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lunes, 9 de abril de 2018

Democrats set their sights on retiring Rep. Dave Reichert’s swing seat

Over the past year, the retirement of numerous Republican congressmen has added to the likelihood of a Democratic Party victory in the upcoming midterm elections.

Among those to call it quits is Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), who’s held onto his swing seat for nearly four decades. Smelling blood in the water, at least eight Democratic candidates are lining up to challenge the Republican replacement pick, hoping to flip Reichert’s seat in the mid-terms.

Another vulnerable GOP seat

Last September, Reichert announced that he will not look to regain his 8th Congressional District seat in the 2018 elections. Speaking to The Seattle Times, he said, “I’d certainly like to see a Republican keep the district. I think it’s going to be hard.”

For almost four decades, since its creation in 1980, Reichert has occupied his House seat in the 8th District. It is one of the roughly two dozen congressional districts throughout the country held by a Republican whose voters chose Hillary Clinton, by three points, over Donald Trump in the most recent presidential election.

To retain what should be a swing seat for such a long time is no easy task. On the political spectrum, Reichert falls somewhere in the middle. Like his voters, he is no fan of President Trump, but he did support repealing Obamacare.

Given the political leanings of the district, as well as the type of politician that Reichert was, Democrats now see Washington’s 8th district as one of their best opportunities to turn a red seat blue in November. Central Washington University political science professor Todd Schaefer said, “This is, without a doubt, the best chance Democrats have had to win this district, but they can’t just rely on their voters, even if they are angry and motivated. They have to draw Republicans and independents.”

Up for grabs?

Currently, eight unknown Democratic candidates are going up against a very well known Republican — Dino Rossi.

Rossi, a so-called ” fiscal conservative with a social conscience,” is a former state senator who is no stranger to winning in the 8th District. Although ultimately unsuccessful, he ran for governor twice and the U.S. Senate once, and won the 8th district by double-digit numbers each time.

Further demonstrating his advantage, at the end of 2017 the Federal Election Commission reported that Rossi had already raised as much money as his top five opponents combined.

Still, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report is calling the race a toss-up, which may be due in part to the district voters’ dissatisfaction with President Trump.

The big picture

Many consider the GOP’s shocking defeat last month in Pennsylvania’s very red 18th congressional district as confirmation of the overwhelming success that Democrats are predicted to have in November. Polls are indicating a 5-11 seat victory.

Democrats need to win 24 seats in the upcoming election in order to regain control of the House of Representatives. To do so, they will have to be successful in places such as Washington’s District 8.

The Democrats are motivated to win — but Republicans can’t afford to give ground. As in the recent presidential election, it is vital that Republicans get out there and make their voices heard this November.