GOP candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands in 2012, losing to incumbent Peter Goldmark but carrying most of Eastern Washington.

Those races should give Didier a name-recognition advantage starting out in the 4th District race.

But Didier could face plenty of Republican competition.

State Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, has formed an exploratory committee.

Gavin Seim, an Ephrata portrait photographer and self described “Christian patriot” already had filed to challenge Hastings this fall.

The Tri-City Herald reports other possible candidates include: Dan Newhouse, former director of the state Department of Agriculture; Franklin County Commissioner Brad Peck; Kennewick attorney George Cicotte; and state Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick.

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