What... wait a minute. Isn't it supposed to be Rep. Dave Reichert who gets to use the Seattle Times as both a sword and a shield against his Democratic challenger?

Not this year. And so I'm awfully curious to see if Suzan DelBene can manage to use this sort of third party media validation to finish off what two campaigns by Darcy Burner, and a tree limb to the head, couldn't.

Twice, Burner came close to knocking off perpetually vulnerable Reichert, and twice she failed to close the deal. In 2006, Burner came from nowhere to draw within the margin of error during the final weeks of the campaign, only to have her momentum blunted by Reichert's insulting (and ironic) ditzy blonde ad. And in 2008, Burner appeared to have gained the upper hand by the time the ballots dropped, only to be torpedoed by the Seattle Times' incredibly misleading "diploma-gate" story, and the barrage of Reichert attack ads that pounded it home.

In both races Burner spectacularly achieved a challenger's first task, which is to make a strong case for firing the incumbent. But she never managed to accomplish the second task—which is to convince enough swing voters that she is a preferable alternative—and so in both elections she ultimately fell short.

As much as I admire Darcy, and continue to believe that she would have been a Congressional rock star if elected (think Alan Grayson, but without the crazy), I have to admit that her electoral defeats were partially due to both her own shortcomings as a candidate, and the failure of her campaign to effectively respond to Reichert's closing attacks. But I've also no doubt that her challenge was exponentially compounded by the aggressive hostility shown to her by the press.

Lacking a political resume to run on, Burner could have sorely used the third-party validation of a major editorial endorsement. I mean, if only Burner could have closed with the sort of ad above that DelBene just released, you just gotta imagine that the results might have been different. Instead, she was forced to fend off a vicious media kneecapping.

I know the fading ed board at the fading Seattle Times still likes to fancy itself a political kingmaker. And I guess we'll soon find out if it still is.