Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Rossi vs. Murray?

In what could only be called a Republican's wet dream — will Dino Rossi challenge Patty Murray for the U.S. Senate seat she has held for three terms? According to a recent poll conducted by the Portland-based Republican polling firm of Moore Information, Murray and Rossi are locked in a statistical dead heat.

In a survey of 500 registered voters in Washington done on Jan. 24-25, 45 percent of the respondents said they would vote for Rossi, who twice lost the election for governor — the first time in a highly contested 2004 election considered by many to this day to have been fraudulent.

Forty-three percent said they would vote for three-term incumbent Patty Murray, while nine percent were undecided. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

Bob Moore, president of the polling firm, said he added Rossi's name to an otherwise generic poll because Rossi is probably the best-known Republican in the state. Moore said he also thought about using Attorney General Rob McKenna's name, and in spite of the fact McKenna is a sure bet to run for governor, didn't think he had the same quality name recognition as Rossi.

Moore added that the poll is a snap shop in time of the voters' mood — which right now appears to have some dark clouds on the horizon for many Democratic incumbents. Asked which party's candidate they would vote for in a race for the U.S. House of Representatives, voters were evenly split at 35-35 between Democrats and Republicans. The rest were undecided.

"The last time I saw these kinds of numbers was back in 1994" when Republicans took control of Congress, Moore was quoted a saying in a published report. "Democrats are not as popular as they were in 2008 and the Republicans have a real chance to pick up some seats."

In spite of the closeness of the poll, Rossi claims he isn't running — but he didn't exactly slam the door shut either.

When asked to comment on the poll, Rossi put a loose lid firmly on the rumor of any candidacy, saying, "I am not running for any office at this point. I have no campaign." This is almost identical to his stand in late 2007 and early 2008, before officially announcing he'd take a second run at Christine Gregoire, after the 2004 governor's race debacle.

Asked if the poll results, coupled with the current political climate would tempt him to mount a political comeback, Rossi gave his usual semi-denial: "I never said I would never run again for public office."

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