Amid the steadily building drumbeat of the pending midterm elections, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray dropped by the Aerospace Machinist’s Hall in Auburn Monday afternoon to buck up the 53 campaign volunteers gathered there, minutes from hitting the streets for Dr. Kim Schrier.
Schrier, a Sammamish pediatrician and Democrat locked in a squeaky tight race with Republican Dino Rossi for the U.S. 8th Congressional District seat opened up by the retirement of Congressman Dave Reichert, was at Murray’s side.
Looking about the room, Murray told the volunteers on the eve of the general election that the doors they were about to knock on, the people they talked to who had not yet mailed in their ballots, that they were going to be the ones to make the difference.
The latest data from a The New York Times poll shows Schrier holding a slim three-point lead (48-45 percent) over Rossi.
“I’m sure all of you want to turn on your televisions and not see political ads,” Murray said to laughter. “We’re almost there. And it is going to pay off. I am so exited about the energy and enthusiasm here in this district for Kim.”
Campaigning, thrusting oneself and one’s family into the limelight is not easy, said Murray, a veteran of three campaigns herself and counting since 1992. Murray, in her fifth term as one of Congress’ leading Democratic voices, said she campaigned by Schrier’s side this go-round and come to know and appreciate her.
“Kim did that, not because she wants the glory, but because she wants to make sure all of you have a real voice in Congress who will listen to you, who will fight for you, and who will be on the right side of moving this country forward to make sure people do have health care that they can rely on, that they can send their kids to college and be able to afford it, and that we can have the kind of life we here in Washington state hold so dear,” Murray said. “She is a fighter and she is going to be the best representative this district has ever had.”
Murray couldn’t resist a parting shot at the current occupant of the White House, whose name is not on the ballot this year but who nevertheless casts a long shadow on campaigns throughout the nation.
“You (volunteers) care deeply about your country, you would like a country that isn’t managed by tweets, and I would, too,” Murray said.
Schrier, emphasizing her determination to maintain the Affordable Health Care Act in the teeth of Republican promises to end the Obama-era program, lamented that she had left her tennis shoes at home, a nod to Murray, who first ran for office in 1992 as, “the mom in tennis shoes.”
“Thank you all for being here,” Schrier said. “It’s a Monday afternoon, and you’re here, and we have like a day and six hours until the polls close. Hopefully, we can all take a big sigh of relief, knowing that at least 23 (House) seats have flipped, and this one will be the cherry on top.”
Listening in was Corrine Anderson-Ketchmark, a Democratic activist up from Vancouver, Wash., in the area to visit her son and help canvass for Schrier.
“This is the scariest midterm, or election in general, that I have ever experienced. There is a huge sense of urgency, because this could change the way we think about politics, and the way we think about our country,” Anderson-Ketchmark said.