Nethercutt will get a GOP challenger
KENNETH P. VOGEL; The News Tribune
Though his party has coalesced behind another candidate, former King
County Republican Party Chairman Reed Davis is set to announce today
that he will seek the GOP nomination to run in 2004 for the U.S. Senate
seat held by Democrat Patty Murray.
Last week, U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt (R-Spokane) officially entered
the race, drawing sighs of relief and promises of support from state
and national Republicans who see him as their best chance of blocking
Murray (D-Shoreline) from a third term.
But Davis, 49, an associate professor of political science at Seattle
Pacific University, said he'll cultivate grass-roots support by running
as a "Reagan conservative" and focusing on economic issues,
particularly those affecting small business.
A Pittsburgh native and father of two, Davis has never held elected
office, but he said he wouldn't be running "if I didn't think
I could beat George Nethercutt - if I didn't think I could beat Patty
Keep dreaming, said Chris Vance, who defeated Davis and three other
candidates in 2001 to become chairman of the state Republican Party,
which has already tendered a rare preprimary endorsement to Nethercutt
"I hope Reed does the sensible thing and supports George Nethercutt.
But if he doesn't, he will have absolutely no effect on this race,"
Early fund-raising figures, which analysts use to gauge candidate's
viability, lend credence to Vance's assertions.
At the end of last month, Davis' committee reported to the Federal
Election Commission that it had $1,300 in cash on hand, compared with
$403,000 for Nethercutt and nearly $2.4 million for Murray.
Nethercutt spokeswoman April Gentry, an SPU graduate who took classes
from Davis, said Monday that her boss had no comment on Davis' candidacy.
"Congressman Nethercutt tried to reach Reed Davis today,"
said Gentry. "Mr. Davis has not returned the congressman's phone
call as of yet."
Kenneth P. Vogel: 360-754-6093