The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

11 November 2004

Rossi Pulls Ahead in WA Governor's Race

In the nation's last undecided gubernatorial race, Washington State Attorney General Christine Gregoire has now given up her lead to Republican Dino Rossi as votes continue to be counted. Rossi ticked off Democrats by naming a transition team in case of a victory.

Tens of thousands of absentees remain to be counted, but the real battle will be over large numbers of provisional ballots, normally issued to voters who go to the wrong polling place on election day or for other specific reasons. Many are from Seattle where most votes would be for Gregoire. This is where you are going to see the lawyers getting busy.

The Seattle elitist establishment is not going to let their machine candidate lose this to a Republican, that hasn't happened in WA for 20 years. Watch them fight to the death to make sure Gregoire wins. It will be a sad reminder of how US Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) beat Senator Slade Gorton four years ago: through provisional ballots issued at Western Washington University and in Seattle that weren't successfully challenged.

This race proves that there really are two Washingtons: Seattle and the rest of the state. Gregoire is hardly carrying anyplace beyond King County. Several of the eight (of 39 total) counties where she's ahead, it's just by a handful of votes and they could swing to Rossi in the next couple of days. The divide between Washington State and Seattle has never been greater.

In the meantime, Rossi has hit upon a magic formula for overcoming Seattle's huge liberal voting bloc: win in Snohomish and Pierce counties, carry everything east of the mountains, and you can overcome Seattle and King County. Future Republicans running for office will need to study where Rossi ran strongest and emulate elements of his campaign.

Meanwhile, the hopeless Seattle press has already begun assigning blame to Gregoire's campaign staff for her weak showing. They are saying she wasn't nasty enough, not mean enough as Senator Patty Murray was in her re-election campaign, to get the job done. Could it simply be that voters liked Rossi better?


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