Doc Hastings has drawn an enthusiastic young Democratic challenger this election, a man who combines refreshing idealism with practical ideas and hard work.
That candidate, Jay Clough, a former Marine, is a tough critic of Hastings' congressional record, but not discourteous.
He's put 44,000 miles on his car, criss-crossing this massive district, talking to anyone who will listen, seeking support from Democrats, Republicans, Independents and members of the tea party.
We might support him in a different race, but not this one. Clough has never before run for public office.
And it shows.
"I am running because we in Central Washington do not have a plan for the future," Clough says. "What happens when operations at Hanford close? What happens when our water begins to run out? What happens when our children and grandchildren start looking for jobs? We need a representative in Congress who is looking further than the next election."
But Hastings has been intimately involved in all those questions for the past 15 years.
Those questions and many more.
He's fought for Hanford cleanup tirelessly -- Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., says she and he work well together. (She was discussing her bipartisanship, not endorsing Hastings.)
He's been a demon on trying to wrestle the administration back from its foolish (and possibly illegal) decision to stop spending money on developing Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a nuclear waste repository.
He sided with those seeking local control for the Hanford Reach, but when that side was preempted by President Clinton, Hastings kept working just the same with the new paradigm to get the best situation possible for his district.
Hastings has been in the forefront of protecting the four dams on the lower Snake River from breaching.
And here is a clincher.
Hastings is not the kind of politician some of the more vocal voters are upset about.
"I voted against each and every bailout," Hastings says in the Voters' Pamphlet put out by the Washington Secretary of State's office.
All of them means those of President Obama as well as President George W. Bush.
He is not one of the congressional free-spenders who have some advocates up in arms these days.
"I think the Tea Party movement is great," he says.
We have disagreed with Hastings on occasion, but he knows his stuff, is well-known in the House and is, he says, the "go-to" man on nuclear cleanup questions before his caucus.
We recommend re-election of Doc Hastings to the U.S. Congress from the 4th District of Washington.