Reichert extends lead to snag second term
U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert campaigned on his willingness to buck his Republican party. Monday, he eluded the GOP's nationwide losing streak...
Seattle Times staff reporter
U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert campaigned on his willingness to buck his Republican Party.
Monday, he eluded the GOP's nationwide losing streak by apparently beating back a fierce, expensive challenge from Democrat Darcy Burner.
"I am a little surprised it was as tough as it was, because of the inexperience of my opponent," Reichert said. "The national environment played a significantly higher role, and had more of an impact, than I expected it to play."
At least 20,000 ballots remain uncounted, but Reichert has steadily padded his lead since Election Day and held a 4,727-vote margin Monday. The Associated Press, based on voting trends, declared victory for Reichert late Monday.
Burner called Reichert on Monday night to congratulate him and will hold a news conference today in Bellevue, her campaign said.
She had hoped for a miracle comeback, but her lead in King County evaporated Monday and she fell further behind Reichert in Pierce County.
Burner's campaign set fundraising records and used the money to hammer Reichert as being a "rubber stamp" for President Bush and the scandal-tainted GOP leadership.
But Reichert, the former King County sheriff, made a compelling case for his independence from the GOP and his roots in the suburban 8th Congressional District.
"In the end, it's really what gave us the victory," said Reichert, who returned to Washington, D.C., as Congress reconvened.
"It finally did come down to the point of the voters in the 8th District being astute and attuned politically. They saw a person who had leadership qualities and independence," he said.
Reichert was targeted this year by Democrats as a first-term congressman in a swing district. This race was tougher than his first, Reichert said.
He said he was sad to lose chairmanship of a Homeland Security subcommittee as the GOP lost control of the House but would make restoration of the state sales-tax exemption his first priority.
Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605
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