SurveyUSA for KING-TV (9/14-16, likely voters, no trendlines):
Adam Smith (D-inc): 49
Dick Muri (R): 46
Now here’s a race that wasn’t on anybody’s mind (except for Real Clear Politics, who consider every race with a sentient Republican to be at least “Likely Dem”): Washington’s 9th district, a D+5 narrow swath of middle-class suburbs reaching from SeaTac Airport in the north to Fort Lewis in the south. Adam Smith has held this uneventfully since 1996, when he picked it up from Randy Tate, who got washed in with the tide in ’94 and washed out with the next normal election.
Nevertheless, I’m not altogether surprised here. The GOP didn’t just run their usual Some Dude here; they dug up a Pierce County Councilor (that’s the state’s second-largest county, where Tacoma is) in the form of Dick Muri. The only reason you haven’t heard anything about this race nationally is because a) it’s D+5, at the outer edge of what’s feasible for a pickup, and b) Muri has raised near-bupkus (currently sitting on $96K in cash, although he may now be getting more of a second look). And then in the Top 2 primary, the cumulative Dem/Green vs. GOP vote, a good predictor of where the general election will wind up, was about 55-45 (with the GOP vote being deeply split between establishmentarian Muri and a teabagger). So, take that 10-point spread that the primary would predict, throw in the 6-or-7 point rightward skew that we’ve been seeing from SurveyUSA versus, well, everybody else in their polling of west coast states (WA-Sen, CA-Sen… need I go on?), and… voila! You have a 3-point Smith lead.
As much as it’s reasonable to expect that Smith will hold on in the high-single-digits (especially since he’s right below the 50% mark), this race should not be ignored, and we’re moving it to “Likely Democratic” (from Safe Democratic).