| In another setback for the bean-counters over at the DCCC, Democrats will have to defend yet another competitive open seat next year. Tim Sahd has the scoop:
Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) announced his retirement tonight, becoming the third Dem in a vulnerable seat to announce his departure in the last few weeks. "The time has now come to pursue other options, other ways of serving. Hence, I am announcing today that I do not intend to seek reelection to Congress in 2010," Baird wrote in a statement. "This is not an easy decision to be sure, but I believe it is the right decision at the right time."
The CD, with a Cook PVI of EVEN, is a very fertile open seat for GOPers to attack. Washougal City Councilor Jon Russell (R) and WA House GOP caucus ex-CoS David Castillo (R) were already running and prepared to face Baird. Several new candidates are likely to emerge.
Obama carried this district by a 52-46 margin, but Bush won it twice by two-point spreads in both 2004 and 2000. There's no word yet on who Democrats plan to recruit here, but I would expect big moves on both sides of the fence in the coming days.
UPDATE: Reid teases a few potential Dem names:
Dem sources, meanwhile, believe state Sen. Craig Pridemore (D) and state Rep. Brendan Williams (D) are potential candidates to replace Baird. Pridemore is from Vancouver, and Williams is from northern Thurston Co.
ANOTHER UPDATE (Crisitunity): On the Dem side, it'll probably be Pridemore. He wouldn't have to give up his state Sen. seat to run in 2010. He has the advantage of being from Vancouver, increasingly the district's population center. He's an Army vet and pretty well-liked. On the GOP side, I'd bet on state Sen. Don Benton, also from Vancouver, who ran against Baird in 1998 when it was an open seat and got to 45%. Benton also gets a free shot in 2010. Another possibility is state Sen. Joe Zarelli, who also ran against Baird (in 2002) but only got to 38%, which is what generic wingnut is usual good for in that district. One other possibility is state House minority leader Richard DeBolt, from Centralia in the middle of the district. The article also mentions state Rep. Jaime Herrera, who's a former aide to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and who already seems to be moving to get into the race.
EXTRA UPDATE (David): The New York Times just had a story the other day profiling Vancouver, WA - and how the city often gets confused with its Canadian neighbor in the same region.
GOP UPDATE (David): Republican state Rep. Jaime Herrera has already said she'll run. The 31-year-old Herrera is a former aide to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and was appointed to fill a vacant state House seat in 2007, which she won outright last year. Politico calls the seat "competitive," but according the Swing State Project's in-house analysis of presidential results at the legislative level in Washington, this district has a 2008 PVI of R+6, making it the tenth-most Republican in the state (out of 49). It went for Bush 57-42 and McCain 52-47. There are already a few GOPers already in the race, so it remains to be seen whether Herrera will clear the primary.
Dem Update (David): Hotline says their sources are suggesting a couple of other potential names: Clark Co. Commis. Steve Stuart (D) and Rep. Deb Wallace (D).
One Last Update (Crisitunity): The only electoral opponent Herrera has ever faced was a Democratic unknown in 2008, whom she defeated 60-40 in both the top 2 primary and the general. She's never faced off against another Republican; as remarked above, she was appointed to her position in 2007 (Washington fills legislative vacancies by appointment rather than by fast special election)... after Republican state Rep. Richard Curtis had to resign after a little gay escort scandal.
RaceTracker Wiki: WA-03