OLYMPIA, Wash. -- While Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty welcomed a primary-day visit from President Barack Obama to boost her momentum and campaign checkbook for the run to November, her Republican challengers wer also tearing through a final day of campaigning.
Dino Rossi, a former state senator and two-time gubernatorial runner-up, gave a Tuesday speech at the Emerald City Rotary before heading to an evening "victory party" at his suburban headquarters.
Rossi was heavily recruited by national Republican officials to challenge Murray, who has regularly polled below 50 percent. Rossi finally announced his campaign in late May, just days before the deadline for registering as a candidate.
Since then, Rossi has campaigned as a critic of the Democratic majority's spending and the national debt. He's sought to turn one of Murray's chief strengths, the ability to deliver federal money, into a liability.
Rossi shrugged off the President's visit to Seattle.
"I don't think he was planning on being in Washington state in August bailing out Patty Murray," a confident sounding Rossi said. He'll be an asset raising money, but beyond that we'll be talking about Patty Murray's 18 years of spending and growing government."
Murray and Rossi have consistently led the field of candidates in polls leading to the primary. Conservative Republican Clint Didier has garnered tea party support and pulled Rossi to the right on some positions.
Didier, who has made government spending a frequent campaign topic, was quick to tie Murray and Obama together at a rally in advance of the president's visit.
"You know, if there is more spending involved you know Patty is going to be sitting right to the left of Barack Obama with a rubber stamp," Didier said.
Murray has not run from her record of bringing federal spending to the state, pointing out jobs and major facilities that were bankrolled by such efforts and warning that a freshman senator who foreswears earmarks would simply surrender that money to other states.