This report explains that Patty Murray now has a popular and well-funded challenger in the Washington Senate race: “Two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Dino Rossi will announce, likely Wednesday, that he is challenging three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, sources close to Rossi said Monday. It will mark Rossi’s third statewide run in six years.”
He’s lost two gubernatorial races (in 2004 by only 133 votes, and in 2008 by a much larger margin), but he is well known and is polling close to Murray. (In the last poll, he trails Murray by only four points.)
In order to maximize their options in the Senate races, the GOP must put into play races that usually aren’t — California, New York, and Washington. Two of those will now require that the Democrats expend time and money to keep afloat two of their more liberal senators who have dutifully rubber-stamped Obama’s agenda. New York is the exception — although Kirsten Gillibrand is no rock star, the GOP has yet to field a high-profile and popular candidate. You can’t win, even in the best of political times for your side, without attractive, well-financed, and well-suited candidates. Fortunately for the Republicans, there are many seats where they have precisely that.