Nation & World

Nirvana bassist won't take on Baird

Critics of U.S. Rep. Brian Baird shouldn't look to Krist Novoselic, former Nirvana bassist and active Democrat, to run for Congress in 2008.

"Let me put it this way: 'No way. Brian Baird has made good decisions for the 3rd district. I was proud of his vote against the war' " in 2002, Novoselic said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his Grays River home in Southwest Washington.

Novoselic, who wrote a book about returning to grassroots politics and considered a run for lieutenant governor a few years ago, said a Vancouver, Wash., activist approached him about running against Baird. Word of that solicitation has circulated in Olympia, where antiwar activists are looking for someone to take on Baird after the five-term congressman expressed support for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for a longer period.

"I haven't supported the war," Novoselic said, adding: "Brian makes good decision for the 3rd district. He's very accessible. He travels the whole district … I don't think we should throw him overboard now."

Challenger sought

The 3rd district takes in Southwest Washington, including Olympia, where Chris Stegman of the Green Party says progressives are looking for a Baird challenger. No viable names have turned up.

Novoselic, who plays in the band Flipper, had some appeal for left-of-center activists. He has advocated for instant runoff voting and more citizen participation in voting.

Novoselic said he is displeased by the direction of the Iraq War and doesn't care for the mullahs of Iran or ruling family of Saudi Arabia. But Baird took time to educate himself by traveling to Iraq and the Mideast, Novoselic said, so he supports the congressman's judgment.

"So if he says the surge is working and give it some time, I'm with him," Novoselic said.

It's not clear which Republican will take on Baird, who is looking stronger with every election.

Michael Messmore, a retired airline pilot and entrepreneur, ran last election but has abandoned his plan to go on campaigning through 2008.

"I've kind of segued on to other things. I think I figured out how to get elected … I have broken that code. Unfortunately, that code requires 20-hour days between now and Election Day," Messmore said Tuesday. "It would be a doable task."

However, Messmore said he doesn't think national Republicans "are going to have their stuff together in '08" or that they'll make adequate investment in candidacies such as his.

"I don't see them making any meaningful progress in the House or Senate," he said.

Bottom line: Messmore says he'll sit out 2008 but might consider a future run, in 2010 at the earliest.

The June 30 reports at the Federal Election Commission, the latest available, show Messmore's campaign is $95,998 in debt from the 2006 run. The other Republican who ran in 2006 is Daniel R. Miller, but he has raised no money and the state GOP had little enthusiasm for him.

Baird's campaign had $817,165 in cash on hand as of June 30.