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Editorial: An ideal target for conservatives
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Second District, hasn’t made it official yet, but he will be seeking a sixth term in Congress this year.
He’s represented his district well, working his way up on the Armed Services Committee which is vitally important to Whidbey Island, while bringing home the bacon locally. But let’s face it. He’s the poster boy for much of what some people consider wrong with this country, so we expect a serious challenge this year.
The Tea Party movement, for example, has a vocal presence on Whidbey Island. Larsen embodies a lot of what they’re against: He voted for the TARP bank bailout, he voted for the national health insurance plan, he voted for the federal bailout of auto companies, he voted for budgets with huge deficits, he voted to raise the national debt limit ... and more.
It would seem that conservatives would be lining up to challenge Larsen, but there’s no evidence of that yet. The Whidbey Island Tea Party Web site links to something called renewliberty.com, which states a petition will be handed to Snohomish County Councilman John Koster today, Jan. 13, asking him to run against Larsen. Koster has previously lost to Larsen and hasn’t publicly expressed a desire to tangle with him again. The draft Koster movement might just be wishful thinking. The same Web site lists six candidates who might run against Sen. Patty Murray, one who’s running against Congressman Jay Inslee, but none against Rick Larsen.
But if he allows himself to be “drafted” by the Tea Party partisans, Koster will at least have some name recognition, which is something only experience or vast sums of money can buy. And money is always the rub when it comes to challenging an incumbent. That’s why the re-election rate is above 90 percent nationally.
According to opensecrets.org, Larsen had raised $337,349 by the last financial report deadline of Sept. 30. Any Tea Party, Republican or other conservative candidate will likely start with only a few dollars, and is looking at a campaign that will cost well over $1 million.
Nevertheless, if the opposition is to be taken seriously in this district, they have to mount a serious challenger against Rep. Larsen this year. Otherwise, the public will figure they’re all talk and no show.