The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

04 January 2005

Others Taking Note of WA's Corruption

Ken Masugi of the Claremont Institute writes the following in their Local Liberty blog:

Reading accounts of the Washington election for governor in the national papers makes the Republican request for a recount sound like loser's sour grapes. But there is a deeper issue that makes the episode surpass San Diego, even if doesn't near Ukrainian proportions. The conservative Republican challenger ran narrowly ahead of long-time Democratic pol, Attorney General Christine Gregoire, in the original election (261 votes) and then the first recount (42 votes). But, the second recount, by hand, put her ahead (by 129 votes), with her margin of victory increased with the discovery of previously uncounted ballots in the State Democratic stronghold of King County (Seattle and its suburbs). By itself, the narrowness of the defeat combined with the two previous victories would be enough to burden the staunchest of hearts and get the most hardened electoral veterans to call "foul."

These are great points, but he goes on later to suggest Rossi might consider conceding now to avoid "sour grapes" labels and focus on running against Senator Maria Cantwell in 2006.

I've seen this argument made by a few conservatives, mostly those not familiar enough with the situation or the incredible corruption emanating from King County.

First, why concede a race Rossi won by the first two (reliable) machine counts? Why allow an election to be stolen?

Second, the 2006 US Senate race, where Democrat Maria Cantwell will be running for reelection, is a different animal. Rossi won this race as a person who would reform incredibly mismanaged Olympia institutions and departments that Gary Locke allowed to bloat beyond recognition. That's why a number of Democrats, including Kerry supporters, crossed party lines for just this one race. Rossi's expertise is at the state level, it's where he's strongest.

Against Maria Cantwell, he will face an extraordinary amount of liberal tech money going against him. A few billionaires and their friends will see to it that Cantwell's position is secure. There will be no sympathy from the elitist liberal Seattle media and Rossi will have lost the momentum he still has at this moment.

Masugi also says there could never be enough outrage in Washington State to force a revote, but I don't agree. It's there right now. Rossi must fight for the victory that is rightfully his.

Overall, Masugi makes a number of excellent points, and Claremont's work on California issues is second to none, but I have seen Golden State conservatives misread Washington State politics many times before. There is a nasty habit of seeing Oregon and Washington as distant Bay Area suburbs but culturally they couldn't be more dissimilar. That includes matters of politics.


  • Thanks very much for your thoughts. You may have changed my mind. I certainly don't want the pressure against Gregoire to fade. It does appear to be rising, doesn't it?

    --Ken Masugi

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 January, 2005 14:24  

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