The chattering class overwhelmingly seems to think that Mike McGavick's open letter last week admitting several personal mistakes was itself a mistake.
In the letter, U.S. Senate hopeful McGavick said his regrets include being a lousy husband, getting a DUI, being an absent parent and laying off people while he was Safeco's CEO. In 2003 his ex-wife told me that he was on the phone with Slade Gorton while she was in labor with their son.
These issues may have been brought up by Maria Cantwell's camp late in the race. Confessing now gets them out into the open and also makes McGavick seem like the honest, aw-shucks guy who most voters like to support. It's another opportunity for McGavick to talk about personality instead of issues, in a year when his party's record and stance seem deeply unpopular in this state.
The race for governor in 2004 showed that a nice-guy image can nearly beat a solid policy wonk (Dino Rossi would be governor except for a few dozen votes!). By basing his campaign in Seattle and spending more, McGavick is sure to improve on Rossi's record. Until Cantwell's campaign gains some traction on the issues, McGavick's chance of winning remains much higher than Democrats want to think.