Update Monday: Darcy Burner phoned Congressman Reichert on Sunday evening around 6:45 p.m. and wished him good luck on his third term. Reichert commended Burner>"/>
Update Monday: Darcy Burner phoned Congressman Reichert on Sunday evening around 6:45 p.m. and wished him good luck on his third term. Reichert commended Burner on the effort she put into the race.
More to come...
Earlier: Congressman Dave Reichert announced he had officially won reelection Saturday afternoon. In front of an audience of about fifty campaign staffers, family and supporters, the two-term incumbent stressed bi-partisanship and the need to work across party lines.
More on the speech below...
The topic that was on everyone’s mind, though, wasn’t the outcome of the election but rather why challenger Darcy Burner hadn’t offered a concession speech nor why she hadn’t contacted the Reichert campaign.
In politics, the proper etiquette is for the winning candidate to graciously wait for the loser to thank his or her supporters and to receive their congratulations when the results are finally known.
Generally the loser will make a phone call and the two candidates will chit-chat before the winner makes a victory speech.
Speaking with one of the television reporters covering Reichert’s victory speech, we were both somewhat amazed that Burner hadn’t made a formalized announcement. Nor had she held an advertised rally to thank her supporters.
As Reichert stepped out from a side room, the awaiting press assumed that Reichert would give the standard “I just got off the phone with the challenger and she wishes me the best of luck” remark.
Reichert said that he was informed Friday night by Burner’s campaign chief of staff that he would receive a phone call. By 3:30 p.m. Saturday that hadn’t happened. Asked several times by reporters when and why he was being snubbed, Reichert was eventually reduced to shrugging and saying “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them [Burner campaign] about it.
Two brief paragraphs were put up on Burner’s website Friday. Efforts to contact the proper staff who can speak on the record are ongoing.
"It is likely at this point that Congressman Reichert has won re-election, and while we will certainly ensure that every valid vote is counted, we accept the decision of the voters.
Darcy Burner would like to thank the thousands of people who put so much time and effort into her campaign, as well as the countless thousands more who went beyond voting to actively participate in our democratic process this year. The election of Barack Obama as our new President will ensure that the change to the direction of our country called for in Burner’s campaign is realized in the new year."
Whether a losing candidate takes the time to congratulate a winner might seem trivial at first. However it is one of those time honored traditions that highlights the peaceful nature of American politics.
Moreover, it is one of those traditions that the American press demands out of elected candidates. Not playing your part properly makes the loser come off as churlish and a poor loser.
And it annoys journalists who tend to remember that sort of thing during the next election.
During 2008, many Burner supporters have been on the warpath complaining about the unfair behavior of the media; particularly in regards to coverage of the so-called “HarvardHoax” gaffe about whether she did or did not receive an economics degree from Harvard.
In 2006, a similar post-election meltdown dogged the Carnation Democrat after she complained to a Seattle Times reporter about a “glass ceiling” that existed in the Eighth Congressional District, indicating that voters there were adverse to electing a woman to congress.
When the reporter published the unflattering details of the conversation, the natural response was to blame the messenger.
If Burner wishes to continue in politics, there needs to be a good deal more polish when it comes to her public actions.
Update 2:30 p.m: Just got off the phone with Congressman Reichert's press person, Amanda Halligan Sunday afternoon. Apparently the situation with the Burner campaign is very confused and sketchy.
However the Reichert folks are very clear that they have given not one, but as I've learned this afternoon, two contact numbers to the Burner campaign to reach Reichert.
"Congressman Reichert has not yet heard from Miss Burner. Will let you know when he has," Halligan said.
Extra: In addition to the standard thanks to volunteers, campaign staff and supporters Reichert offered two comments that could be of interest as he serves his third term in Congress.
Throughout the campaign, the incumbent was consistently outspent by his opponent; Reichert said to the tune of $1.2 million. This was due in no small part to money that flooded into the race from out-of-district and out-of-state contributors and also the success Burner has had in tapping the online Netroots movement.
He is concerned about the influence out-of-district campaign money has in congressional races, saying there needs to be a look at how money is raised and whether people living outside a state can raise money and elect a congressman that will represent their interests and not the interest of voters living inside a district.
The other is that Reichert said he is angling for a spot on the House Ways and Means Committee, recounting an anecdote about a promise he made to the late Jennifer Dunn, who represented the 8th CD and held a coveted seat there.
It was a bold statement to make, particularly in front of three local television networks – and one hicktown writer for an alternative weekly – but Reichert said after his speech that he is optimistic about convincing Republican leadership in giving him a shot.
The Sheriff might have to do some cozying up to Democratic leadership as well. Reichert said one of the hitches in his plan is potential inside-political baseball moves by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and rumors she might be cutting Republican representation on Ways and Means by as many as three seats.
If so, Reichert might want to remind the Speaker about how he came to her rescue, like a knight errant, rescuing her fashionable pink leather pump back in 2005.