Deputy Press Secretary Scott Stanzel during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 14, 2007. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Former George W. Bush White House spokesman and Amazon.com PR guru Scott Stanzel has left his job with the e-commerce giant, prompting speculation that he may run for Congress in his native Washington State.
Stanzel, who was Bush’s deputy press secretary, is keeping mum about his next move. But the transition comes on the heels of Republican Rep. Dave Reichert announcing his retirement. Reichert’s retirement potentially puts a lean-Republican district into toss-up territory.
Evergreen State Republicans are keen to draft a strong candidate into the race to replace Reichert, ideally someone with a strong fundraising network and an ideological profile closely suited to the more moderate district. Stanzel’s potential ability to tap tech sector workers, Bush administration alumni, and garden-variety Republican donors could be useful in a potential run, though if he has resigned to jump on the campaign trail, he’ll probably face some very stiff intra-party competition.
Republicans in the Evergreen State say former should-have-been-governor-bar-electoral-fraud-by Democrats GOP big dog Dino Rossi has been showing up at all sorts of political events and looks likely to throw his hat in the ring.
Rossi is generally considered the safest bet for Republicans to hold the seat because of his high name I.D. and his ability to raise money.
Rossi has long made a point of describing himself only as a “Dino Rossi Republican” and has resisted tying himself to other figures in the party, which could be useful in a cycle like 2018, with Trump in the White House and Democrats likely to try to tie whoever Republicans seek to run to the President, who is unpopular in Washington State.
As for Stanzel, he has long been assumed to have further political ambitions. His name is regularly mentioned in Republican circles in the Evergreen State as a potential candidate for various offices, though he has so far declined to run for political office. He did, however, manage the successful campaign to stop the imposition of an income tax in Washington.
Rossi has traditionally shown more interest in running for state-level offices, having a widely-known preference for what he has called “the Washington that’s green with trees, as opposed to the Washington that’s green with money.”
That said, he was enticed into a senatorial race against Patty Murray in 2010 which he lost by about four points after getting in later than many had hoped and being pummeled with attacks by Democrats that were substantively false.
Others, including at least one state legislator who lives in the district, have expressed an interest in running as well, though little time has passed since Reichert’s announcement and it would be easier for Rossi to stand up a full-scale political operation than for others to do so.