The race for the 4th Congressional District features two candidates familiar with running for office and against each other.
Dan Newhouse, who is serving his first term, and Clint Didier, a perennial candidate for public office, are vying for the seat formerly held for 10 terms by Doc Hastings. Both men ran for the seat when Hastings retired in 2014.
Newhouse and Didier are both Republicans and farmers.
In his first term in Congress, Newhouse has been an advocate for Hanford and for agriculture. Newhouse brought years of political experience to his first term in Washington, D.C., and was able to jump into the fray fairly easily.
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Prior to being elected to Congress, Newhouse served in the state Legislature and was also the Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture from 2009-13.
Didier has drawn lots of attention in his, thus far unsuccessful, runs for public office for his Tea Party leanings and sometimes outlandish statements.
This election cycle, however, he appears much more reasoned, seasoned and informed.
Not surprisingly, Didier is against things like the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which finances and insurers foreign purchases of goods from the U.S., something that Newhouse believes is an asset. Didier believes the federal government should not be in the business to “pick winners and losers” and provide breaks for foreign competitors. Newhouse says the bank keeps us competitive and helps businesses grow their markets.
Both men would fight against efforts to breach dams on Washington rivers and believe Hanford cleanup should be a priority. Didier says there is no motivation for Hanford contractors to get the work done in a timely manner and that it should be turned over to the private sector. Neither candidate thinks combining the two Department of Energy offices that oversee Hanford will help move the process along.
Both believe we need to secure our borders. Didier would like to see U.S. troops use both our southern and northern borders as a training ground. Both believe law-abiding hard-working folks who are living here illegally should be given a chance at citizenship. Didier wants those folks who came here illegally to have to pay a fine or do community service for breaking the law getting here in the first place.
Didier has improved as a candidate but Newhouse remains, by far, the better candidate. He has the experience and the demeanor to get things done. He has a more comprehensive understanding of complex issues and has demonstrated the ability to work across the aisle. Didier would be divisive, distracting and ineffective in producing results for Washington state in the other Washington.
The Tri-City Herald recommends incumbent Dan Newhouse in the race for the 4th Congressional District.
Tuesday, the Tri-City Herald will make its recommendation in the race between William “Bill” Jenkin and Rebecca Francik for State Representative, District 16, Pos. 1.