Never a doubt in my mind.
From Chris Cillizza at The Fix:
Dino Rossi set to challenge Sen. Patty Murray
Former Washington state Sen. Dino Rossi (R) will run against Sen. Patty Murray (D) this year, giving Senate Republicans a top-tier recruit in one of a handful of potential targets left on the campaign map.
Rossi was expected to officially announce his bid Wednesday, according several GOP sources. He is widely seen as the strongest potential opponent to Murray, with the Republican bench in the state quite thin.
But recently, former NFL player Clint Didier, who has aggressively courted tea party activists, landed the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin .
Even with Palin’s endorsement, it will be tough for a candidate like Didier to catch on, especially with the state’s unusual top-two primary system. The system allows the top two vote-getters to proceed to the general, regardless of party affiliation.
Murray is no easy out. Elected in 1992 with 54 percent, she was heavily targeted by Senate Republicans in 1998 and 2004 but won with 58 percent and 55 percent respectively. She ended March with nearly $6 million on hand.
In response to that last paragraph, NRO’s Jim Geraghty writes:
It seems safe to say that Murray has never run as an incumbent in a political and economic environment like this. Washington’s unemployment rate the October before Patty Murray last faced voters, in 2004, was 5.4 percent.
Washington unemployment when Patty Murray last faced voters before that, in 1998, was 4.4 percent.
The time before that, in 1992, was 6.6 percent. Washington’s unemployment today: 9.2 percent; it was 9.9 percent in March.
Needless to say, I think Dino has a very, very good shot to beat Murray in November. I’m not worried at all about Clint Didier beating him in the primary for reasons I posted the other day. This is going to be a Rossi vs. Murray slugfest, and it’s going to get nasty in the coming months.