It may be in the hands of a Democrat yet. Though Republicans are screaming for Democratic Gubenatorial candidate Gregoire to concede, though the Republican candidate Rossi is ahead by only 62 votes. There’s a huge sign on I5 North just off the Airport that blinds drivers with “Christine (Gregoire): CONCEDE”. All this, and the votes aren’t even counted in the hand recount.
Republicans held a faux coronation for Rossi, and are crying foul at ever single thing that benefits Gregoire. Now, in King County, heavily Democratic, 500+ votes that were mistakingly marked ineligible were found out to be legitimate, so they’re going to be counted. That could definately put Gregoire over the top.
Democrats haven’t backed down in Washington — and they never should. On the contrary, they should be the model for the Nation.
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In the Northwest:
Democrats acquire backbone since days of Gore
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
By JOEL CONNELLY
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER COLUMNIST
In his lucid book on the 2000 Florida election debacle, “Too Close to Call,” author Jeffrey Toobin depicts Vice President Al Gore as a guy who fiddled with his Palm Pilot while Democrats got burned.
The vice president was preoccupied with how his actions would be viewed by the Washington, D.C., political/media elite. The Republicans’ obsession was winning the White House, even if it meant deploying a window-pounding mob to browbeat a county elections board.
In this Washington, however, Democrats are made of sterner stuff.
They raised more than $700,000 to pay for a full statewide hand recount in the gubernatorial contest between Dino Rossi and Christine Gregoire. They’ve resisted every Republican ploy to force a premature concession, including quasi-coronations of Rossi.
Of course, the Democrats suffered a setback yesterday. The Washington State Supreme Court — obviously wary of judicial intervention — rejected a bid to order that county election officials count previously rejected ballots.
At the same time, however, the hand recount is turning up hundreds of votes that were not counted by the supposedly fail-safe scanners and computers.
“Machines have the advantage of being totally objective,” Secretary of State Sam Reed intoned at the start of the recount. Yakima County Auditor Corky Mattingly chimed in, “We all know machines make fewer errors than humans — and they don’t need food or water either, or a break.”
Balderdash! With 32 of 39 counties reporting, humans have uncovered 438 votes that have been added to the Gregoire and Rossi totals. Libertarian Party nominee Ruth Bennett has picked up seven votes.
Incidentally, 55 of those votes were discovered in Yakima County.
Courtesy of County Council President Larry Phillips — whose vote was disallowed — King County discovered 573 improperly disqualified ballots: The voters did their duty. The county screwed up.
The discovery provoked yet another fit out of State Republican Chairman Chris Vance. “ChairmanVance,” as the e-mails identify him, has come to resemble the foot-stomping Rumpelstiltskin, most memorable fairy tale character of the Brothers Grimm.
Having previously questioned the integrity of King County election officials, Vance raised the specter that the state’s largest county is trying to “steal” the election for Gregoire, and raised the prospect of mass protests in the streets.
Envision, if you can, a Republican mob marching through downtown Seattle.
KVI talk show hosts with bullhorns might lead chants of “Hey Hey, Ho Ho … .” Regal ex-Gov. Dan Evans could stand in front of the county courthouse and cry: “We’re going to shut this place DOWN!”
The scene would be unforgettable. However, from the perspective of this pundit, conservative Republicans ought to be applauding the hand recount.
The latest totals have added 62 votes to Rossi’s lead. The recount has shown that bureaucrats — familiar devil figures of Republican election rhetoric — can and do make mistakes. Humans are uncovering omissions made by machines.
The six-week-long recount battle has demonstrated what lessons that both Republicans and Democrats took away from the 36 days of drama in the Sunshine State.
Under guidance of Bush family proconsul James Baker III, Republicans claimed the high ground of victory and depicted opponents as would-be election usurpers.
The Rossi campaign has done likewise. The candidate returned from a cruise, tanned and rested, to claim victory. Republicans’ amen corner — talk radio and blog sites — has showered ridicule on Gregoire for refusing to concede.
Recognizing that Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris was the most biased election supervisor since Boss Tweed, the Bush campaign used reasonable, credible Montana Gov. Mark Racicot as its public spokesman. Dan Evans has played a similar role for the Rossi campaign.
The Bush campaign acclaimed the statesmanship of Democrats who urged Gore to throw in the towel.
Similarly, the recount battle in Washington has witnessed mutual back scratching between the far-right SoundPolitics.com Web site and The Stranger. How come? The far-left Capitol Hill newspaper has urged on Gregoire a strategy of surrender.
But Democrats have learned from the passivity shown by Gore in the battles for votes in Florida and public opinion across the country: Bill Clinton wasn’t the only person left fuming.
The Dems have matched ex-governor for ex-governor, demonstration for demonstration. During the initial vote count, they put a firm stop to GOP browbeating of election workers in King County, where Gregoire’s strength is centered.
They’ve also produced credible cases of voters whose ballots were not counted, the latest — and luckiest — being Larry Phillips. The county councilman cast an absentee ballot because he was in Ohio trying to get out the vote for John Kerry.
Gregoire has proven a steadying influence, fortified in turn by her daughter Courtney and husband, Mike. As with the missed filing deadline in her office — played up by Republicans in the campaign — the attorney general has accepted personal responsibility for shortcomings in her heavily favored candidacy.
One delicious irony hangs over attempts to make her give up.
A Republican first recruited Gregoire to public service. She was hired by then-Attorney General Slade Gorton, who found a deep pool of talent in women law school graduates who had trouble finding work at major firms. Gorton has cited Gregoire as an example of potential GOP talent that got away.
One hopes we’ll indisputably have a new governor by Christmas — in time to launch into what promises to be a fascinating Seattle-King County election cycle.
Will we ever again measure up to this year in political intrigue, changing front-runners, legal twists, courtroom contests and bags of ballots not yet counted? Not likely.
P-I columnist Joel Connelly can be reached at 206-448-8160 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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