January 13, 2005


Don't Call Rossi 'Senator' Just Yet. (Nathan L. Gonzales, 1/12/05, Rothenberg Report)

Democrat Christine Gregoire has been certified and today she was inaugurated Washington state's next governor. And Republican Dino Rossi will come up just short of his bid to become the state's top office holder. Rossi's near-miss gubernatorial candidacy now has him pegged as a can't-miss candidate for Senate in 2006 against Sen. Maria Cantwell (D). But there is reason to be skeptical.

As it stands, Gregoire will prevail by 129 votes out of 2.9 million cast, all after a couple recounts, a few discovered ballots, and plenty of shouting and posturing. Republicans have now officially challenged the outcome in the courts, but the chances of a re-vote are slim.

It's important to remember that Rossi's candidacy for governor was fueled by one essential ingredient: Change. Democrats have held the top post in the Evergreen State for 20 years and voters looked anxious to mix things up. Gov. Gary Locke (D) sported low enough job approval ratings that he decided not to run for reelection. And Gregoire, as a Democrat and statewide officeholder in Olympia, made an easy target for Rossi and his change message.

In some respects, Cantwell is an attractive target for GOPers looking to widen their margin in the Senate. The senator was elected in 2000 by just a couple thousand votes (one-tenth of one percent) and she had to spend piles of her own money to get there. But she did defeat incumbent Sen. Slade Gorton (R).

She's $2.5 million in debt from her last campaign and Mr. Rossi's likely to benefit from the same type of dynamic that got John Thune so much help from aggrieved Republicans nationwide. Mr. Gonzales notes it's still a Blue State, but draws no conclusion from John Kerry's mere 53%. A Rossi for Senate run is certainly not a slam dunk but it's very doable.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 13, 2005 8:50 PM

"Sierra Slade" got beat by about 2000 last minute Cook County votes, votes that probably were manufactured by the same process they used last year. Except last year they cut it a little too fine and drer attention to their behavior.

And if "One-for-Three" Gregroie continues to behave the way she has so far since her certification, come '006, not only will Cantwell suffer for Xine's sins, but she will have to deal with a GOP legislature as well.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 13, 2005 9:46 PM

If Rossi can be portrayed as a social conservative he will get stomped.

Posted by: Bart at January 14, 2005 6:54 AM

George Bush wasn't.

Posted by: oj at January 14, 2005 7:51 AM

We need another GOP senator more than a GOP governor of Washington.

This kind of publicity even Michael, the Mountain, Moore couldn't dream up. I hope Mr. Rove can spare a few moments orchestrating Rossi's senatorial campaign strategy.

Posted by: erp at January 14, 2005 8:38 AM

Is there a factual basis for the prevailing assumption that the guy wants to be a Senator? I, for one, could be tempted by a governorship, but the Senate, never.

Posted by: curt at January 14, 2005 10:33 AM


Bush lost in Washington. Nethercutt got whacked by Patty Murray and she's as dumb as a stump.

Posted by: Bart at January 14, 2005 11:16 AM

Nethercutt had baggage (term limits pledge was broken, is from Eastern WA) that made him an unattractive candidate and an easy target. There are very few Western WA Republicans with broad appeal. Rossi has that and can beat Cantwell. I prefer him as governor for selfish reasons, but he would make a good senator.

Posted by: Pat H at January 14, 2005 1:27 PM

Nethercutt lost by more than 10 points to a woman significantly dumber than a short Welsh herding dog. I didn't like him because he crawled up Castro's butt, however, Murray was just as bad on that score.

Washington is one of the least socially conservative states in the nation, and if one looks for a reason why the GOP keeps losing in an affluent overwhelmingly secular and Protestant state, one is compelled to look at social conservatism as the reason. It is not a place where socialist economics still hold sway, outside of a few quarters in Seattle and some weirder parts of Timber Country. A state that elected Jackson and Magnuson for millenia and where Boeing remains a major presence is not preternaturally hostile to defense spending and national assertiveness.

Posted by: Bart at January 15, 2005 9:48 AM

Kerry 53%

Posted by: oj at January 15, 2005 10:10 AM