Republican Strategists: Clint Didier, Paul Akers Team-Up A Bad Idea

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In another election year, Republican Senatorial candidates Clint Didier and Paul Akers, who are both polling behind Dino Rossi, would endorse the front runner before bowing out gracefully. But there's a strong anti-establishment sentiment afoot. So the two longshots GOP hopefuls have instead decided to tap deeper into it by pooling their resources, Marvel Team-Up-style, for a series of media ads while still competing with each other for the nomination. But is it a well thought-out strategy? Says the Republican establishment: No, it is not.

The pair announced the unorthodox plan to go dutch on a series of radio spots last Friday. Didier and Akers both complain that Rossi, who was pretty much handpicked to challenge sitting Senator Patty Murray, has been spending more time with out-of-state donors than with Washington voters. The goal of the ads, explained Didier, will be to "send a message" to Republican party establishment from two grassroots candidates that it "cannot dictate who will be the nominee."

Chris Vance, former chair of the Washington State Republican Party, can't remember another occasion when two candidates who are vying for the same seat teamed up for any reason. Spokesperson for the Federal Elections Commission Christian Hilland can't either. But it's permissible as long as each is paying their share of the market value of the ads, he says.

Local political consultant Ron Dotzauer says the reason why it has never happened before is because it's a bad idea. "Strategically it's crazy," he says. "It doesn't help either one of them to divide up their votes. They're telling voters that they're one and the same. All they're doing now is diminishing their effectiveness."

Of course, that's the conventional thinking of a seasoned politico. For those that want proof that un-conventional strategy can make you successful, see Didier's most famous supporter.

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