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Baird Retires; GOP Lands Solid Recruit

By Tim Sahd and Reid Wilson

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. And they instantly found a top-tier candidate in state Rep. Jaime Herrera (R), who told GOPers she'd be a candidate almost immediately after Baird's announcement. The former aide to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) has been groomed for the seat, and WA Dems privately concede she'll be a tough candidate.

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.

Baird never had any difficulty winning re-election in this southwest WA CD; indeed, the 55% he took in winning his first term in '98 represented his toughest contest.

But it is a swing CD, as Pres. Bush carried it in '04 with 50%, and Pres. Obama won it four years later with 53%.

As a moderate, Baird angered voters across the spectrum. His vote against the health care bill led the local AFSCME co-chair to warn, "With a no vote, you have placed yourself on the wrong side of history, and on the wrong side against your constituents."

And this summer, ret. Marine David Hedrick (R) gained overnight fame among the Tea Party crowd after he confronted Baird for at first refusing to hold townhalls. Baird told the Olympian: "It's a lynch-mob mentality out there. There is an ugliness to it."

Baird is the third Dem in as many weeks to call it quits. Reps. Dennis Moore (R-KS) and John Tanner (R-TN) are the other two Dems, and all three sit in very marginal CDs. Dems explained Moore and Tanner's retirements away as individual cases, and not the beginning of a coming wave of retirements.

But Baird's decision, which was unexpected, is sure to crank up expectations for further retirements. The NRCC was quick to jump on the news. "With this being the third retirement by a swing-district Democrat in as many weeks, it is clear that members of the Majority are feeling the ground shaking beneath them," NRCC chair Pete Sessions (R-TX) wrote in a statement.

So far, nine Dems have announced they're leaving the House at the end of the term, and GOPers are targeting at least six of those seats. On the other side, 12 GOPers have announced their retirements, but only three are considered vulnerable to takeover.

14 Comments

3 Dem incumbents in the House now goners. How come we're not seeing this all over CNN, NBC, MSNBC, USAToday, Newsweek, WaPo, et.al.?

Other under-reported story missed by the big media, Tidal Wave of Party Switchers from Democrat to Republican. Last couple months; 20 in Texas including a State Rep., 8 in Alabama, 10 in Mississippi, and 2 in North Carolina (County Commissioners, Sheriffs, Judges and such).

Where's the coverage? If it was Republicans switching to Democrat it'd be all over the place.

Baird spoke out against Israeli war crimes in Gaza after he had visited Gaza. He knows that because of AIPAC, he stands no chance to get reelected after that. That's why he quit. Maybe it's time the US starts controlling its own foreign policy and allows for freedom of speech on its own soil when the subject is Israel. A good start would be to designate AIPAC and its supporters as a threat to national security.

Not sure who your sources are, but the GOP already has a solid, top tier candidate in David Castillo. He is now the fundraising leader, endorsement leader and he decided to run when he was taking on a six term incumbent. He is a true leader.

David Castillo will likely announce that he's dropping from the race.

You obviously didn't get the memo that Jaime Herrera is the anointed pick now that Baird is out, notwithstanding Castillo's leadership qualifications.

Eric,

and there are still Republicans switching to Democrats (here in Arizona the most recent switch from the GOP to Democratic party is Ben Arredondo, a Republican city councilman from Tempe who said he is fed up with the G.O.P. in the legislature and plans to run for that body as a Democrat.

That wasn't a national story either. In other words, these kinds of things happen all the time and they happen between both parties.

I will be sorry to see Mr Baird go and I say this as a strong Republican.
He is an honorable man who called them as he saw them. I well remember when he earned the hatred of the left by saying that he saw progress in Iraq during the surge, after he visited there.
Good luck Mr Baird in whatever the future holds for you.

Baird retired because he was going to be beaten. Washington citizens are VERY angry at being betrayed by Baird every time they turned around. Democrats will lose both houses of Congress, since the choice is fake Republicans (Democrats) or real Republicans (Fascists.) With Bush's 3rd term going well under Obama, there is nothing to lose by voting Republican just to get the incumbents out of office. General disgust has overridden politics at last.

Eli,

Who the hell cares about a Tempe city councilman (other than people in Tempe, of course)? Eric's point is well taken. If Republicans had 3 guys retire back-to-back-to-back, you can rest assured that the MSM would be reporting it as some sort of doomsday scenario.

This is nothing big.. Just the rats jumping ship while the boat sinks into the ocean...

"Baird retired because he was going to be beaten. Washington citizens are VERY angry at being betrayed by Baird every time they turned around. Democrats will lose both houses of Congress, since the choice is fake Republicans (Democrats) or real Republicans (Fascists.) With Bush's 3rd term going well under Obama, there is nothing to lose by voting Republican just to get the incumbents out of office. General disgust has overridden politics at last."

Here is a perfect example of what is wrong with America. Our poor education system. Sounds like the blinded blubbering of a University professor.

This *is* the district that elected Linda Smith who was sort of the Michelle Bachmann of the 90s.

So more Republicans than Democrats have retired so far but it's the Democrats who are fleeing a sinking ship?

lol--

The point is that the Republicans that are retiring are doing so in safe GOP districts. The Dems retiring are doing so in districts which the GOP has good odds of winning. If you read the story you would have seen this.

He received 64% in the last election and some say he is retiring because he was facing defeat? Again, the facts don't square with the right wing political spin.

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