The speculation has begun about Dino Rossi possibly challenging Maria Cantwell for U.S. Senate in 2006. Considering the outcome of the recent race for governor, Rossi would prove a tough opponent. I think it is a fair question to ask how well Maria will do in her next race. Recent reports say that Cantwell is starting with an empty campaign chest and, following big losses in her stock holdings, not much in personal wealth with which to jump start a senatorial campaign. In addition, Senator Cantwell did not do her (Progressive) standing much good with her votes in favor of the use of force in Iraq and the Patriot Act. While she has recently won praise for her fight against Enron, there is a big difference between saving a couple of bucks on your light bill and "selling out" on the issues of war and peace and civil liberties. Already, Mark Wilson (recently the Green Party and Veteran for Peace candidate opposing Patty Murray) has announced that he will be challenging Cantwell in the Democratic primary in 2006. There will be much to watch over the next two years.
Someone who should be watching with a genuine interest is former State Senator and State Supreme Court Justice, Phil Talmadge. Talmadge became the choice of many Progressives in the race for governor before illness forced his (premature) withdrawal from the primary. Given Talmadge's credentials and his standing in the activist Progressive community, he seems a good choice to run an effective challenge to Cantwell in the 2006 primary. Perhaps the more hopeful note here is, if Talmadge were to succeed in that effort, he would provide a more consistent voting partner for Patty Murray in the Senate and would add another strong Progressive voice to the Washington delegation.
While allot can happen in 2 years, it is a mere minute in political time. For Progressives, the time to become involved is now.