Breaking: Congressman Brian Baird will not seek re-election

Charlie Burr

From The Hotline:

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.

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%.

Discuss.

Comments

  • backbeat (unverified)
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    Good. Tired of that pretend Democrat stuff. We can do much better.

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    backbeat: Good. Tired of that pretend Democrat stuff. We can do much better.

    Then you'd better work your ass off to make sure they don't vote in a Republican, bb. As tired as you are of Democrats you think are "pretend Democrats", I'm even tireder of the purity troll brigade and their constant bashing, who never seem to pitch in themselves.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    Looks like Portland-area Democrats will have something to do after all, if they care to go across the river and help out their fellow Democrat.

    This is easily going to be the most competitive important race within 20 miles of Portland in 2010.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    Well, after the Democratic primary for Governor is over, anyhow.

  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)
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    I'm even tireder of the purity troll brigade and their constant bashing, who never seem to pitch in themselves.

    They probably don't announce it to you, but, from what I've experienced they pitch in plenty in situations like this, agreeing with your premise.

    Once in office, and we're faced with the two-faced one party system once again, then you hear from the "purity troll brigade" that just doesn't get the real politik.

  • Greg D. (unverified)
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    Brian Baird has been moving hard to the right in recent years. Started with his support of the bankruptcy code amendments a few years back and has continued through recent votes on health care reform, etc.

    Clark County was once a reliable Dem stronghold with good union jobs at Alcoa, etc. Now Clark County has become something of a tax haven for older conservative (and rich) folks looking to avoid state income taxes. The idle rich plus the usual idiot "Ditto Heads" have made Clark County a swing jurisdiction. Still likely to elect a Dem representative, but a lot closer than it used to be.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "As tired as you are of Democrats you think are "pretend Democrats", I'm even tireder of the purity troll brigade and their constant bashing, who never seem to pitch in themselves. "

    When Al Ullman was chair of Ways and Means, his politics may easily have been to the right of Baird (issues back then being very different). A frequent candidate who was also a grand old man of the local Democratic party ran against him in the primary. He got 45% of the vote, although there were lots of debates among activists "shall we vote for him one more time and then in 1982 there will be a 5th district?".

    GOP looked at that 45% and opened their wallets and campaign accounts, and there was a 3rd party candidate. Denny Smith won and we had to work very hard for a decade to get rid of him.

    Over the decades there have been people who said things like "Good. Tired of that pretend Democrat stuff. We can do much better." but were never around to do the grunt work stuff.

    There is no guarantee that there will be a primary candidate in that district fitting bb's wishes ---it may just be someone well known in the area who has the most support.

    And beware of the "real Democrat" stuff.

    "People forget who the real opponents are.........................How soon some people forget what it's like to have these right-wing nuts running the country, packing the courts, cutting funding for education, infrastructure, science research (does stem cell ring a bell?), and on and on."

    A friend I met as a result of being a Dem. national convention decades ago delegate sent me that in an email.

    I would rather have an elected official one could talk to, one who went on local radio on a regular basis (as Baird did) to explain voting record etc. than a person I agreed with on many things but was a know it all and wouldn't engage in dialogue with the public. YMMV, but anyone who doesn't devote a lot of time and resources to a particular campaign has no right to complain if they don't like the result.

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    Seems to me that there are two types of so-called purity trolls. Both seem to share the POV that corporate interests have far too much control of both major parties, but there are some major fundamental differences between the two types.

    One type spews invective from atop their presumed moral mountain top against any and all Democrats for being dupes. They may belong to another political party and may be quite active in protests, demonstrations and campaigning.

    The other type works from within the Democratic Party to reform it. They too may be quite active in protests, demonstrations and campaigning. But they are more likely to focus their very real battles against corporate Dems in primary elections while taking a real politik view of the General elections - considering the points LT makes about GOPers packing courts with life-long judgeships and the other assorted shenanigans they are famous for (stem cells, Terri Schaivo, etc.).

    I would strongly suggest that those readers here who are angry about corporate Dems do something that is both productive and doesn't help elect whack-job conservative GOPers - join the Progressive Democrats of America and get involved! I'm sure Chris Lowe, the state coordinator for PDA Oregon and the Portland Metro Progressive Democrats chapter contact person, would be more than happy to find something constructive for you to do that will further the progressive cause while minimizing opportunities for conservative wingnuts to further damage our state and our country.

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    Back to the issue of Rep Baird...

    I wonder how much, if at all, anticipated opposition from AIPAC for his strong stand against Israeli war crimes in Gaza played a role in this decision?

  • Greg D. (unverified)
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    To complete my thought above, Washington 3rd includes Olympia and its southern suburbs as well as Longview and Vancouver. The 3rd has been solidly Dem since 1960 except for 3 years of the wing nut Linda Smith in the mid-90s. Public employee unions in Olympia, Pulp and Paper unions in Longview and enough remaining progressives in Clark County should insure a Dem gets elected in the 3rd, but it could be a close race if a well funded Repub appears. There are a couple progressive state legislators who should have an early advantage, but who knows.

  • Robert Collins (unverified)
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    Baird called the tea-baggers "Brownshirts".

    In a boisterous town hall one man, who I think is running against him on the Republican ticket, reminded Baird that the Brownshirts were members of the National SOCIALIST party.

    Based on the audience reaction you knew a fork had been put in Baird.

    Now, on to David Woo, who is still battling the Klingons in the White House, and giggles when he is asked if he has read the legislation he is about to vote on.

  • LT (unverified)
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    RC--National Socialism was the full name of the Nazis.

    Stalin et. al were part of the USSR--Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. That was a Communist country as was Communist China.

    Brownshirts-- weren't those Nazis?

    Cong WU has a 2 letter name.

    And as long as Republicans talk more about "the left" than about solving problems and reaching out to independents (often the margin of victory in recent elections) they aren't going to win many elections.

  • steve (unverified)
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    Baird was a disappointment, and I'm not sorry to see him go. His retirement is actually fortuitous, since getting rid of a crappy Democrat often requires transitioning through a Republican. There is an opportunity to gain a solid representative for the thinking class, hopefully the good people of the district will take it.

  • David from Eugene (unverified)
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    LT

    The full official name of the German Nazi Party was De Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei NSDAP. It was a right wing nationalist party diametrically opposed to the Communist Party of Germany. The only thing socialist about it was that advocated moving the administration of social welfare services from the state churches to the state.

    The NSDAP’s largest paramilitary arm was the Sturmabteilung (SA). The name “Brown Shirts” comes from the brown uniform worn by the SA.

    I knew that staying awake in German History would be useful some time.

  • Gayle (unverified)
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    LT, glad to see someone else is old enough to remember Al Ullman. I lived in his district(although too young to vote) and the feeling was that as he gained power in DC, he forgot his constituents. I've written letters to Rep. Baird accusing him of the same thing. One even asked him when he was going to change that D after his name to an R. But he listened. We are now on a first name basis and even though I still disagree with some of his stances, I respect the man making those decisions. The coalition fighting to keep liquefied natural gas importation terminals out of the Columbia estuary fought long and hard to get his attention and a public announcement of his stance on LNG. After we finally got a meeting with him and presented our side, he came out against Bradwood Landing, the first and only Washington congressperson to do so. He has been steadfast and we will miss him.

  • Lady Peladon (unverified)
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    Lawd Pussystream speaks the truth. A certain junior Senator's campaign is still fresh in the mind...

    For all you having fun with German and Nazis... You can have LOADS of fun with the S.S. Yeah, the Gestapo. It stood for "Soziale Sicherheit", which literally means "Social Security"!

    Different kind of "security"!

  • Lady Peladon (unverified)
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    Now, on to David Woo, who is still battling the Klingons in the White House, and giggles when he is asked if he has read the legislation he is about to vote on.

    Cong WU has a 2 letter name.

    He giggles because it's a "like it would make a difference". He goes to notes from meetings with donors.

    So, it has been 4 years that progressives have been dissing this guy and Dems have been falling all over themselves to defend him, at least right here on BO. Only 2 years ago you had to be a troll to even question him. Now, overnight, he's gone from "Woo-hoo!" to "Wu, who?" He hasn't changed one iota. Can Dem faithful get a glimpse, just for a moment now, how much you are led around by the nose, by your party? Five years ago it was asked, right here, how you could trust an AMA stooge. Answer: you can't. I remember Mauer in particular calling us out as trolls for even suggesting that it could be the case. What's changed? Still hold that opinion?

    That doesn't mean abandoning Dems. As noted, we work hard for their campaigns very often. End up voting for them most of the time. Most look at a party like marriage. "Time to get old and fat together; I'll not be shopping around again". All that political fat is hardening the arteries of the body politic. Progressives believe in a vigorous campaign workout, particularly if the district is locked up, and certainly if it isn't.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Greg D:

    Now Clark County has become something of a tax haven for older conservative (and rich) folks looking to avoid state income taxes.

    Bob T:

    You mean they wish to be like the Kennedys with their huge annual checks from the tax free trust fund set up by grandpa, and who then support taxing everyone else so they can prove that they "care".

    Whatever.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • backbeat (unverified)
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    I'm even tireder of the purity troll brigade and their constant bashing, who never seem to pitch in themselves.

    Guess you don't know me then. There is a reason I use a nym. Baird is a friggin war monger.

  • andy (unverified)
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    Bingo Bob, exactly like that! I wish my gradpa was a runrunner so I could lay around with mafia whores and call myself a progressive. But I have to work for a living.

  • Brig. Peri Brown, Purity Troll Brigade (unverified)
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    so I could lay around with mafia whores

    ewwww. He wants to sleep with CIA!

    There's a serious point here. Steve up top is a very important voice, imho. The take home message is that entrenched thinking Dems are having to take the "purity troll brigade" seriously. They may haven't got the message yet, but they finally know that someone is speaking to them, and it's not total gibberish.

    Can't even insult us decently anymore. I've tried that PTB line out on a number of bodies I consider sufficiently pure and most say that it isn't too bad. We're not stupid. We just think compromise is for after the election, not when you're announcing your platform.

    Personally, I find this thread more hopeful than the one announcing the electoral victories, last fall. This is real hope for change. Never thought I'd say it, but "Thank you Congressman Baird"!

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    Bob Tiernan: Kennedys .. who then support taxing everyone else

    No, Bob. They saw how rich they were, noticed that they worked very little to get their checks compared to most people, and said "the policy of the country should be to tax people like us - because unlike others, people like us can afford it".

    Kevin: I wonder how much, if at all, anticipated opposition from AIPAC for his strong stand against Israeli war crimes in Gaza played a role in this decision?

    None whatsoever, I've heard from the scuttlebutt. What really drove this decision was that he has little kids who he barely gets to see, for the sake of doing a job he gets bashed over.

    backbeat: Baird is a friggin war monger.

    So much of one, AIPAC isn't happy with him, it seems.

    Brig. Peri Brown, Purity Troll Brigade: The take home message is that entrenched thinking Dems are having to take the "purity troll brigade" seriously.

    Seriously? No. OK, well maybe as a serious problem for the progressive movement in this country, but nothing else.

    I am not talking about overall goals here. I suspect that if we actually got down to comparing what we both believed was best for the country, we'd agree on more than 90%. It's just your approach that ends up being extremely counterproductive.

    Here's an example that I hope you are distant enough from to approach with reason, rather than tribalism: "teabaggers" are the purity trolls of the right wing.

    Now answer this: have their tactics helped or hurt the Republican party? Have their over the top, easily mocked, protests been portrayed well, or poorly in the media? Have they helped elect Republicans, or found ways (through supporting third party 100% pure candidates) found a way to lose even supposedly "safe" districts for their side?

    You are no different than they are, "Brigadier" Brown, in one major respect - you are more valuable to your enemies than your friends.

    I just wish that someday you'd wake up and see that.

  • Katherine Pfeiffer (unverified)
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    Check this out. I can't help but to wonder if the R's had Baird in their cross-hairs.

    GOP Pressuring 17 House Democrats To Retire With 'Assault List' Two Dem retirements in competitive districts have given GOPers new hopes that a wave of open seats can hand them new opportunities. Now, GOP strategists...

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/09/gop-pressuring-17-house-d_n_386086.html

    Sorry gang, never figured out the directions on "how to make a link." Not as fancy as you all. :-)

  • Brig. Peri Brown, Purity Troll Brigade (unverified)
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    Brig. Peri Brown, Purity Troll Brigade: The take home message is that entrenched thinking Dems are having to take the "purity troll brigade" seriously.

    Seriously? No. OK, well maybe as a serious problem for the progressive movement in this country, but nothing else.

    I stand corrected. Gave you way too much credit!

    Here's an example that I hope you are distant enough from to approach with reason, rather than tribalism: "teabaggers" are the purity trolls of the right wing.

    Yes, they are imitating us. Sincere flattery that. But it's no more impressive than your 6 year old imitating her mother by donning an evening gown. They (and you it seems) don't get that the maturity's lacking to take it serioiusly.

    You are no different than they are, "Brigadier" Brown, in one major respect - you are more valuable to your enemies than your friends.

    I just wish that someday you'd wake up and see that.

    That's precisely what we DO see. That's where we part company and it's where YOU are like the TEA people. We never let personality or personal loyalty trump the facts. You all live within a herd mentality, putting your finger to the wind to see how you think.

    So are you seriously entertaining the idea that many have put forth that Dems are behind right wing talk radio? First crack in the facade, you admit they help you. (Sorry for misspelling your name, btw).

    So are you all pissy over the assault on Wu? Been pretty quiet. How 'bout defending him as an example of how a few rational thinkers are going to ruin it all for you! That's another diff between us and TEA people. Like we could influence anything.

    Another difference. We don't feel that it's better to rule in hell than serve in heaven. Misplaced, willful egocentrism, that. Compensation behavior addressing the stress of sublimating personality to the party herd.

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    backbeat, just ignore him. He's the biggest purity troll here. It's a Lieberman-style purity, where the "left" is always wrong and the "center" is always "right", and socialists and Trotskyites dance threateningly under the beds each night.

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    darrelplant: backbeat, just ignore him.

    You're still around, darrel? I thought you'd been spanked so much for your laughable posts that you didn't even bother to read here anymore.

    But yes, I've said before, I generally respond in kind. You want to post drive-by flames like Republican trolls, I will treat your lack-of-facts and lack-of-logic with the exact same contempt I heap on them.

    And once again, I'm forced to point out just how mind-bogglingly childish you really are. You attack me for being both "loyal" and Lieberman-esque at the same time? Lieberman is the antithesis of loyalty.

    Just like no, you cannot simultaneously call for the destruction of the Democratic party and at the same time declare yourself the arbiter of who is a real Democrat, and who isn't. Not yours.

    Meanwhile, I will be reading polls like this one, pulled off of DailyKos (who, by the way, coined the term "purity troll"). No one told the base that Obama is losing the base.

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