While the media coverage in the aftermath of Tuesday's primary has mainly focused on results in the 1st Congressional District, and on the beauty contest that was Jay Inslee vs. Rob McKenna, what transpired in the newly redrawn 8th District has received far less attention. The 8th, of course, is the district nearly everyone expects incumbent Dave Reichert to win. But Reichert's relatively unknown Democratic challenger, Karen Porterfield, is as feisty as ever.
"First of all, it's exciting to be in the general election," says the optimistic Porterfield. "I'm delighted that I'm going to have a chance to have these conversations with voters, because Dave Reichert and I have very different views. ... It's great that we have a clear choice for voters."
Thing is, at least on the surface and to the average observer, the primary results available so far support what most have said all along: the 8th, redrawn earlier this year to stretch from South King County to Wenatchee, is republican safe haven. Republicans Reichert, Swank and Huber have brought in over 60 percent of the primary votes cast. Democrats Porterfield and Arnold have scrapped to get to nearly 35 percent. Add in the fact that as of July 18 Reichert had $595,539 in his campaign account compared to Porterfield's $31,155, and you've got all the makings of the classic uphill battle.
Still, speaking to me via phone from a family BBQ, concert and food bank drive on the Eastside - an event scheduled on the same night that Reichert had Karl Rove in town, helping him raise cash at a pair of high-priced fundraisers - Porterfield remained optimistic and even confident, saying her campaign is right on schedule.
"I was going for and wanting to introduce myself to what I knew was that 30 percent of strong Democratic base in the primary, which I did," offers Porterfield, who says part of her plan involves utilizing social media to level the uneven playing field created by Reichert's huge fundraising advantage. Porterfield also says she hopes to formally debate Reichert in the lead-up to November.
"The conversation now needs to shift toward not who I am, but here's what I can do for you," Porterfield says. "We're right on plan and where we thought we'd be. ... My plan is to run against Dave's record."
Earlier this year the Democrat touted a poll she'd commissioned that suggested the redrawn 8th was more independent and less Reichert-friendly than people assumed - a position she's sticking to at this point.
"I still think we have a fairly moderate, independent-thinking, middle-of-the-road district," Porterfield continues of the 8th. "The telling thing will be the November race.
"We've got 90 days of excitement ahead of us."