Impeachment criticism aids Democrat Washington state's Inslee gains after ad rips process

October 20, 1998|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

In a finding that could spur other Democrats to make voter distaste for an impeachment inquiry a campaign issue, a poll made public yesterday found that former Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat running for the House in Washington state, has gained ground since he began running a commercial criticizing the impeachment process.

The survey, commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, found that Inslee has pulled statistically even with the Republican incumbent, Rick White. While the race has long been competitive, Democratic officials said that represented a significant turnabout for Inslee, who was trailing White by several points two weeks ago.

The latest poll was conducted this past weekend, about a week after Inslee began running an advertisement castigating White for voting for a Republican proposal to begin a broad, open-ended inquiry into possible grounds for the impeachment of President Clinton.

"Rick White and Newt Gingrich shouldn't be dragging us through this," Inslee says in the 30-second commercial, which was taped hours after the House voted, largely along party lines, to approve the inquiry on Oct. 8. "Enough is enough. It's time to get on with the nation's business."

Democrats in Washington and around the country have been watching for reaction to the ad because Inslee was the first -- and so far the only -- Democrat in a highly competitive race to try to use a possible backlash against Republicans on the impeachment inquiry in campaign ads.

In another move that could encourage Democrats to lash out at the impeachment inquiry, three party strategists in Washington made public a memorandum urging the Democratic candidates to condemn Republicans for voting for an impeachment inquiry. "Do not run from it," said the memo.

Pub Date: 10/20/98

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