When Clint Didier was a tight end for the Washington Redskins, even playing in the 1984 Superbowl against the Los Angeles Rams, he was a fierce competitor admired by his peers. Didier, who also played for the Green Bay Packers, has just decided to turn in his cleats for a legislative uniform as he plans to enter the open seat race in Washington state to replace Rep. Doc Hastings, who is retiring. Figuring he can score some points for constituents, George Didier is running a down and in pattern for Congress.
This will not be the first foray into politics for Didier, owner of two Superbowl rings, who acknowledges that he is a staunch Tea Party candidate. Back in 2010, he made an unsuccessful bid for the GOP Senate nomination against former state senator Dino Rossi. Rossi eventually lost to Patty Murray who, in fact, became Washington state senator. In that endeavor, Didier was backed by former Alaska governor and Tea Party empress Sarah Palin and congressman Ron Paul. It is unclear whether Didier will ask either of them for another endorsement.
In 2012, Didier, who retired from football in 1989 to return to his farm in Washington state, also ran for state land commissioner. He did no’t get that post either. One thing is certain, however. George Didier is running another down and in pattern for Congress.
Didier is not without his own political “baggage.” He is a known Tea Party devotee who is skeptical of global warming and once complained that some of President Obama’s appointees had communist ties.
One of Didier’s more choice observations came in 2010 when he opined that the U.S. economy has been hobbled because of environmental interests. He claimed those interests had choked off the country’s ability to develop and rely on natural resources.
He is also known to be strongly anti-government and believes big government is crushing the country. In 2010, he told followers that he shared their uneasiness about the future, adding that even though voters couldn’t fully articulate it, they instinctively knew it had to do with the size and scope of the federal government. Didier indicated that things have to change and that he was willing to make the tough choices and cast the hard votes to do just that. With another bid for Capital Hill, George Didier is running a down and in for Congress.
Didier won’t be the first ex-jock to try to get his foot into Congress’ door. Other ex-athletes have shown how influential they can be as elected officials no matter what side of the aisle they are on.
Joe Runyan was a former NFL tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles who became a United States Representative from New Jersey’s Third District. Former Detroit Piston legend Dave Bing became the mayor of Detroit. Three-time NBA star Kevin Johnson was elected mayor of Sacramento. Heath Shuler, former NFL quarterback, became a congressman in North Carolina in 2007. Steve Largent, from Didier’s home state Seattle Seahawks, became a U.S. Congressman in Oklahoma in 1994. Jack Kemp, former Buffalo Bills quarterback, became a congressman in 1981 in New York. Jim Bunning, one of only 20 pitchers in baseball history to hurl a perfect game, became a U.S. Senator, as did ex-New York Knick great, Bill Bradley. Arnold Schwarzenegger was perhaps the penultimate athlete turned politician as he left a major policy imprint on the state of California when he was the Republican governor there.
Whether or not Didier’s Tea Party affiliation helps or hurts him going forward remains to be seen. For the present, however, George Didier is running a down and in pattern for Congress.
By Jim McCullaugh