State Rep. Deb Wallace lobbed an offensive volley at state Sen. Craig Pridemore in her campaign for Congress on Tuesday, announcing that she has won the endorsements of several moderate Democrats, including former state Rep. Val Ogden, former Clark County Commissioner Betty Sue Morris and Rep. Tim Probst, her fellow 17th District representative.
“We hit the ground running from the first day I announced my candidacy for Congress,” the Vancouver Democrat said. “I think people are inspired by the energy around this campaign and the shared vision of a truly independent voice representing the 3rd District in Washington, D.C.”
Wallace also claimed the endorsements of Clark County businessman and philanthropist David Nierenberg, former Evergreen Public Schools board member Holly Williams, 17th District Democratic Party Chairman Pete Aller and Bob Lewis, owner of Columbia Vista Corp. and an Association of Washington Business board member.
Both Wallace and Pridemore are vying for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, who announced in December that he will not seek re-election.
Wallace noted that Ogden supports her even though she’s a former 49th District legislator and Pridemore now represents the 49th.
Pridemore countered that he has the endorsements of former 49th District legislator Bill Fromhold and current 49th District Reps. Jim Moeller and Jim Jacks, as well as Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart.
A former Clark County commissioner, Pridemore downplayed the idea that there’s a big difference politically between the 49th, which encompasses west Vancouver and Hazel Dell, and the 17th, which covers east Vancouver.
“I represented the 17th as county commissioner,” he said. “The Democrats in the 17th are the same as Democrats everywhere.”
Other announced candidates for the open seat in the 3rd District are Olympia peace activist Cheryl Crist and Vancouver Latina activist Maria Rodriguez-Salazar, both Democrats; and, on the Republican side, state Rep. Jaime Herrera of Camas, Olympia financial planner and former Homeland Security official David Castillo, Washougal City Councilor Jon Russell and former Marine David Hedrick of Camas.
State Democratic officials appear content to let the 3rd District campaigns play out without weighing in, at least for the time being.
Chairman Dwight Pelz said it’s even possible his party’s standard-bearer could be decided in the August top two primary. As the name implies, the top two voter-getters in that race will advance to the November general election regardless of party affiliation.
Local party committees are free to endorse candidates at any time they wish, Pelz said. But at the state level, “We don’t have a nominating primary anymore, we have a winnowing-down primary.” The Washington Democratic Central Committee could decide to pick a candidate to back at its January or September meeting or at its state convention in June, he said. Or it could let the voters decide in August.
State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser said through a spokesman that the process his party will follow in the 3rd District contest has not yet been determined.
Kathie Durbin: 360-735-4523; email@example.com.