Rivers’ Senate challenger says he expects to lose

It’s Politics 101: if you’re running for public office and you believe deep down that you’ll lose your race, don’t admit it, especially to the press.

But that’s exactly what Democrat Ralph Schmidt did on Thursday afternoon during a meeting with The Columbian’s editorial board. The board met with Schmidt and Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, to interview them as part of the newspaper’s endorsement process. (You can watch videos from the meeting here.)

When asked how he feels about his chances in the Senate race, Schmidt said: “Well I don’t think it’s very high. … I expect to lose.”

In the Aug. 7 primary, Rivers brought in more than 63 percent of the vote while challenger Schmidt received 36 percent. About 30 percent of the county’s registered voters cast a ballot in the primary, and a higher voter turnout of more than 80 percent is expected in the Nov. 6 general election.

I was expecting Schmidt to do what many politicians do when it appears the odds are stacked against them — emphasize the positive. Don’t say you’ll lose. Vow to give it your all until the end.

Schmidt also said he hasn’t received much money from the Democratic Party, and that one of the reasons he’s running is to try to waste Republican campaign resources.

“I actually don’t have a lot of money,” he said. “The party is supporting me some, but mostly the 17th (District) is like a vortex sucking up all the time and money, because that’s where the competitive races are.”

Perhaps Clark County’s most competitive legislative race is between 17th District Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, and Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, who decided to challenge Benton rather than seek re-election to his House seat.

Schmidt continued by saying that one of the reasons he’s running is “frankly, to suck money out, so every dollar spent on Republican candidates in the 18th (District) is a dollar less spent on the 17th (District).”

Schmidt said he’s also running for office to bring awareness to the issue of tax reform. He said the state’s tax structure is “regressive” and that it is financially harmful to the middle class.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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