At a rally in Issaquah, Democrats Shannon Hader and Jason Rittereiser urged their supporters to do everything they can to back Kim Schrier, who beat them in the Aug. 7 primary and faces Republican Dino Rossi this fall.
They battled in an occasionally testy primary, but the top Democratic candidates in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert came together Wednesday for a display of unity.
At a rally in Issaquah, Shannon Hader and Jason Rittereiser urged their supporters to do everything they can to back Kim Schrier, who beat them in the Aug. 7 primary and faces Republican Dino Rossi this fall.
Hader, piped in on a video call from out of state, said she was “all in for Dr. Kim to get this done.”
Rittereiser, who nearly beat the better-funded Schrier in the primary, appeared in person to back her Wednesday.
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He acknowledged political divisions in the 8th Congressional District, the only one of the state’s 10 districts that bridges the Cascade Mountains.
“Let’s bring the high-tech worker together with the apple grower. Let’s make sure we unite the factory worker in Auburn with the farmer in Ellensburg,” Rittereiser said.
Schrier, an Issaquah pediatrician and first-time candidate, thanked her primary rivals and attacked Rossi as a “far-right career politician” who “will be an activist for the Trump agenda. He is dangerous.”
Rossi and Schrier are competing in the nationally watched race for the seat opened up by the retirement of Reichert, R-Auburn, in a district that has never elected a Democrat to Congress.
Rossi, a former state senator and real estate investor from Sammamish, easily sewed up first in the primary with about 43 percent of the vote. Schrier placed second with 19 percent.
Although Rossi has lost three statewide races for governor and U.S. Senate since 2004, he carried the 8th District in those contests.
Still, Democrats at the Issaquah event sounded confident Rossi can be beaten again this year.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson cited Rossi’s 2010 loss in his race for U.S. Senate despite a national Republican wave that saw the party pick up 63 congressional seats.
“If Dino Rossi could not win in Washington state during a red wave, is he going to win this year in a blue wave?” Ferguson asked. “There is no chance.”
Republicans, meanwhile, have wasted no time in going after Schrier.
GOP leaders cited a podcast interview with a liberal activist group in which Schrier compared her bid for Congress to challenges faced by her parents’ generation, including World War II.
“I would always like to think that I would be on the right side of history and that I would be bold enough to stand up and do the right thing, and brave enough,” Schrier said.
In a news release Wednesday from the state Republican Party, a group of military veterans, including Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, called on Schrier to apologize, calling her comparison crass and offensive.
Katie Rodihan, a Schrier campaign spokeswoman, noted Schrier is Jewish and said the candidate’s World War II reference referred to the rise of the Nazis in Germany before the war.
She said the comment was motivated by seeing far-right groups marching recently in the United States.
“The comment isn’t about fighting in World War II, it is about seeing the rise of far-right hate groups … what you do when you are faced with the rise of a far-right hate group is you stand up and do something,” Rodihan said.