Revote in Washington Governor’s Race?

John Fund has a provocative piece in today’s WSJ entitled, “Don’t Count Rossi Out – A stolen election in Washington state? Not if bloggers can help it.

The new media–talk radio, bloggers and independent watchdog groups–have followed up their success in exposing Dan Rather’s use of phony memos by showcasing another scandal: Washington state’s bizarre race for governor, which features a vote count so close and compromised it allows Florida to retire the crown for electoral incompetence. If Democrat Christine Gregoire, who leads by 129 votes and is scheduled to take the office Wednesday, eventually has to face a new election, it will have been in large part because of the new media’s ability to give the story altitude before it reached the courts.

When the idea of a revote was first broached three weeks ago by a moderate Republican former secretary of state, Ms. Gregoire’s reaction was swift: “Absolutely ludicrous.” With Republican candidate Dino Rossi filing a formal court challenge last Friday alleging a massive breakdown in the vote count, she may still think the idea of a court-ordered revote is laughable, but her legal team is taking it seriously. “There’s not even a 50-50 chance a court would rule with Republicans to set aside the election,” says Jenny Durkan, a Gregoire confidant who is representing state Democrats. Hardly an expression of supreme confidence.

The feeling that a revote is possible is buoyed by polls showing the public still thinks Mr. Rossi, who won the first two vote counts before falling behind in the third, actually won. His legal team has also compiled a strong body of evidence showing irregularities, certainly one far more detailed than that which North Carolina officials used last week to order a statewide March revote of the race for agriculture commissioner after a computer ate 4,438 ballots in a GOP-leaning county. Without those votes, the GOP candidate was leading by 2,287 votes out of 3.5 million cast.

Fund’s analysis is interesting but I can’t imagine that a revote is going to happen. The state supreme court is clearly bending over backwards to give the election to Gregoire and the Democrats control the state legislature, the other avenue for overturning the results. Unless the GOP can figure out a way to force equal counting of dubious ballots in their own counties, Gregoire will get away with stealing the election.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kent says:

    It is regrettable that the Democrats appear to have stolen the Washington election. But it would not have happen had the race not been extremely close — a virtual tie.

    I think the Republicans would do much better to devote their energies to making sure it is not close next time.

  2. Kent is right, the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. We have to expect that close races will have a certain amount of fraud and errors. We just have to get more people to vote for us next time. It is wrong to blame these errors for our failure to prevail. There’s a saying that you shouldn’t measure with a micrometer that which you cut with an axe, or something like that.

    Listen to my podcast for more info.

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  4. Brad says:

    It is a perfect example of a weak candidate executing a stance based on politics of convenience. When behind, there was her incessant chanting of “count every vote”, now when recounted twice to be ahead and using courts to change the election, this stance seems to have lost her backing. Regardless, she’ll reap what she sews in the form of a term shrouded in illegitimacy.

  5. Nicole Kelly says:

    I think this state should have a re-vote. Dino Rossi won 2 out of 3 vote counts and Gregoire only won once. Plus there were more ballots counted than voters.

    The only solution to all this is a RE-VOTE.

  6. Sylvia Smith says:

    Some people say the election is a done deal. Others say there should be a re-vote. With all the evidence I have gathered from my research, I think there should be a re-vote. Some people did not recieve their ballots until the day after the election.

    I agree with Nicole Kelly. Dino Rossi did win 2 out of 3 vote counts. Also they found more uncounted ballots.

    All the dispute and disagreement can be solved if more accurate results come out. That means a RE-VOTE.