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Washington Races

House Outlook for 2008

Will the GOP Swing the Pendulum Back?

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Washington (08)

Outlook: Leans Republican

November 14, 2008 Update:

Republican Dave Reichert won re-election after her opponent Darcy Burner conceded late Friday, November 7. At that time, Reichert was leading by 8,000 votes with 80 percent of the vote counted.

November 7, 2008 Update:

Republican Dave Reichert is leading by 5,332 votes with 72% of precincts reporting. Results are expected within the next week. Back in 2006, when the same two candidates squared off, it took a week to decide the winner.

September 16, 2008 Update:

With less than two months until election day, the race for Washington’s eight district is shaping up to be a barn-burner (pun definitely intended)! Even with the loss of her house to fire in July, repeat candidate Darcy Burner has kept up her torrid fundraising pace. During the last reporting period, Burner raised $584K to incumbent Dave Reichert’s $347K, banking $1.24 million to the incumbent’s $916K cash on hand.

But the news isn’t all bad for Reichert either. In last month’s bipartisan “top-two” primary, Reichert improved upon his 2006 showing and garnered more votes than his Democratic opponent for the first time in his Congressional career (Note: Washington’s primary includes all candidates and parties with only the “top-two” vote winners advancing to the general election). What’s more, Reichert has picked up the endorsement of a conservative Democrat that drew four percent of the primary vote. With both candidates looking strong coming into the home stretch, this race may prove to be one of the more exciting and competitive contests in the entire nation.

June 3, 2008 Update:

Democratic repeat challenger Darcy Burner has lit the fires and kicked the tires in a race that is really starting to heat up. Her fundraising efforts have netted $1.4 million this cycle, actually outpacing the incumbent, Rep. Dave Reichert, by a few thousand dollars. Even better, she has a cash-on-hand advantage of more than $200,000.

Perhaps the best explanation for this lead is that Burner has been in full-out campaign mode ever since last November’s election ended with her losing by just two percent after matching Reichert dollar for dollar in expenditures. Burner has not just been raising money, she’s been tackling policy as well, helping develop a thirty-six page plan for what to do in Iraq. While Reichert’s campaign thinks voters have moved on and are now concerned primarily with the economy, Burner has thus far framed this election as a continuation of 2006 and a second referendum on Iraq. Right now, this race looks like a carbon-copy of the first and if national party dynamics stay the same as they were in 2006, Reichert is in for another very tough race.


Repeat challengers from both parties had a tough time in 2006, but even so, more candidates are taking a second shot at incumbents in 2008. Former Microsoft executive Darcy Burner came within two points of Representative Dave Reichert last cycle, but is convinced she can improve upon her showing in 08. Needless to say, some things have changed since 2006—the Iraq war has improved, the economy has fallen—while others, especially the unpopularity of President Bush, remain the same.

So far, Burner is on the right track in her second challenge; her fundraising has improved since 2006 and she was able to avoid a competitive primary against state senator Rodney Tom. Congressman Reichert, as well, has reported solid, if not impressive, fundraising totals, and can now boast of the League of Conservation Voters’ distinction as one of the ten most environmentally friendly Republicans in the House. The district itself leans slightly Democratic, but barring further developments, Burner may find it difficult to expand upon her 2006 performance.


Dave Reichert (I) – Republican – current Congressman

Darcy Burner – Democrat – 2006 Democratic candidate, manager for Microsoft