Voters in Central Washington get to decide the state’s marquee congressional contest this fall: the battle between tea party candidate Clint Didier and his establishment GOP rival, Dan Newhouse.
Now the Republican establishment is working to tilt the 4th Congressional District contest in Newhouse’s favor. A PAC backed by former Republican U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton has launched a $55,000 TV ad blitz attacking Didier for what it calls extreme and weird views. The group, calling itself Washington’s Future, registered and filed an expenditure notice with the Federal Election Commission last week.
The PAC’s 30-second ad, running on broadcast and cable, starts with footage of Didier’s speech at a gun-rights rally in Olympia last year, in which he warned the crowd to prepare for a coming doomsday by getting weapons and other supplies ready.
“Get your ham radio. Get it in a metal box and get it buried in the ground,” Didier says as the ad opens, with a spooky echo added for effect.
A concerned female narrator jumps in: “The more you listen, the weirder Clint Didier sounds.”
The ad then accuses Didier of wanting to cut Social Security, Medicare and food stamps.
It quotes Didier from a 2010 Seattle Times profile, saying “If we keep the weak alive all the time it eats up the strong.” Didier made that comment after a Bellingham campaign forum that year.
The context of that article made it clear Didier was referring, at least in part, to not propping up failing businesses and farms. But he also said at the time he wanted to cut food stamps and Medicaid, and that no one should be responsible for children but their own parents.
Didier campaign manager Larry Stickney responded to the PAC attack in a text Monday night.
“It comes as no surprise that a Slade Gorton backed PAC has organized to oppose Clint,” Stickney wrote. “After all, Slade remains the dean of Washington’s state’s aging liberal GOP establishment, who appears more interested in using their money to malign a genuine conservative Republican like Didier than defeating Democratic candidates around the state.”