Gregoire wins Washington state's closest ever governor's race

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Olympia, Washington — After two machine counts and a manual recount, Secretary of State Sam Reed declared Democrat Christine Gregoire the governor-elect of Washington State.

However, this result was contested by Republican Dino Rossi, who is asking for a new election.

This election was the closest in state history. In the first count, Dino Rossi won by 261 votes. Under state law, this is considered "too close to call" and a recount is required. After this first recount, Rossi's lead was shortened to 42 votes. Because this was even closer, Gregoire and other Democrats raised approximately $800,000 to hold a statewide manual recount. She won this by only 129 votes, out of a total of 2.8 million.

To ensure fairness and accuracy in the hand recount, teams of Republican and Democratic counters worked together in the counting. They were watched over by observers, who were free to stop the count if they had a question or concern.

Rossi has threatened on several occasions to file a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court. He also has asked Gregoire to agree to a runoff election.

"This ain't golf," Gregoire's spokesman said. "No mulligans allowed here, folks."

Any runoff election would have to be approved by the Legislature, which is controlled by the Democrats.