Dino Rossi ends speculation, enters U.S. Senate race

June 1, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Dino Rossi

Dino Rossi — the former Issaquah representative in the state Senate and the Republican nominee for governor in 2004 and 2008 — has entered the race to unseat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.

In a short video posted on his campaign website early May 26, the Sammamish resident joined a crowded field seeking the GOP nomination — and ended months of speculation about whether he might enter the race.

“I know I won’t be able to look at my children and, someday, their children in the eye if I do nothing while this fundamental redefinition of America continues unchecked,” Rossi said in the announcement. “I believe the policies being passed in Washington, D.C., have put us on the edge of a fiscal cliff.”

The eventual nominee will face Murray, a three-term Democrat, in November. Before Rossi can take on Murray, however, he must contend with Republican challengers. Other candidates pledged to remain in the race, despite the advantage Rossi enjoys in support and statewide name recognition.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has endorsed another candidate, Clint Didier, a Pasco farmer and former NFL player, on Facebook and Twitter. The field also include Rossi’s former state Senate colleague, Vancouver Republican Don Benton.

Voters will winnow the entire field, regardless of party affiliation, to two candidates in the Aug. 17 primary election. The top candidates advance to the November general election.

Rossi represented Issaquah, Sammamish and other 5th Legislative District communities in the state Senate from 1997 until late 2003. He resigned to campaign full time for the Governor’s Mansion. King County Council members appointed then-state Rep. Cheryl Pflug to the seat.

In 2004, Rossi lost the closest gubernatorial election in U.S. history to Chris Gregoire. Only 133 votes separated the candidates.

Rossi then fell short in a 2008 rematch against Gregoire. The former state senator launched both gubernatorial campaigns from Village Theatre in downtown Issaquah.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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