Duck, Dino

It's going to get nasty out there.

With his senatorial candidacy now official, Republican Dino Rossi is trying to go where no man (including him) has been able to in recent years—taking an office held by one of the state's vaunted female Democrats. He is polling well against Sen. Patty Murray so far, and is buoyed by the notion that conservatives, aided and abetted by the Tea Partiers, are back. Incumbents surely aren't invincible, as veteran Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter demonstrated last week—striking out as a Republican-turned-Democrat. Washington's Warren Magnuson and Alaska's Ted Stevens are earlier examples of roadkill among supposed senators-for-life. Murray, not much of a legend to begin with, can't merely coast to re-election against Rossi, a battler and two-time defeated gubernatorial candidate who wants to avoid becoming known as a legendary loser. But on a horse-race level, Murray has already raised almost $10 million for her campaign—she's among the nation's top-10 senators in in-state donations. Murray's nearest fund-raising opponent among announced candidates is farmer Clint Didier with $350,000—though his campaign recently got bogged down by news that the anti–big government Tea Partier has received more than a quarter-million dollars in farm subsidies. Now that he's profited and running for office, he will, if elected and given a government salary, try to get rid of the farm bill, he vows.With the primary just three months off, some so-called races just don't seem worth holding. Take the guy who really could be a congressman-for-life, Norm Dicks. Anyone know who's running against him? His name is Jesse Young and he has zero dollars. Dicks has just over $650,000, about all he needs for his typical non-campaign in which he relies mostly on the free press he gets for doling out major new appropriations. But the Murray/Rossi scrap will be real politics—in other words, dirty. That's already obvious in the pre-emptive attacks Dems have made on Rossi. Voters say they don't like the sliming—but it's a mess few can help staring at. Just a couple of days ago, the Dems sent an e-mailer linking Rossi to GOP celeb Sarah Palin—in a bad way. Since Palin has already endorsed Didier (by tweet and Facebook), Rossi supposedly doesn't have her support. He is effectively now taking on two of the nation's strongest female politicians, one from each column.Don your helmets, mud incoming!

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