In what many tea partiers called their last and best hope of a major win in Republican primaries for the House or Senate in 2014, onetime Washington Redskins tight end Clint Didier Tuesday topped a 12-candidate field for the an open U.S. House seat in Washington state's 4th District.
Didier, who now oversees a family farm in the Yakima Valley, will now face fellow Republican and former State Agriculture Director Dan Newhouse in November. Under the Evergreen State's electoral system, all candidates regardless of party compete on the same ballot in the primary and the two vote-getters go into a run-off in the fall.
Since 1994, the central Washington district has been represented by Republican Rep. Doc Hastings, now retiring after finishing a stint as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Although Didier and Newhouse are both considered strong conservatives, Didier’s take-no-prisoners style rallied tea partiers and supporters of Ron Paul to his banner. Campaigning with his past Super Bowl rings on his fingers, he called for abolishing the Department of Education and a hard line on immigration.
Asked at a gathering of Washington, D.C., conservatives if he would support legislation to reign in the National Security Agency and its ability to eavesdrop on Americans, Didier replied: "I would. And if they send any drones over my farm, I’ll personally shoot them down!"
Last week, he drew publicity when Hillary Clinton called the name of his old football team "insensitive." Didier shot back that the former secretary of state was far more insensitive when she said after the Benghazi tragedy: "What difference does it make?"
Newhouse is a strong contender in part because of his ties to the agricultural community in central Washington and his name: his father Irv Newhouse was a much-loved state legislator and Dan Newhouse succeeded him in the legislature.
But he may have a problem in that he was agriculture director under former Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire.
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