PASCO, Wash. — Tea Party Republican Clint Didier, a Pasco rancher and former professional football player, surprised observers by winning the crowded 4th Congressional District race Tuesday, besting former state agriculture director and Sunnyside farmer Dan Newhouse.
Both are Republicans and will face each other in the Nov. 4 general election.
Didier received 22,304 votes, 30.4 percent of the vote, in the Aug. 5 primary. Newhouse got 19,517 votes for 26.6 percent. Two other Republicans, state Sen. Janea Holmquist of Moses Lake, and Pasco attorney George Cicotte, received 10.5 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively. Two Democrats took 17 percent of the vote and four other Republicans and two independents took lesser amounts.
Dan Fazio, director of the Washington Farm Labor Association, was among those who said he was surprised Didier bested Newhouse. He said he thought it would be Newhouse and a Democrat in the general election.
State Rep. Matthew Manweller, R-Ellensburg and a political science professor at Central Washington University, said the conventional wisdom was that Newhouse would win because of name recognition, having served in the state Legislature and as director of the state Department of Agriculture.
But, he said, Didier is well known, having run twice for statewide office. He benefited from low voter turnout and is the more charismatic campaigner, Manweller said.
“Dan is a little dry. He’s very matter of fact in stump speeches while Didier knows how to light up a room,” Manweller said.
But, he said, Newhouse is the favorite to win the general election because the Democratic vote will go his way and the vote of the also-ran Republicans may split.