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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Dino Rossi

Sunday Spin: Gregoire v Rossi 2 lives on in the courts

OLYMPIA – The 2008 governor’s race probably slipped from most voters’ minds long ago.

The winner, Democrat Christine Gregoire, retired from office in 2012 and the loser, Dino Rossi, seems headed for the status of elder statesman in the Republican Party.

It was their second contest, something of a grudge match, and like most sequels, Gregoire-Rossi 2 lacked much of the excitement and drama of the original in 2004.

But the race has tremendous staying power in the state court system. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Supremes to hear 2008 election case

OLYMPIA — Washington politicos may be looking toward the 2016 gubernatorial race, but the state Supreme Court will be looking backwards today to the 2008 race.

The case in which a couple of former justices challenged the way the Building Industry Association of Washington helped finance the campaign of GOP candidate Dino Rossi finally made its way through the system to the Supremes.  

That election was the rematch of Rossi and Gov. Christine Gregoire, which she won by a more convincing margin than the 2004 contest.

But in the midst of the 2008 campaign, former Justices Faith Ireland and Robert Utter contended the BIAW surpassed state spending limits because it coordinated too closely with Rossi to be considered an independent campaign. Notable about the lawsuit was the court order for Rossi go submit to a deposition on his involvement with BIAW just eight days before the election.

After the election, the lawsuit continued through the court system, with the appeals court most recently siding with BIAW. 

Sunday Spin: GOP intrigue in the 5th Lege District

OLYMPIA – To the unpracticed political eye, the dog days of summer might have been declared last week when what’s left of the Capitol press corps showed up for the swearing-in of a replacement legislator who might never cast a vote from the floor of the Senate.

But this was not some little-known partisan retainer getting the “thrill” of sticking Sen. in front of his name for a few months. Dino Rossi was raising one hand, putting the other on a Bible and swearing to uphold the U.S. and state constitutions, and the other things legislators-to-be must promise before crossing to the realm of legislators who are. . .

To read the rest of this item or to comment, go inside the blog.

To read the press release and letter connected to this story, click here.


War of words over Rossi appointment continues

OLYMPIA — First former Sen. Cheryl Pflug criticized the appointment of Dino Rossi to her old seat (which was his seat before it was hers).

Then State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur criticized Pflug for criticizing the appointment.

Today, Pflug fires back at Wilbur in an “open letter.”

True, this is the 5th Legislative District, which is in eastern suburban King County, so it's far away from Spokane. But the 5th used to be one of our districts, back before the 1991 redistricting snatched it away and plunked it down in Pugetopolis.

And besides, it's a pretty interesting fight.

The text of Wilbur's press release, and Pflug's letter, are inside the blog. Click here to read them, or to comment, or both.

Rossi sworn in as fill-in senator

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. 

Dino Rossi returns

OLYMPIA — Dino Rossi is once again a state senator.

The King County Council voted today to appoint Rossi — the former GOP standard bearer for governor in 2004 and 2008, and for U.S. Senate in 2010 — to an opening in the Senate.

The 5th Legislative District Senate seat became open when Republican Cheryl Pflug accepted a gubernatorial appointment to the Growth Management Hearings Board, just days after filing for the office closed. The district has a pair of candidates, Republican Brad Toft and Democrat Mike Mullet, and the winner of the November election will take office as soon as the results are certified.

But in the meantime, the good people of eastern King County's 5th Lege District would be without a senator.  Rossi's name was among those submitted by the GOP.

Rossi held the position before Pflug.

It's not clear how much senator-ing Rossi will get to do in his new/old seat. The Legislature doesn't start a regular session until January, and doesn't have a special session scheduled.

At least not yet.

Bragging rights go to Washington Poll

OLYMPIA — Remember all those polls in the U.S. Senate race that were all over the place in the last week of the election?

Democrat Patty Murray was up by 4. No, Republican Dino Rossi was up by 3. No, they’re tied.

Turns out the most accurate poll in the race, according to Matt Barreto of the Washington Poll was…

The Washington Poll.

Barreto compared 11 polls released within a week of the election in the Murray-Rossi race, which right now is separated by about 4.42 percentage points.

The WashPoll of Registered Voters, released Oct. 28, had Murray up 4 points.

Depending on the remaining ballots, YouGov might lay claim on the best call. It’s Oct. 30 poll of registered voters had Murray up 5 points, and her margin might grow because so many of the remaining ballots are from King County.

Other comparisons can be found inside the blog.

How close for recount?

The tight race for U.S. Senate would have to get noticeably tighter to trigger a mandatory recount.

Although tens of thousands of ballots have yet to be counted statewide, including more than 100,000 in King County alone, incumbent Democrat Patty Murray’s current lead over Republican challenger Dino Rossi (722,396 to 708,391 as of the latest election night tabulation) is beyond the one half of 1 percent margin that would trigger a mandantory machine recount under state law.

A machine recount also can triggered in statewide races if the the margin between the candidates is less than 2,000 votes. A mandatory hand recount is conducted if the margin falls below 1,000 votes and one quarter of 1 percent of total ballots cast.

The state Elections Division has a fact sheet on recounts that can be found at this link.

Both sides in Senate race ‘figure’ on a win

Patty Murray and Dino Rossi both think the numbers are on their side for a win in Washington’s close U.S. Senate race.

Republican challenger Rossi’s campaign released a statement late Tuesday night citing his favorite statistics that would make the race go his way. Among them are that Republicans usually gain a couple percent in ballots counted after election day and that he’s doing very well in Spokane County, which still expects to count large numbers of ballots.

Democratic incumbent Murray’s campaign countered just after midnight with a different analysis, noting that King County, where she was polling about 62 percent of the vote, may have as many as 350,000 votes left to count.

As morning dawns Wednesday, they are separated by about 14,000 votes, or 1 percent of those counted so far. New numbers won’t be rolling in until this afternoon. To borrow a phrase from Bette Davis, Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

To read the full analyses, go inside the blog.

Candidates race to finish line

Candidates for Washington’s top electoral prize, a U.S. Senate seat that could determine which party controls that chamber of Congress for the next two years, started their full final day of the campaign at dawn, on opposite sides of the state.

Republican challenger Dino Rossi had breakfast at a downtown diner, greeting the morning crowd at the counter and telling eight longtime supporters “We’re getting there.” Rossi said he tries to stop at Frank’s Diner just south of the Maple Street Bridge whenever he’s in town. After fueling up with a full breakfast, Rossi caught a plane to the Tri-Cities, where he’ll be waving signs in Kennewick mid-morning then attending a lunchtime “meet and greet” in Everett before attending the vote-watch party in Bellevue this evening.

Democratic incumbent Patty Murray was on “dawn patrol”, greeting ferry commuters at the Seattle docks at 6:30 a.m. She’s scheduled to  meet volunteers in Everett mid-morning, in Tacoma at 11:15 a.m. and attend the election night party at the Westin Hotel in Seattle.

Around Spokane, morning commuters passed candidates and their supporters waving signs at intersections in a last attempt to drum up extra votes. Washington state election officials estimate that more than half the voters who are going to vote have already sent in their ballots, but that still leaves a large bloc of voters who still have ballots that were mailed to them sitting around the home somewhere.

Idaho voters go to the polls, which are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and under a new law must show ID when getting their ballot.  Residents who have not registered, but who have lived in the state for at least 30 days and are American citizens, can register and vote by bringing a government-issued photo identification and proof of residency to their local polling place.

For information on polling locations, drop boxes, voter service centers, and phone numbers for local county elections offices, click here.

The last frenetic days of the Murray-Rossi race

Washington’s U.S. Senate candidates spend Election Day eve attacking the Puget Sound from different directions.

Republican challenger Dino Rossi started south and moved north along the I-5 corridor. He began with a morning rally in Vancouver, had a noon rally in Puyallup and a Bellevue rally in the evening.

Democratic incumbent Patty Murray started north and worked her way south along the corridor. She started in Bellingham, had a noon rally in Mount Vernon, a mid afternoon rally in Everettin the morning, a late afternoon rally in Edmonds and an evening rally and concert in Seattle.

You might think that they’re finished…but you would be wrong. They’ll get up and do it again on Tuesday, with more stops, including a Spokane visit by Rossi.

Murray  will be greeting ferry commuters at the Seattle Docks before dawn Tuesday, then meet volunteers in Everett mid morning with another meeting in Tacoma at 11:15 a.m. and attend the election night party at the Westin Hotel in Seattle Tuesday evening.

Rossi has a “meet and greet” at 7 a.m. in Spokane at Frank’s Diner, 1516 W. 2nd Ave. He’ll be waving signs at an intersection in Kennewick at 9:30 a.m., and meeting supporters in Everett around 12:30 p.m., then attend the election night party in Bellevue.

Murray, Rossi in Spokane Saturday

Washington’s U.S. Senate race comes to Spokane Saturday as both Patty Murray and Dino Rossi are scheduled to make stops on their final campaign swings through the state.

Murray, the Democratic incumbent, has a get out the vote bus tour across the state that starts in Spokane at 8 a.m. at Hamilton Studios, 1427 W. Dean (also known as Toad Hall, that’s the site where Democrats will be gathering in advance of the “Rally to Restore Sanity” at Riverfront Park at noon, to watch the Washington, D.C., version.) She also has a 12:30 p.m. rally at Walla Walla Community College’s Center for Enology and Viticulture; a 3 p.m. rally in the Tri-Cities at the Highlands Grange Hall, 1500 S. Union St. in Kennewick; a 6 p.m. rally in Yakima at Essencia Artisan Bakery & Chocolaterie,  4 N. 3rd St.

Rossi, the Republican challenger, stops four places in Eastern Washington, starting with a 1:30 p.m. rally at the Quality Inn, 110 E. 4th Ave. He’ll also be in Colville at 4 p.m. at Stephani’s Oak Street Grill, 157 N. Oak St.; in Republic at 6:15 p.m. at Diamond K Guest Ranch, 15661 S. Highway 21; in Omak at 8 p.m. at Koala St. Grill, 914 Koala.

Poll roundup in the Senate race

Three polls of Washington’s U.S. Senate race released in the last 24 hours have different numbers, but actually conclude the same thing: The race is very close.

Rasmussen Research late Thursday had the race at 47 percent Dino Rossi, 46 percent Patty Murray. It’s a survey of 750 voters, has a margin of error of 4 percent. So in other words, it’s tied, although Rasmussen notes that Murray was up 49-46 in a similar poll last week.

Also on Thursday, SurveyUSA had the race in an actual tie at 47 all in a poll it did for KingTV.  It’s a survey of 678 voters, with a margin of 3.8 percent.

At noon today, the Washington Poll, conducted by the University of Washington, had two figures from two sets of 500 voter surveys. For all voters, they  have the race at 49 percent Murray 45 percent Rossi; among likely voters, they have it at 51 percent Murray, 45 percent Rossi. Their margin of error is 4.3 percent for each of the 500-person surveys.

More on the Washington Poll results, which asked about issues important to voters, later on Spin Control and Sunday morning in The Spokesman-Review.

Michelle Obama: Get fired up

First Lady Michelle Obama campaigned for Patty Murray today in Bellevue.

The Spokesman-Review didn’t send a reporter. No disrespect to the First Lady, but our closest reporter is in Olympia, and while he made the trip to Seattle for the president, and another to Tacoma earlier this month for the vice president, the accountants are starting to wonder about all this mileage he’s been racking up, plus the 2+ hours it takes to crawl up I-5 at any time between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

But we do have what’s known as the FLOTUS Pool Report, which is the local reporter assigned to write what the First Lady Of The United States did at her events open to the press gaggle. The Associated Press’s Curt Woodward was assigned the task, and we have every confidence that he represented it accurately.

It’s designed to be more chronological than standard news style, so don’t look for the knock your socks off lead. It can be found inside the blog.

McCain: Murray part of ‘corrupt process’

U.S. Sen. John McCain tried to give a boost to Republican Dino Rossi’s chances of joining him in the Senate by saying Democrat Patty Murray “engages in a corrput practice.”

McCain stepped an inch back from calling Murray, a three-term incumbent with whom he’s had significant disagreements, corrupt.

“I think (use of earmarks) is a corrupt practice. She engages in that corrupt practice. Whether she is corrupt or not, I’ll let others decide,” McCain said in a telephonic press conference arranged by the Rossi campaign Monday morning.

The Murray campaign was quick to label McCain as “anti-Boeing”, noting the long-running fight over awarding the bids for a new Air Force tanker in which the Arizona senator pushed to open the bidding, which resulted in European-based Airbus briefly getting the nod for the plane to replace the KC-135 tanker. That was later pulled back because of contract irregularities, and Boeing and Airbus are again vying for the contract. Murray says the Pentagon shouldn’t award the contract without taking into account the subsidies Airbus gets, and is criticizing McCain for protesting that stance and Rossi for campaigning with someone who “worked against Washington state’s interests at every turn.”

Monday’s teleconference was designed to highlight earmarks, federal spending directed by members of Congress which are a key element of Rossi’s campaign against Murray, on a day when First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, are in Bellevue campaigning for Murray. It was supposed to have two GOP heavy hitters, McCain and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, but Coburn didn’t get connected to the call and McCain was cut off before the last question could be asked.

Rossi wasn’t on the call, although his staff quickly arranged another teleconference for him to reiterate his opposition to earmarks, although he declined to say whether he was in the state.

McCain blasted earmarks as “the gateway to corruption” and “a disgraceful process.” He said Congress should do away with them permanently. This is slightly different from Rossi’s position that he will not seek earmarks until the federal budget is balanced, and at that point might consider them along with changes in the budgeting process.

“I don’t know why that should be a criteria,” McCain said. “I respectfully disagree with my friend Dino on that.”

In his later press conference, Rossi indicated that he and McCain have further disagreements on earmarks as well. McCain said such locally directed spending should only come from the Administration or the authorizing committees in Congress. Members of the Appropriations Committees shouldn’t be adding things into their bills, he said. States and districts aren’t really helped by earmarks, he added: “It’s like welfare.”

Rossi said that while he’d be happy with eliminating earmarks altogether, he thinks the executive branch has too much power in deciding where the money goes right now.

That seems to put him somewhere between McCain and Murray, who has said that it’s better for members of Congress to direct money to worthy projects supported by people in their states than leave the decisions up to unelected “bureaucrats.”


To avoid any questions, next time Obama should come to Spokane

After President Barack Obama stopped in a Seattle neighborhood for a “backyard conversation”, the Washington State Republican Party complained that this was nothing but a political event for which Sen. Patty Murray’s re-election campaign should be charged.

Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. The 35 or so folks gathered in the Wedgwood backyard were polite – Seattle nice, was the phrase some local reporters used – and while several said their questions weren’t pre-approved by White House staff, many prefaced their remarks with praise for what he’s done or thanks for coming to town.

Murray was on the deck with him, and while Obama didn’t mention her opponent Dino Rossi, he did suggest folks be skeptical of people calling for big cuts in the federal budget without saying what they’d cut. (Technically, that criticism could be leveled at both candidates.)

There were no complaints from the GOP a few weeks ago when a woman at a similar gathering said she was tired of having to defend his policies, and wondering whether things would ever get better,

To avoid any complaints in the future, the president might want to think about holding his backyard conversation in Spokane the next time he comes to this Washington, and having a random draw for seats on the lawn. It might go something like this:

Obama: Ask them what they’d cut

SEATTLE — President Barack Obama said skeptical voters should challenge Republican candidates who are calling for smaller  budgets, demanding  that they explain how they’d shrink the government.

Appearing in a northeast Seattle neighborhood for a “backyard conversation” with about 35 local residents, Obama defended policies his administration and Congressional Democrats have pushed through in the last 21 months. But he acknowledged the effects of some things like health care reform are just starting to be felt, and might not seem like a good idea for years.

But Sen. Patty Murray, who joined Obama on the deck behind Erik and Cynnie Foss’s remodeled home, doesn’t have years. She’s locked in a tough re-election battle with former state Sen. Dino Rossi, who is one of those Republicans criticizing Democrats for health care and the stimulus programs while calling for smaller government and less spending.

Rossi continually hammers at Murray for federal spending and deficits while noting he helped engineer a balanced budget in the Legislature in 2003.

Without mentioning Rossi by name, Obama said voters should ask anyone calling for less government “what exactly do you mean to cut. If they can’t answer the question, they’re not serious about it.”

In fact, Rossi and Murray — who also acknowledges the budget must be cut and the deficit brought down — were both asked that question at a recent debate. Neither offered many specifics.

The stimulus package “did cost money and it added to the deficit,” Obama acknowledged, but he defended it as necessary: “Had we not taken those steps, had we dropped into a depression, the deficit would have been even worse.”

The theme of the conversation was helping women in the difficult economy, and Obama used it as a chance to highlight some emerging Seattle businesses owned or operated by women who are growing, with government help, despite the economy. Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale, said she was able to open a fourth and fifth shop in the last 18 months, adding 30 workers, in part because of a Small Business Administration loan that she secured at more favorable terms than she’d get from the bank. Christina Lomasney of Modumetal, a high-metals manufacturer, said her company received a U.S. Energy Department contract through the Recovery Act.

At a previous backyard conversation in Ohio, Obama came under fire from a supporter who said she was struggling and getting tired of defending him and his administration. There was none of that in Seattle, where most people prefaced their question or remarks with thanking him for coming or praising the job he was doing. Instead he had supporters of recent health care reforms questioning why the changes are be blasted by Republicans with no checking by the news media on who’s distorting the facts.

The health care changes are complicated, but will become more popular as they take effect, Obama predicted: “We’re going to look back 20 years from now and say this wasabsolutely the right thing to do.”

He blamed the drop in the popularity of health care reform to the need to push on to other problems as soon as it was passed. “I had to move on so fast…we didn’t always think about making sure we were advertising properly what we were doing.”

Asked if he had seen the movie “Waiting for Superman”, a documentary about the struggle of students trying to win rare slots for charter schools, Obama said he had: “That’s another good deal from being president…We get (movies) on DVD before they hit the theaters.”

He said the administration is trying to spur innovation in schools through its  Race to the Top competition that will give money to states that offer the best plans for improvement. Washington state’s applied for Race to the Top money, but did not make the cut.

After an hour in the Foss’s backyard, Obama and Murray headed to the University of Washington’s Hec Edmundson Center for a get out the vote rally.

Rossi is in Seattle today, too. He has a press conference this afternoon to discuss wasteful earmarks.

Obama: Women made strides, still at disadvantage

SEATTLE—Women have made great strides, so they make up half the workforce, but still face problems with lower wages, President Obama told participants in a “back yard discussion.”

Women, like men, have trouble getting loans, he said. They know that the middle class has been under pressure for a decade, not just during the recession.

The economy isn’t shrinking any more, and jobs are growing, however slowly he said.

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” he said. “It’s going to take us some time to turn it around”

Jody Hall of Cupcake Royale, a Seattle bakery, said she’s been able to expand to a fourth and fifth location in the last 18 months, adding 30 employees, in part because she could get a much more favorable rate than at a bank.

Asked by a supporter of health care reform why more isn’t being done to defend that program, Obama said that as more people see the benefits, it will become more popular.

“We’re going to look back 20 years from now and say this was the right thing to do.”

He also defended stimulus spending: “People have a legitimate concern about the debt and deficits…It did cost money and added to the deficit. Had we not taken those steps, had we dipped into a depression, the deficit would have been even worse.”


Obama heading for Seattle neighborhood

SEATTLE — The streets of the Wedgewood neighborhood in northeast Seattle are lined with people hoping to catch a glimpse or a photo of President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to hold a backyard discussion here shortly after 10 a.m.

Parents have children in patio chairs and Halloween costumes in front of houses decorated with jack o’lanterns. On Interstate 5 heading toward the area, however, protestors are holding a sign saying “Lost Jobs” with the first “o” the Obama 2008 logo.

Obama has two stops in Seattle today. The backyard discussion on women and the economy, which will take about an hour, and a rally  for Sen. Patty Murray at the Hec Edmundson Pavillion on University of Washington campus.

He apparently made an unplanned stop in downtown, Seattle, too, at a donut shop.

Republican challenger Dino Rossi has an event, too, after Obama leaves town. He’ll hold a press conference denouncing earmarks, the federal spending he’s been hammering Murray for using to bring federal funds to Washington.

Organizers just asked the 30 or so people in the damp backyard of Erik and Cynnie Foss to take their seats because Obama is appare

Deja vu fight: Who pays for Obama’s stop in Seattle tomorrow

President Barack Obama’s trip to Seattle Thursday for a backyard chat and a political rally at University of Washington is bringing up a dispute Spokane folks can relate to.

No, not health care reform. Or Wall Street reform. Or birth certificate provenance.

It’s a cost fight, as in “Who picks up the tab?”


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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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