Nonstormin' Norman

no.jpg Normie

There's another election tomorrow and over on the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas they are going through the biennial exercise of trying to find, then defeat, Norm Dicks. Neither will happen.

The ex-Husky footballer is now the state record-holder for most terms served in the House of Representatives, Washington D.C., where the D-Belfair has effectively lived and prevailed since the 1970s.

Among the wisdom learned at the foot of his enduring mentor Sen. Warren Magnuson is, once in office, stay there by not granting your opponents equal time (meanwhile, dole out millions to your constituents, as Dicks, one of the people who writes America's budget, has by the handsful).

So, going into the 6th District primary for his 17th term (32 years in office so far), Dicks failed to appear for forums, or even beers, with his three relatively unknown challengers - a perennial and a couple newcomers. They've learned he's hard to track down and doesn't post a campaign schedule. He might show for an appearance later with the unfortunate primary winner. Then he might not.

After all, the man has close to $1 million in donations (one of his challengers has almost $7,000). Cash and being busy, busy, busy are among the reasons Dicks is automatically swept back into office with 90 percent of the vote. As John Gastil, UW professor of political communication, recently told the Kitsap Sun: "If you're a front-runner and you're comfortable with your lead, it's conventional wisdom, unfortunately, to ignore the opposition. Voters don't punish you for not showing up."

Just ask Jim McDermott.

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