washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Sauce For the Gander

Washington’s Secretary of State (a Republican) has now officially certified Christine Gregoire’s election as Governor by 129 votes following a hand recount of ballots, the last stage in the state’s process for recounting votes in a very close election. But losing GOP candidate Dino Rossi, who had taken to calling himself “Governor-elect” after holding infinitesimal leads prior to the hand recount, is not accepting the certified results, and is demanding a new election.
There was nothing shady or unexpected about Gregoire’s taking the lead after the hand recount. Most Washington counties use optical scanners, a voting method which, despite its many virtues, tends to produce a significant number of counting errors, usually to the detriment of Democratic candidates. A few weeks ago, Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox told me she was certain Gregoire would ultimately prevail for that very reason.
As for Rossi’s refusal to concede, there is, of course, a great deal of irony in the inability of a Republican candidate to accept a Republican certification of an election. As I am sure we all remember, George W. Bush’s success in the 2000 post-election legal wrangle owed a great deal to his campaign’s decision to treat certification of the results as a “final victory,” and to denounce the Gore campaign’s efforts to secure hand recounts as an attempt to overturn the results.
In this case, we not only have a certified result, but a certified result following a hand recount, so Rossi is hardly entitled to bitch. I recommend that Washington Democrats speedily begin referring to Governor-elect Gregoire as “Governor,” and to her vanquished opponent as Dino “Loser” Rossi. Sauce for the geese, sauce for the gander.

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