- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Republican Dino Rossi came out ahead in the recount for Washington governor yesterday by 42 votes out of more than 2.8 million cast, and the Democrats are expected to demand yet another recount that could drag on past Christmas.

Mr. Rossi’s campaign declared victory and urged Democratic state Attorney General Christine Gregoire to concede, saying there is no point in dragging the state through a third count.

“It’s time for our state to move forward,” said Mr. Rossi, whose campaign started calling him “governor-elect.”

“As far as we’re concerned, Dino has won. Dino has won twice,” said Mary Lane, a spokeswoman for Mr. Rossi. “It remains to be seen what Christine Gregoire will do after losing two counts.”

But Democrats said they want another recount, meaning the outcome of the nation’s last undecided race for governor may not be known until Christmas.

Mrs. Gregoire told reporters and supporters in Seattle, “Every vote should be counted. The race continues. A 42-vote margin, my friends, that is a tied race.”

The recount that wrapped up yesterday was done by machine. The campaigns or their parties can now request a hand recount in some or all the counties, but they have to pay for it.

Mr. Rossi trailed in polls throughout the campaign, but he emerged with a 261-vote lead after the initial vote tally ended last week. The margin was so tiny that it triggered the automatic recount.

Even before the last big surge of ballots was tallied, the Democrats had signaled they would seek a hand recount in at least part of the state if Mrs. Gregoire ended up on the short end. Democrats said afterward they still were weighing their options.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, the state’s chief elections officer, said he plans to certify the machine recount Tuesday.

The campaigns or their parties have three business days to request a full or partial manual recount at their own expense.

Mr. Reed said he would probably direct that such a recount begin Dec. 6, and that the job could last until about Christmas. If a partial recount changes the outcome, state law requires a manual recount in the rest of the state. That would extend the uncertainty past Christmas. Inauguration day is Jan. 12.

Mrs. Gregoire said the Democratic Party has indicated that it is willing to pay for the recount. A statewide recount would cost the Democrats about $700,000.

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