I’m not pulling your leg (much) with that title. Thanks to a series of complicated legal battles that went all the way to the Supreme Court, Washington is finally resuming its historical “top two” primary method, where all candidates are listed together in the primary and the two top vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. (This may actually make Washington’s general elections more competitive, both in the thoroughly Democratic-dominated Seattle area and the Republican-dominated east.)
Between this, and Washington’s no-party-registration system (no one registers as a member of any party, and for the last few years, Washington used a pick-a-party primary), candidates in Washington now have the opportunity to identify themselves as members of whatever party they want.
That hasn’t stopped Rob McKenna (incumbent AG), the three Republican congresscritters, or most other major office seekers from signing up as “prefers Republican Party…” with one major exception: Dino Rossi, the Republican candidate for governor. He’s running as the standard-bearer of the “G.O.P. Party,” and that’s what will actually appear on the ballot next to his name.
There’s one other Republican Party-pooper who’s running for statewide office: Curtis Fackler, the Spokane County Republican chair, is running for Insurance Commissioner with “No party preference,” concerned that there are 30 percent of voters in Washington who will vote against a Republican “no matter what:”
And we want to get around that. We want them to read our statements and see where we’re coming from.
This escaped national notice until just recently, when Fox News, of all places, called out Rossi for his abandonment of the Republican brand. But why shouldn’t he? Rossi’s pre-politics career was real estate salesperson; he knows how to sell, and he knows that when your brand of dog food has been found to be poisonous, you stop selling it under that name.
SurveyUSA (6/7-9, likely voters, 5/13 in parens):
Christine Gregoire (D-inc): 50 (49)
Dino Rossi (R): 47 (47)
No surprises here: this one is tight, and will likely remain so for a while. I have confidence that Gregoire will pull through, especially with Obama’s strong performance in the state (he leads in this latest round of polling by 56-39 over McCain).
Here’s a “bonus finding” from the poll: Washington’s incumbent Republican Attorney General, Rob McKenna, leads Democrat John Ladenburg by 49-42 at this stage.
(From the diaries. I wouldn’t go so far as to call MO-GOV a “safe Democratic pickup” just yet, though. – promoted by James L.)
Cross-posted from Election Inspection, here are the latest Governor polls:
Thus far, Missouri looks to be a Safe Democratic pickup, while Indiana is a toss-up. Vermont is currently unpolled, but State Speaker of the House Gaye Symington (D-VT) could make the race against incumbent GOP Gov. Jim Douglas a competitive one. North Carolina and Washington look like likely Democratic retentions so far. I don’t expect Utah, North Dakota, West Virginia, Montana, or New Hampshire to become competitive, and the only question in Delaware is which Democrat will win the primary.
Rasmussen (5/12, likely voters, 3/27 in parens):
Christine Gregoire (D): 51 (47)
Dino Rossi (R): 41 (46)
I have a feeling that Dino Rossi may come to regret picking 2008 as the year he decided to launch his political comeback.
Survey USA shows Gov. Christine Gregoire leading in her rematch against Republican Dino Rossi (likely voters, 4/7 in parens):
Christine Gregoire:50% (48%)
Dino Rossi:46% (47%)
Rossi leads by 11 points among men; Gregoire leads by 20 among women — a 31 point gender gap. Voters under age 50 narrowly break for Rossi; Gregoire leads by 9 among voters 50+. 16% of Democrats cross over to vote for Rossi; 7% of Republicans vote for Gregoire. Independents split 5:4 for the incumbent. Gregoire wins by 13 points in metro Seattle; Rossi leads by 2 points in the rest of Western Washington and by 12 points in the eastern part of the state.
SurveyUSA (registered voters, 4/7):
Christine Gregoire (D-inc): 48%
Dino Rossi (R): 47%
No surprises here. Despite the tossup status in the polls so far, I’m feeling fairly optimistic here. Gregoire has had a pretty steady first term, and Rossi will be playing in an unfavorable environment this year.
Former state Sen. Dino Rossi, the eventual 133-vote loser in the highly contentious 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington state, is gearing up for a rematch against Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire. Rossi will make his bid official on Thursday.
There’s no doubt that Rossi will be a serious foe against Gregoire. Rossi seemed to benefit from favorable media coverage during the bitter re-count period in 2004, as evidenced by this poll showing that voters felt that he was robbed of the office and that he’d easily have won a hypothetical re-vote in late January, 2005.
Still, Gregoire seems to have had a largely uncontroversial first term, and the trendline of her approvals is respectable.
This will be a hard-fought race by the GOP — possibly their only real offensive opportunity to pick off an incumbent Democratic governor next year. But I’d be willing to bet that Gregoire has the early, if only slight, edge.