video announcement posted on his website this morning. Originally scheduled to be released at 7 a.m., it was actually posted at 7:18, and features a video in which Rossi announces he will run against Murray, and asks supporters to join his campaign "to help put things right.”
Speculation about a Rossi run began in earnest in the beginning of February, when a poll conducted by the Portland-based Republican polling firm of Moore Information, showed Murray and Rossi locked in a statistical dead heat — should he run. Bob Moore, president of the polling firm, said he added Rossi's name to an otherwise generic poll for no other reason than Rossi being probably the best-known Republican in the state.
A University of Washington poll released Monday finds that Rossi, a two-time runner up to Chris Gregoire for governor, would give Murray a tough battle in November. According to that poll, 44 percent of voters sampled in the state said they would vote for Murray, while 40 percent said they'd choose Rossi. Twelve percent were undecided. The margin of error was four points.
Murray, a three-term incumbent, has faced mostly unknown GOP challengers until now. Republicans at the national level have been trying for months to recruit Rossi. Meanwhile, in anticipation of an announcement — or perhaps to try and force Rossi to rethink doing it — Democrats at several levels launched pre-emptive attacks against his background and his real-estate investment dealings months ago. Murray claims she has no knowledge or involvement in those attacks, but has done nothing to indicate she would like them to stop either. “She could put an end to that with a simple phone call,” Rossi noted dryly.
Rossi cited concerns over the national debt, the health care reform bill and the stimulus package as reasons he decided to jump in the race. Many consider Murray’s strong support of the Obama administration — and the controversial health care bill — to have made her vulnerable to a credible challenger such as Rossi.
Volunteers can sign up on Rossi’s Web site, as well as donate money to his campaign.