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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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August 21, 2008 10:38 AM

An opponent reassesses Reichert

Posted by David Postman

This is from Emily Heffter, the Timeswoman covering the 8th congressional race:

Conservative Democrat Jim Vaughn shared a podium with U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert yesterday to announce his support for the congressman's re-election campaign, saying that Reichert has "stood up to the president."

"He's earned my respect," Vaughn said. "Dave Reichert has my full endorsement."
(There's a story about it here.)

But Vaughn was far less supportive of the congressman on his campaign Web site a few months ago, writing:

Typically, new employees have a 90 day probationary period to prove themselves. Dave Reichert has had a two year probationary period. The job is not a good fit for him or for us. The Republican Party wants to keep Dave in office and not because he is a strong congressman. Dave will do whatever the party tells him to do in order to survive. We have seen that he is a yes man for George Bush. I ask you, “If Dave Reichert were in the board room with Donald Trump on the apprentice, what would Donald say?”

He also posted some rankings of Reichert from his first term that showed he was among the least influential Congressional members, based on sponsored legislation, earmarks and some other indicators.

In an interview this morning, Vaughn said he based his initial assessment of Reichert on his first term. (That explains the reference above to the “two-year probationary period.) But in his second term, he said, Reichert has moved toward the middle and proved he will stand up to the party.

"I really need to retract that," he said of the comments on his Web site.

Vaughn also gave a speech this spring at a Democratic Party nominating contest, where he told fellow Democrats his main reason for running was to get Reichert out of office.

"I really did want to knock Dave out," he said. But that was a strategy rather than a disagreement with Reichert's positions, he said. He figured if he beat Reichert in the primary, he would earn conservative Democratic and Republican votes and easily beat Burner.

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