- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Retiring U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings on Wednesday endorsed one of the two Republican candidates seeking to succeed him as the congressman from central Washington.

Hastings endorsed former state legislator Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside in the November general election over tea party challenger Clint Didier of Eltopia.

Hastings said Newhouse will work to control spending, create more water storage in the area and clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

“We need a conservative who will fight for central Washington priorities,” Hastings said. “He’ll be our advocate.”

Newhouse and Didier are both Republicans, marking the first time in state history that two members of the same party have advanced to the general election for a U.S. House seat.

Hastings made the endorsement in a joint appearance with Newhouse at the Richland Community Center.

“Doc Hastings has provided two decades of effective leadership in Congress,” said Newhouse, a mainstream Republican who is a former director of the state Department of Agriculture. “As I forge my own path forward, I will value his experience and counsel.”

Didier, a former NFL player, said he didn’t ask Hastings for an endorsement.

“I won the primary by more than six points, so I’d expect the Republican establishment and beltway insiders back in Washington, D.C., to pull out all the stops and pressure Doc to endorse their guy, who’s a career politician,” Didier said in a press release. “And remember, Doc is part of Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team.”

Didier said he has been endorsed by former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul and numerous conservative groups.

“I think people can easily figure out if they want a congressman whose friends and supporters are lobbyists, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Monsanto, D.C. and other beltway insiders whose money and power have gotten us into the mess we’re in now,” Didier said.

In a 12-candidate field during the primary, Didier, a farmer, led all the candidates by getting 31.8 percent of the votes. Newhouse was second at 25.6 percent.

Hastings, of Pasco, announced in February he will retire in January after 20 years in Congress.

Newhouse, a farmer, was Agriculture director in the cabinet of former Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire. He previously served six years in the Washington House of Representatives, representing the Yakima Valley.

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