No race this election season has gotten more attention than the one in the 4th Congressional District.
Dan Newhouse and Clint Didier, both Republicans thanks to our state’s “Top 2” primary system, are battling to fill the seat about to be vacated by veteran politician Rep. Doc Hastings.
Besides sharing a political party, the candidates have little in common other than both are farmers and both have name recognition.
Newhouse, a Sunnyside farmer, served in the state House of Representatives for the 15th District and as state director of agriculture under former Gov. Chris Gregoire. Didier, a Franklin County farmer, is a former professional football player, as well as a perennial political candidate.
Didier’s views are on the extreme right of the Republican scale, with endorsements from folks like Sarah Palin and Ron Paul. Newhouse is a conservative but more reasoned. He has the support of Doc Hastings and the NRA, among many others.
Didier clearly has strong support in our community, his home turf. And because he has campaigned so many times and is a local celebrity from his football days, his name carries weight. Didier was the top vote-getter in the crowd of a dozen candidates in the primary election.
But what he doesn’t have is experience. Or a real grasp of the issues facing the district. While the clean-up at Hanford is a challenging topic for anyone to fully understand, Didier has struggled to address it at all. He has not shown well at recent debates, and his answers often sound more like coached rhetoric than potential solutions to issues.
Didier recently suggested abolishing the federal Department of Education and said that they federal government should stay out of Hanford contractors business. He clearly despises federal oversight, and would get attention for all the wrong reasons in the other Washington.
Newhouse clearly is the better candidate to represent us in Washington, D.C. He has a depth of experience and a passion for agriculture that will serve us well. He is a good speaker and has shown his ability to work across party lines as a Republican working under a Democratic governor’s administration.
While he may not be as conservative as Didier, Newhouse is very much a conservative. His viewpoints are in line with the majority of the district’s residents, with immigration reform, protection of property rights and fiscal responsibility among his priorities.
We know there are many pro-Didier voters in our community, but please remember he is a political novice who has yet to win office despite campaigns for U.S. Senate and state Commissioner of Public Lands. His views are extreme and his experience relevant to the job at hand is minimal at best.