SEATTLE – The race for the Congress in Washington state's 8th District appears to be tightening. Republican incumbent Dave Reichert is facing Democrat Suzan DelBene, who has been hammering away of late with TV commercials.
Reichert, who has plenty of name recognition, was leading by double digits after the August primary against little-known DelBene.
The Democrat's strategy was to save her campaign money for the general election. She has come on strong with heavy attack ads on Reichert, taking a page from the Republicans and portraying him as a big spender.
"I think people are angry at people in office across the board and that does hit some Democrats and some Republicans," said DelBene.
By holding her fire until the last few weeks, DelBene is taking a gamble. She has very little time to get her name out. By comparison, the last Democrat to run against Reichert, Darcy Burner, spent a lot of resources before the primary. She lost.
DelBene is determined to make her campaign different. She put her headquarters in the south end of the district, focusing heavily on Pierce County, where Reichert is strongest. She plays up her resume – a former Microsoft executive who helped start Drugstore.com and another small startup.
"I understand what it takes to create a job. This isn't a theoretical exercise," said DelBene.
She says Democrats have made good progress, such as health care and financial reform. On Wednesday, DelBene received the endorsement of The Seattle Times.
DelBene admits having a spotty voting record and calls that a mistake. But even some Republicans see her as a credible candidate, having grown up in the district, a mother of two with business experience.
Most polls indicate it's a tough year for a Democrat to unseat a well-known Republican, but DelBene takes pride in ignoring conventional wisdom, just has her mother did when she spelled her daughter's name with a Z.
"My mom is always about making a statement and doing it differently, so she's proud that it's different than everybody else's," said DelBene.
In our last KING 5 poll two weeks ago, SurveyUSA found Reichert leading DelBene by seven points. Her numbers climbed in early October because she bought plenty of TV commercials while the Reichert campaign did not. Reichert is now on the air with his own ads.