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National GOP Help for Nethercutt Continuing

Rep. George Nethercutt (R-Wash.) will get another major boost from the national party in his effort to unseat Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) at events surrounding the Republican National Convention this week.

The Spokane lawmaker will be one of seven Senate candidates to address the entire GOP convention today and then will be highlighted on Tuesday at a National Republican Senatorial Committee-sponsored news conference.

“The convention is another opportunity for George Nethercutt to show that he is a top-tier candidate for Senate,” NRSC spokesman Dan Allen said.

The NRSC is extremely high on Nethercutt and hopes he can further his reputation in November as the “giant killer” — a name he earned back in 1994 by defeating then-House Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) to capture his Eastern Washington seat.

To that end, top Republicans, including President Bush, have trooped out to Washington to advance his candidacy and raise funds.

Just last week NRSC Chairman George Allen (R-Va.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) stumped across the Evergreen State on Nethercutt’s behalf.

Since the beginning of the year, Vice President Cheney, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and several Cabinet officials have headed to the Pacific Northwest to help Nethercutt as well.

 Looking ahead to the week of party building, Nethercutt said: “The national convention is a unique opportunity to get a national hearing for Washington’s issues. The Republican Party is featuring Washington state at the convention because our state is ready for change. Republicans are very excited about our strong statewide ticket in Washington. The national convention is an opportunity for us to capitalize on my campaign’s early momentum.”

Nethercutt’s campaign has been saying for months that momentum is on his side. Most recently a GOP polling firm released a survey showing Murray’s lead to be in the single digits.

The Strategic Visions poll released Aug. 13 saw Murray’s lead shrink from 49 percent to 41 percent. Many other polls have shown Murray with a far more substantial lead.

Despite the help of Nethercutt’s heavy-hitting GOP friends, Murray still leads in the money chase, too.

As of Wednesday, Murray had about twice as much cash on hand as Nethercutt — almost $6 million to his nearly $3 million banked.