Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson swears in Dino Rossi to a state Senate seat.
OLYMPIA — Republican Dino Rossi is back in his old Senate seat for five months after being sworn in this afternoon in by Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson.
Rossi was appointed by the King County Council to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Cheryl Pflug, who resigned to take a gubernatorial appointment to the Growth Management Board. Rossi held the seat before Pflug, retiring to run for governor in 2004
She was critical of that appointment Tuesday, saying GOP officials “strong-armed” precinct committee officers into putting Rossi's name on the list of nominees sent to the council. “I’m angry and appalled at the tactics of my former Senate Republican leadership, and I think they and Rossi shame themselves by trying to play Godfather.”
Pflug is supporting a Democrat, Mark Mullet, for the seat, contending he has the “business background, financial expertise and common sense” to hold the job.
State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur said there was nothing underhanded about the way Rossi was named to fill the seat; it was the same process that put her in the spot in 2003, after Rossi quit to run for governor the first time.
“For her to criticize this transparent appointment process, given how sneaky and deceitful it was for her to make a backroom deal for a cushier position as a bureaucrat, makes her a hypocrite - plain and simple,” Wilbur shot back.
Rossi said he hadn't talked to Pflug since she left office, but has no plans to run for any elective office in the future. He can't run for the Senate seat because he's been moved into another district by this year's redistricting. He only qualifies to hold the seat until November, when the new districts take effect.
He said he will keep his day job in commercial real estate investment and concentrate on constituent services. He's been appointed the top Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, a spot left open by the retirement of Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield.