February 5, 2005

NO MOVING ON (via Pat H):

Judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit over governor's election (David Postman, 2/04/05,
Seattle Times)

Judge John Bridges today refused several Democratic attempts to dismiss the governor's election lawsuit, saying allegations made in the case, if proven at trial, would be sufficient to overturn the election of Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Bridges also rejected Democratic arguments that any challenge of illegal votes by felons and others should have been made by Republicans before the election because they amount to problems with voter registration.

"This case should go forward, at least at this point," the Chelan County Superior Court judge said.

But he ruled that Republicans must show any illegal votes were cast in favor of Gregoire, and not Republican candidate Dino Rossi. There would have to be enough illegal Gregoire votes to erase her 129-vote victory margin.

We're inclined to the view that Democrats stole it fair and square and the GOP should move, but Pat says the Democratic legislature is so tax happy that Rossi would easily win a revote.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 5, 2005 9:52 AM

There are several other Western Washington commentors on this blog and I am interested in their views on a re-vote. I agree the best long-term strategy for the Republicans is to move on, but my responsibilities as the CEO of a company (with 140 employees averaging $21.40 per hour)on the verge of being taxed out of business screams for a revote. Gregoire continues to say she will balance the state budget with no new taxes, while the legislature continues to propose new taxes and anti-business regulations. What are the chances of a Gregoire veto of new tax legislation? Non-existent.

Posted by: Pat H at February 5, 2005 1:01 PM

This is an article from 'Gregoire-Central', and as you would expect is uh... somewhat spun. I would check Sound Politics for more detailed information.

Yes the judge said he doesn't believe he has the legal power to order a re-vote. Yes, he removed the 39 county auditors as defendents. But they'll still have to testify at trial. He most specifically did not say that the GOP has to prove illegal votes for Gregiore. State law is quite clear on that issue. A more likely is a voided election, Lt. Gov caretaker, and a re-vote in either Nov 05 or 06 (depends on law interpretation).

I agree with Pat that the Dems are in the process of hanging themselves budget-wise (he left out the proposal for 5 week paid family leave, just floated). Plus the state Supreme Court (9-0) just dropped another $480M/biennium deficit turkey on the legislature by ruling out state-level estate taxes on estates not subject to Fed estate tax.

Even if the election contest does not succeed, it does focus the Dems mind a bit. I don't think this state can survive even 2 years of unbridled Dem control. The real goal is to clean up election processes for future elections. Washington is much more volatile politically than readers of Presidential election results would think. 2006 will be an interesting year.

Posted by: TimF at February 5, 2005 3:31 PM

Thre comes a time whe you have to stop being pushed into "moving on" by the people who will gain from that position, and take a stand for what's right. An opportunity to demonstrate just how corrupt the current system is only comes along once in a great while, and when it does, you have to take it. and use it Even if the GOP wins all the battlesand but there isn't a revote because there's no legal way to do so, the point has been made, and can be used as a rallying cry for future elections. This is a state that prides itself on being "progressive" (in the 19th century sense), and would be receptive to all sorts of reforms (from registration reform to splitting counties) that will be shown to be necessary.

The alternative is to accept that this sort of thing occurs and is normal and that the only remedy is to "fight harder" next time. Meaning, the GOP has to cheat and take advantage of all the sloppiness when they can too. From there we only spiral further down. Besides, why vote for Dem wannabes when the real thing is already in power?

At this point, I believe that removing Gov. Pro Tem Xine and replacing her with the Lt.Gov. (what's-his-name, Owen?) is almost as good as a revote. While he would be a non-entity easily pushed around, the rebuke to the Dems would temper their enthusiasm knowing that all they'd be doing is generating a bigger backlash next year and in '008. I moved here in '94 just before the election where Gov. Lowry got his head handed to him on a platter in a similiar backlash, one that the national GOP success that year obscured, but they (the Dems) still remember that year, and don't want a repeat.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 5, 2005 3:37 PM

i think the single biggest attraction of gwb is his willingness to fight for things he deems right. the single biggest turn off about most republican politicians is how gutless they are, and how quick they are to capitulate. ghwb is a perfect case in point. the theft of the washington govenor's race is outrageous, and if left unchallenged will be very costly down the road. fighting and losing is a whole lot better than not fighting at all.

Posted by: cjm at February 5, 2005 4:50 PM

It's more than just taxes, though. People just really don't like Gregoire anymore, and they've been very impressed with how Rossi has handled this. Rossi'd win in a walk if the revote were held today. In November, it will be tougher--but I think he'd still manage it fairily handily.

My favorite part, though, is that Democrats have handed WA Republicans the very popular issue of vote reform on a silver platter. Finally, Republicans will have an easy issue to win on!

Raoul--I know little about Owens, but I've heard that he's a Sheldon-style conservative Democrat who the Dems are happy to have in a fairly harmless office. If that's true, then having him as Gov until the revote would be a downright good thing, not just a neutral.

Posted by: Timothy at February 6, 2005 1:26 AM