DATE: 12/23/2004 08:00:00 AM
AP for the Cheater - This is how the Associated Press begins a story about Christine Gregoire "taking the lead" in the Washington state gubernatorial race:
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Democrat Christine Gregoire's improbable rally in the marathon Washington governor's race picked up steam on two fronts: in a hand recount that nudged her 10 votes into the lead, and in a court ruling likely to land even more ballots in her column.Read over that again. "Improbable rally." Dino Rossi's 241 vote lead was "too close to call." His 41 vote lead was "a tie." But when a Democrat takes the lead by fewer than a dozen votes? Momentum time!
Honestly, I think the Republicans will fight this one, but have secretly resigned themselves to losing. The Democrats have the deck stacked on this one - Democrat voting boards, judges and other public officials are calling the shots. An election has been stolen right under our noses. It should be interesting to see how Christine Gregiore is able to lead a state that did not elect her.
Look for Rossi to run against Senator Maria Cantwell in 2006 and win. "Governor" Gregiore probably shouldn't grow too comfortable in the state house, either, since she will probably be un-elected as quickly as the voters who didn't elect her in the first place can get around to it. The situation is a disgrace, but it's one Republicans can work to their advantage, if they try hard enough. They simply cannot let the Democrats spin this one as a victory for democracy because "all the votes were counted."
Once Gregoire is sworn in, Republicans should respect the office of governor, while pointing out the problems with the state's voting systems. If they focus their anger on the way Washington votes, rather than going the Dem route of encouraging disrespect for the office, the political advantage will be greater. It will also ensure that future elections won't be stolen as easily.