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.