Clint Didier voting for Dino Rossi, but still won't endorse him



Posted on October 21, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 21 at 6:03 PM

ELTOPIA, Wash. - When I asked Clint Didier if he was relieved to be off the campaign trail and back on the farm full-time, he grinned.

"Oh yeah," he said.

His whirlwind dance through Washington state politics was exhausting, bruising and educational. He has just about paid off the bill he ran up during the campaign.

In the end he refused to play the good GOP soldier and form ranks behind Senate candidate Dino Rossi, and he admits he got pounded by Republican Party regulars from around the state who accused him of being a sore loser.

He wanted to make a statement, get people talking, re-direct political discourse to the Constitution and how we should live by it today.

The rest of it? All the fundraising, the speechifying, the travel, the hand-shaking and deal-making, even actually being a U.S. Senator? Somebody else can have all that now and they are welcome to it.

"I'm not a politician and I don't want to be one," he said. "I'm not used to this field and I don't want to get used to it. But I think the American public needs to realize we need to get back to the basics of what this country was founded on."

While Didier has not formally endorsed Rossi, he came about as close as a person can, probably as close as his personal pride and respect for his followers would allow him. Standing at the edge of a piece Franklin County land he owns and leases to a local potato-grower, he gives a grudging nod of approval to Rossi, or at least to defeating Senator Patty Murray, the three-term Democratic incumbent.

"I'm telling my people we need to vote for Dino. I will vote for him. I'm showing him that support. But I will not endorse him," said Didier.

As for the sore loser tag, he shrugs that off. But you can tell it needled him a bit. As a loser in the primary, he held a press conference to demand that Rossi - who beat him by nearly 200,000 vote - take public stands on abortion, tax hikes and cutting the size of the federal government.

Rossi passed.

Didier went back to the farm.

We watched as he got a tiller ready for planting wheat, dug up Altura potatoes, poured out corn kernels and filled the water trough for his small herd of cattle. The farmer who calls himself a citizen statesman seems perfectly at home and comfortable enough with what he's done to suggest maybe it's the political structure, not him, that needs to change.

"It's not sour grapes and I'm not a sore loser. I'm standing up for the principles of our platform. If the Republican Party doesn't want to do the same well then maybe I don't want to be part of the Republican Party anymore," said Didier.

Don't expect to see him on a ballot anytime soon.