Maria Cantwell is a popular Democratic Senator running for re-election in a strongly Democratic state. To unseat her in the 2012 elections, the GOP is going to have to bring someone strong, with fresh ideas and an ability to connect with more than a conservative base.
So far that someone appears to be Scott Stanzel, a man who worked for perhaps the most hated national politician in Washington state history.
UW political science professor and regular Daily Weekly political analyst Matt Barreto weighs in.
"I would say that strong ties to the Bush administration will create opportunities and problems for his candidacy," writes Barreto, referring to Stanzel's most high-profile job as President George W. Bush's deputy press secretary.
"His experience working with the Bush administration will certainly provide access to major national fundraisers and consultants, however at the same time, it will be a considerable liability here in Washington state where former President Bush was very unpopular. Another challenger for Mr. Stanzel will be his outsider status. From the looks of his bio, he is an Iowa native, who has had a very short one-year stint with Microsoft in 2005, and then only recently moved to live in Washington state. So as compared to Maria Cantwell, he would appear to have a more limited understanding of issues, history and political culture of the Evergreen state."
Besides Stanzel's work in the Bush White House, he also owns the Seattle-based PR firm Stanzel Communications and is an avid triathlete.
Local-politics-wise, most recently he was the campaign manager for the Defeat I-1098 effort. And we all know how that turned out.
Initiative-killing success aside, Barreto isn't sure what in Stanzel's record the Bushie could point to as a reason for anyone other than a party-line Republican to support him.
"It is not clear what accomplishments he would run on against Maria Cantwell. With the economy looming as a major national issue, I am not sure what record Mr. Stanzel would point to in establishing his credentials? Of course this would all play out during the campaign, but at a starting point, I think he would have an extremely difficult time defeating an incumbent U.S. Senator such as Maria Cantwell in 2012."
So Stanzel is a longshot. But being that he's the first GOP candidate to even think about running in this bluest of blue states, one has to give him credit for cojones.
Barreto's bottom line: "Murray won by 4.7 points in 2010 and Cantwell will most likely win by more than that, I would guess 6 or 7 points minimum."