Rossi due to make rematch official
Republican Dino Rossi is expected to announce Thursday what many people have assumed since he narrowly lost the 2004 governor's race ...
Seattle Times staff reporter
OLYMPIA — Republican Dino Rossi is expected to announce Thursday what many people have assumed since he narrowly lost the 2004 governor's race — he's running again.
His campaign spokeswoman, Jill Strait, confirmed Monday he's expected to announce his second run for governor in Issaquah, then again later in the day in Spokane.
Rossi lost to Democrat Christine Gregoire by 133 votes in 2004, after three vote counts and a court challenge.
Rossi spent seven years in the Legislature, rising to chair the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee. He resigned his Senate seat in December 2003 to run for governor.
Rossi could not be reached for comment Monday, and his cellphone voice mail referred calls to Strait.
Paul Berendt, who was chairman of the state Democratic Party the last time Rossi ran, said he wasn't worried about a rematch. "Bring him on," Berendt said. "She will whip him, and it will be based on her record."
State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz declined to comment.
State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser said he had not heard for certain about Rossi's plan but said, "Republicans are pretty excited by the prospect."
Esser said that despite the good economy, Gregoire is vulnerable. "What's really changed is we've gone from Christine Gregoire's promises to Christine Gregoire's actions," he said.
In what's likely to be a list of talking points for Republicans in the coming campaign, Esser talked about record state spending, tax increases approved by Democrats and the governor's record on fighting crime.
"It's really a pretty dismal record on her part that didn't exist when she first ran for governor and promised to do oh so many good things for oh so many people," Esser said.
Berendt said Gregoire will handily beat Rossi "because she's just done a darn good job as governor. She's been able to enhance many important programs including children's health and cleanup of the Puget Sound and transportation funding that he was never able to do on his watch on the Ways and Means Committee."
Gregoire hasn't officially announced her re-election campaign but she's been busy raising money for the upcoming race, collecting more than $3 million.
She appears on pace to surpass the $6.4 million she raised in 2004, which was nearly double the previous record for a gubernatorial candidate.
Monday, she was in Washington, D.C., raising more money. Gregoire and several Democratic members of the state's congressional delegation were at a reception Monday night at the American Gas Association, a group that represents 200 local utility companies.
Gregoire, who was in Philadelphia last weekend for a meeting of the Democratic Governors' Association, was scheduled to go today to New York to speak to the Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century, which bills itself as "an organization of young, progressive New Yorkers."
The campaign paid for the trip, the governor's office said.
Esser said Rossi won't be able to match Gregoire in terms of money.
"There's no doubt in my mind that the governor will be able to raise more money," he said. "But I think Dino could raise enough money to get his message across and run an effective campaign."
Andrew Garber: 360-943-9882 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Material from The Associated Press and Seattle Times archives was used in this story.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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