Patterico's Pontifications


A Rematch in the Washington State Governor’s Race

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 11:33 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Dino Rossi, the loser in the closest gubernatorial election (on a percentage basis) in American history, will challenge Washington Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire next year:

Republican Dino Rossi, who lost the closest race for governor in U.S. history in 2004, said Thursday he’ll seek a rematch with Washington Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire next year. Rossi, a former state senator, announced his closely watched decision in this Seattle suburb, the heart of his old legislative district. “It’s time for fresh air in Olympia,” he said in an Associated Press interview ahead of his announcement. “I’m ready.”

Rossi, 48, prevailed in the first two vote counts in the November 2004 election, only to lose in a hand recount by 129 votes. He later lost a court challenge aimed at forcing a fresh election. Gregoire’s winning margin was the smallest in percentage terms of any governor’s race in the nation’s history.

Gregoire, a former attorney general, is running for re-election, but doesn’t plan to formally announce until after the 2008 legislative session.”

This should be an interesting race. There’s an enormous advantage that accompanies incumbency, but there can also be an element of buyer’s remorse when an election includes an incumbent. Rossi apparently wants to capitalize on that and on his opponent’s acquiescence to tax increases. Nevertheless, these are hard times for Republicans and the GOP hasn’t won the Governor’s seat in Washington since 1980.

The primary is August 19, almost a year off. A lot can happen between now and then.


16 Responses to “A Rematch in the Washington State Governor’s Race”

  1. Funny. There are many who believe that it was the “dead” vote that carried Gregoire, but I don’t remember seeing the whining about being cheated that oh, say the Kerry camp has indulged in.

    I don’t think Gregoire can be elected twice: I think the vote will face much more scrutiny this time around.

    EW1(SG) (84e813)

  2. I don’t think Gregoire can be elected twice: I think the vote will face much more scrutiny this time around.

    I agree, EW1(SG.

    Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics has done yeoman’s work covering the questionable voting practices during the 2004 gubernatorial election, and continues to do so:

    Of the two candidates for Washington governor in 2004 who finished within the judicially determined margin of 1,678 illegal votes, Rossi is the candidate who most voters believe received the largest number of legal votes.


    Paul (146bba)

  3. There was a ton of fraud in that race, primarily the “discovered” ballots in King County. This time around though, Rossi should have the edge.

    Gabriel (6d7447)

  4. We might be converted to entirely ‘Vote by Mail’ for the 2008 primary. That, and the ruling that fraud essentially requires a confession of intent don’t inspire a lot of confidence in King County Elections. Oh, and the council reworded an Initiative to elect an elections director to bump the election for the director from 2007 to 2008.

    Al (b624ac)

  5. What’s the record on election rematches? I think unless there is a special circumstance, the incumbent usually wins.

    Washington (I) beat Adams in 1792.
    Harrison beat Van Buren (I) in 1840.
    Cleveland beat Harrison (I) in 1892. *
    McKinley (I) beat Bryan in 1900.
    Wilson beat Taft (I) in 1912. **
    Eisenhower (I) beat Stevenson in 1956.

    In California Deukmejian (I) beat Bradley by a sliver in 1982 and by a wider margin in 1986.

    * Cleveland had the advantage of having previously served as president.
    ** The Republican vote was split between Taft and Roosevelt.

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  6. Oops, 1912 wasn’t a rematch. My mistake.

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  7. I think unless there is a special circumstance, the incumbent usually wins.

    The massive vote fraud the first time around redefines “special circumstance.”

    Paul (146bba)

  8. I’m not sure how this will go. Incumbency does have its advantages, and the polls I remember have most people thinking Rossi actually won.

    OTOH, the state economy is in good shape, which I doubt anyone seriously attributes to Gregoire, but it always benefits the person in the gov’s chair. OTOH, we have a couple of fiascos Gregoire has punted on and she doesn’t apparently have a terribly high approval rating. So she does have some vulnerabilities, if he can capitalize on those and not appear to be dwelling on 2004.

    Of course, the local media will no doubt take any criticism by Rossi and scream that he’s “whining” or something.

    Frank Black (def3b6)

  9. I had a great deal of respect for Christine Gregoire’s performance as AG, but she lost it all and managed to dig into negative numbers for her performance as a candidate.

    As far as King County goes, I think they are going to be under an extremely well lit microscope this time out just because the vote was so irregular last time.

    And I think Rossi did a good job of showing some class afterwards, so I don’t think he’s carrying the negatives that someone like Gore or Kerry has from previous elections.

    Gotta say that if Dixie Lee Ray could run again…she take the state in a landslide. Kind of tough to govern from the grave, even if it’s possible to vote from there.

    EW1(SG) (84e813)

  10. Oh, and I have to go with Paul: Sharkansky did a super job of covering the political beat in Washington, far better than any of the MSM outlets.

    EW1(SG) (84e813)

  11. Time to refresh those links to “Sound Politics”.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  12. Make sure to vote for Rossi. I don’t live there anymore. I voted for him even though he won twice before being outed by a faulty third recount.

    Mike Lewis (ee141c)

  13. With all of her grave digging to get additional votes, I truly believe we in the state of WA. will be victorious against CG. All eyes are watching her and her minions to make sure they play fair. In the state of Seattle, they no longer have the majority of Dem. voters to make up the differance that now compares to the rest of our Republicans voters in the beautiful state of WA. We may be blue to the eyes of the dem’s. here but our heart’s pump Red Blood….

    RSimms (c675ec)

  14. I lve in the Puget Sound area and will write a check to Rossi this weekend.

    You too can help! Go to and donate a few bucks.

    John425 (eae6ea)

  15. I wonder if the GOP will have poll watchers out in King County, if not deputized law enforcement to stop any more ballot box stuffing by the Democrats.

    Odd, how a party that prides itself on being democratic has to resort to undemocratic means to elect itself in WA State, Chicago, …

    PCD (b47ba5)

  16. I have always thought it was odd that Rossi won the first two counts, then on the third count Gregoire sudden comes out the winner. Then top it all off all the other counties had submitted their votes and King County had held out. I think they made her win because God forbid Washington state have its first republican governor in my lifetime. I think Rossi was cheated out of his victory and the voters remember. I don’t think that with poor sportsmanship that Gregoire showed in the last election she can beat Rossi again. I think Rossi wins and wins big.

    Virginiaw (d700ab)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2706 secs.