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Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - Page updated at 07:00 p.m.

Rossi named to serve 5 months in state Senate

By Brian M. Rosenthal
Seattle Times staff reporter

Dino Rossi, the unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidate who started his political career as an Eastside state lawmaker, is headed back to his old Senate seat — for five months, anyway.

Rossi was appointed Monday to serve out the remainder of former Sen. Cheryl Pflug's term in the 5th Legislative District. Pflug, a moderate Republican, resigned in May to serve on the state Growth Management Hearings Board.

Rossi will be paid about $17,500 — a prorated amount of a senator's $42,000 annual salary — for the caretaker stint. He's not a candidate for the seat in the November election; whoever wins will take office as soon as the results are certified, usually by early December.

While the Legislature will not be in session before then, senator-to-be Rossi will need to respond to constituent complaints and requests, said Brad Hendrickson, deputy secretary of the Senate. Rossi also will probably attend some committee meetings.

Rossi has said he didn't seek the appointment but would serve to help the party. He was unanimously chosen by the Metropolitan King County Council after being named the top choice by the district's Republican precinct officers.

"I'm very humbled for the opportunity to be able to serve the citizens of the 5th Legislative District once again," Rossi said in a council news release.

Democrats are hopeful they can win the seat in November, with Democrat Mark Mullet, an Issaquah City Council member, going up against Republican Brad Toft, a Snoqualmie businessman.

Rossi served the district between 1997 and 2003 before resigning to run for governor. He lost the 2004 race, in addition to the 2008 gubernatorial election and the 2010 U.S. Senate campaign. Since then, he's been a principal for Coast Equity Partners, an Everett-based real-estate firm.

He'll be sworn in Tuesday in the Senate chambers, according to the release.

Brian M. Rosenthal: 206-464-3195 or brosenthal@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @brianmrosenthal.

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