Democrats caught a major break in the highly competitive 8th district Wednesday, when state Sen. Rodney Tom (D) announced that he was dropping out of the race and deferring to the 2006 nominee, former Microsoft executive Darcy Burner (D).
“Our fundraising was going great, but Darcy Burner’s campaign has been phenomenal,” Tom told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “Darcy has over 3,200 contributors, an incredible statement to her broad base of support.”
“Darcy Burner’s campaign has proven they have the leadership, strength and momentum to win next November,” Tom continued.
Tom’s departure means Burner appears to have a clear second shot at sophomore Rep. Dave Reichert (R). Burner, a political neophyte, finished just 3 points behind Reichert last year and Democrats are increasingly confident that the former King County sheriff — one of just eight House Republicans representing districts that President Bush lost in 2004 — can be brought down.
While Burner and Tom skirmished in the two months they were competing head-to-head — Burner’s supporters were quick to point out that the Senator is a former Republican — Burner was gracious about her former rival’s withdrawal.
“I want to publicly thank and commend Senator Tom for the grace with which he conducted his campaign,” she said in a statement. “He has proven himself to be a strong voice for positive change and a wonderful addition to the Democratic Party.”
According to the Post-Intelligencer, Tom will personally pay for all the expenses his campaign has incurred so far and will fully reimburse all of his contributors.
— Josh Kurtz