Over the last 24 hours, there's been quite a bit of chatter about Tea Party darling, U.S. Senate hopeful, former NFL player, and current Eastern Washington alfalfa farmer Clint Didier.

Politico and Publicola have reported that Didier is in D.C. talking with top Republicans, local Democrats have happily spun this as a sign that Republican Dino Rossi is being tossed under a bus by national GOPers, and at the root of it all are juicy quotes from Didier's own spokesperson, who's busy trying to further inflate this bubble of Didier surge speculation.

Now, I love the Didier story line as much as the next person—a tractor-driving, government-handout-slurping, Sarah-Palin-endorsed insurgent? irresistable!—but this idea that he's about to become the favorite of the National Republican Senatorial Committee just doesn't have anything to it.

That is, nothing other than a few self-serving quotes from Didier's spokesperson (example: "[National Republicans] made some noises about supporting Dino Rossi before he declared, but now that his campaign hasn’t soared the way it was supposed to, they’re talking to us") and a couple of intriguing blasts from Didier's self-serving Twitter feed (example: "Standing outside the National Republican Club waiting to go meet and greet. Hoping to make an impact to save this great nation!").

Gently bursting the bubble, NRSC spokesperson Brian Walsh tells me via e-mail:

The NRSC hasn't endorsed any candidate in this race. The voters of Washington will decide who will face Murray in November and we will fully support her GOP opponent.

I say gently because Walsh's statement (gently) elides the fact that the head of the NRSC, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, has long talked up Rossi's prowess, even if the official, independent-cred-preserving line from both Rossi and the NRSC is that he's doing this on his own for now.

Meanwhile, the latest Elway Poll—the other big Senate-race development from the last 24 hours—also completely cuts against the idea of a Didier surge.


When Washington voters are presented with a poll question that mimics the likely primary ballot this August, Rossi trails Murray, no surprise, but Rossi also demolishes Didier by 26 points—which doesn't at all support the idea that national Republicans (who pay close attention to these polls) would suddenly be throwing their weight behind the guy.

Finally, if Didier were really a surging threat, would Rossi's campaign be so studiously ignoring him? Yesterday, when I asked Rossi spokesperson Jennifer Morris about all the Didier hype, she wrote back:

Dino’s focused on Washington families and getting the economy back on track.

You gotta love Clint Didier for making this race interesting—and for making a lot of Slog readers swoon at his picture from his tight-end days—but you don't have to believe the current story line from his campaign. In fact, you shouldn't.