It’s going to be interesting to see whether those Democrats who were so offended by the way King County beat Republican Dino Rossi out of election for governor will stand by their 2004 vows to atone for it the second time around.
Plenty of them told me and wrote me that they were outraged at the way Rossi was cheated when King County kept coming up with surprise stashes of uncounted ballots that tipped the race to Christine Gregoire.
OK, so he was a Republican. But this is the guy, you might remember, who as chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, faced up to a huge deficit and put together a biennial budget with no tax increase in it.
That does tend to endear you to taxpayers.
Rossi won on election night by 261 votes. He won in the machine recount by 42 votes and then lost in a hand recount paid for by the Democrats that ended in 133 more votes for Gregoire than for him.
Yes, I know the original hand recount came up 129 more in the Gregoire column, and even Rossi himself uses that figure in his speeches, but by the time the courts got through diddling with it, the figure that went down in the record books was 133.
Trust me. I checked the Secretary of State’s office. Correct your notes, Dino.
Actions by the Secretary of State since are one of the reasons Rossi is going again.
“Things have changed,” he told the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. “Thirty-nine counties have cleaned out their individual voter bases and now the Secretary of State has moved 400,000 people off the dead rolls. ACORN, the voter group, was investigated for 1,100 phony voter registrations. The U.S. Attorney’s office indicted seven people who are now in prison for election fraud.”
Rossi is going on the campaign trail with the question, “Do you support a candidate who delivered a balanced budget in the face of a deficit and proved you can be fiscally conservative and still have a social conscience, or another candidate who said she would not raise taxes and did it anyway? Who do you want to solve the problems?”
Washington, he said, “has one of the highest failure rates in America for small business. This is the worst place in America to start a business and the best to be a criminal.”
He’s got some great bumper stickers. One reads “Dinocrat. I’m back and I’m bringing friends.” The other is “Re-elect Rossi.”
If you’ve forgotten where this guy Rossi came from, he’s a self-made millionaire, the son of poor folks who likes to say he grew up thinking everybody drank powdered milk.
He paid his college tuition by janitoring at night and selling real estate by day. He bought his first apartment building at age 25.
This time, I asked, will you say you’re the first person in your family to go to college the way Maria Cantwell’s mother did about her, which I’m convinced was why she got elected?
“No,” he said, “my father was the first person to go to college in our family.”
So will those outraged Democrats from 2004 step up and give him the payback he deserves for being cheated the last time? Well, I also remember the gratitude expressed by Democrats when Sen. Slade Gorton saved the Mariners by rounding up financing when no one else could.
And where were they when payback time arrived?
They were voting for a woman whose only claim to fame was saddling us with the now infamous Growth Management Act but who was the first person in her family to go to college.
Washington Democrats have lousy memories, but they’re sure easy to impress.
Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.