Didier holds off on endorsing Rossi for Senate


by Associated Press and KING5 News


Posted on August 20, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 20 at 6:20 PM

SEATTLE. - Tea party favorite Clint Didier says he's not ready to endorse fellow Republican Dino Rossi yet in the Senate race against Patty Murray.

At a news conference Friday Didier said he is conceding the race. He also said he finally talked with Rossi Thursday night.

Didier  said he's been getting a lot of calls from his supporters saying they won't vote for Rossi.

Before he throws his support to Rossi, he's looking for some concessions from the Republican candidate.

"At this moment I cannot endorse Dino Rossi but that can change in a moment," Didier said.

Didier wants Rossi to take an unequivocal stand against abortion, pledge not to vote for any new taxes or increases in any existing taxes and promise to vote no on any bill that would increase federal spending.

"I want to endorse Dino and campaign for him," said Didier, but firmly said that's all contingent on Rossi backing his demands.

Rossi's campaign promptly replied that he won't submit to "demands made by anyone, even people with whom he agrees."

In a statement after Didier's news conference, Rossi's campaign said: "Dino will keep working to earn the support of anyone who will work to reduce spending, get the economy back on track, and put Washingtonians back to work.

"He knows Washingtonians are principled and independent and expect their public servants to run on what they believe. In that spirit, Dino will continue to campaign on the things he believes, and will not submit to a list of demands made by anyone, even people with whom he agrees, in Washington State or Washington, D.C."

Saying he wants to be a vehicle for movement Didier said he "plans on staying in this for the long haul."

He announced plans to form a new political action group called "Take Back Washington (D.C.)"  with more information on that coming days and weeks.

Didier finished in third place in Tuesday's primary, in which the top two candidates advance. He had 12 percent of the vote. Rossi had 34 percent and Murray 46 percent. She is seeking her fourth Senate term.

Didier is a Pasco-area potato farmer and former tight end for the Washington Redskins who was endorsed by Sarah Palin and Ron Paul.

"Can Dino Rossi win without Didier's supporters? I don't think there's any doubt that he's going to have those supporters. The conversations I've had over the past few days indicate that support is definitely going to be there," said Luke Esser, Washington GOP Party Chairman.

On the campaign trail Friday, Rossi rejected Didier's demands.

"I don’t' change my positions to try to garner any group or any individual. I'm just who I am," he said.

Didier collected 150,000 votes in last week's primary - about 1/3 of all GOP ballots cast. The former pro-football player says without Didier's endorsement, many of those Republicans might refuse to vote - a move that could conceivably cost Rossi the election.

KING 5's Glenn Farley and Eric Wilkinson contributed to this report.

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