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June 26, 2007

Hurst says Burner doesn't own WA 08 primary slot

Posted by David Postman at 11:54 AM

It appears that one of two Democratic legislators considering an 8th District Congressional race may challenge Darcy Burner. But it's unlikely both Rep. Christopher Hurst and Sen. Rodney Tom will get in the Democratic primary. Hurst told me today:

"Rodney and I have had good talks about that. I wouldn't think that a tough primary challenge would be good for winning the race in November, so I think it ought to be one of the two of us."

Hurst said that "collateral damage" from a primary fight between him and Tom would be "almost insurmountable." But he's confident that either of them would beat Burner in the '08 primary and that fall face incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn. (I talked to Tom last week.)

Hurst's decision, he said, rests with family issues. His 22-year-old son, Andrew, is in an Army airborne infantry unit and could soon be sent on his second tour in Iraq. Hurst said having his son back on the battlefield would make it difficult for him to give a congressional campaign the attention it needs.

"When he was in Iraq it was hard to even drive home in the evening. You just waited to see an Army car parked out front the house. Nine kids in the unit were killed that year and a ton of them catastrophically wounded. ... I can tell you, it is hard to focus during those times."

If he did run against Reichert, having a son serve in Iraq and Afghanisan and a nephew killed in action in Mosul would shape Hurst's campaign.

"I think I know more about the war certainly than Dave does."

Hurst retired last year from 25 years in law enforcement. As a cop he said he knows Reichert, the former King County sheriff, well and has respect for his work.

"Dave's a good human being. I like Dave. But I have been dissatisfied. He ran as a moderate in that election last fall and some of his votes since the election he has essentially gone pretty much lock-step with the president."

But the first race he'd face would be against Burner, who has already announced she is making her second run at Reichert. Hurst says his law enforcement and legislative experience gives him a better resume than Burner. He says he respects Burner and the hard run she made at Reichert last year. But he says 2006 was as good as it can get for Democrats, and yet Burner couldn't beat Reichert. That, he says, opens her to a legitimate party challenge.

"The reality is there's no ownership there. The bottom line is what's best for the citizens of the district. You can't say that because someone ran before that's owed to them. Maybe some of the real hardcore party faithful say that. But I'm sorry, I don't buy that.

"The bottom line is if you couldn't win in 2006 you really got to sit down and do some soul searching and do a very careful, realistic analysis. That's what it's all about. Nobody owns this."

Hurst says he will make a decision by the end of July.

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