Remember, there are 15 candidates on the ballot.
So it's not just Democrat Patty Murray, Republican Dino Rossi, and Republican Clint Didier that primary voters are choosing between in time for the close of polls tomorrow evening.
It's those three plus Republican Norma D. Gruber, the Centrist Party's Mohammad H. Said, a familiar Democratic contender named Goodspaceguy, another perennial Democrat known as Mike The Mover, Republican Paul Akers, Republican Mike Latimer, Independent James (Skip) Mercer, Independent Schalk Leonard, Democrat Bob Burr, Republican William Edward Chovil, Democrat Charles Allen, and the Reform Party's Will Baker.
So many choices!
Of course, no one seriously expects anyone but Murray and Rossi to get through the primary (with Didier in a distant third), and since that expectation is already so firmly set, the new political game is guessing what percentage each of those three will get.
Bright and early this morning, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent political reporters covering this race a MEMO on "What Dino Rossi Should Receive in Tomorrow’s Primary." The thrust:
Given that Rossi received 46.35 percent in a crowded ten candidate field in the 2008 gubernatorial race, we expect him to earn at least that much in tomorrow’s primary.
It's safe to say that this 46.35 number is, uh, the high end of what Rossi's generally expected to get. (Democrats gain by trying to set expectations way high for Rossi, so that anything less looks like failure in comparison.) The same Democratic memo set the expectation for Murray at 45.9 percent, which happens to be exactly what she got in her 1998 primary and is also right around where the conventional wisdom expects her to finish this time.
What do the polls say?
A recent poll that I posted here on Slog had Murray earning 47 percent of the primary vote, Rossi at 33 percent, and Didier way behind with only 10 percent.
I suspect that's about what we'll see tomorrow.
If Murray earns significantly less that 46 percent, that's trouble for her. And if Rossi dips into the mid 20s while Didier climbs into the mid teens, that means Rossi's recent rightward lurch has done little to endear him to the most conservative elements of the Republican base—little, that is, except alienate moderates he'll desperately want back in the general.
But enough about what the polls think and what I think. What do you think? This is about bragging rights, people, and I'll be keeping track! What's the Didier-Murray-Rossi spread going to be when the primary voting's all over and counted?