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Tuesday, January 11, 2005  

Politics: Gregoire officially governor

Democrat Christine Gregoire was officially certified as the governor today. Her inauguration is tomorrow. The denouement of the Washington governor's race, which pitted Gregoire against multimillionaire real estate tycoon Dino Rossi, has been closely watched nationally because of the closeness of the vote. Democrats hoped to grasp one more governor's seat as a consolation prize for losing the presidential election.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Democrat Christine Gregoire was certified as the governor of Washington state on Tuesday, while outside the Capitol her supporters traded jeers with protesters across a line of state troopers.

Inside the Capitol, Republicans' attempt to delay the election certification failed after an hour of almost surreally polite debate.

Gregoire lost the first two counts in the amazingly close election, but won by just 129 votes after a hand recount of 2.9 million ballots. Next comes Gregoire's inauguration, planned for Wednesday - and then it's on to the courts. A hearing in Republican Dino Rossi's election challenge is scheduled for Friday.

"No do-over, no delay," said Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane. "Let's move on with the business of the Legislature."

Absent an extremely unlikely finding of fraud during the election by the courts, the election is over. But, Republicans continue to hold out hope that the results of the last recount will be set aside. Some GOP operatives have claimed that Gregoire received thousands of unaccounted for votes. But,, only about a thousand voters' names do not appear on county rolls after election officials have updated them. They say the number of unnamed voters may decline further, but some voters will not be identified for privacy reasons.

Columnist Anthony B. Robinson, a Rossi supporter, offered some advice to his candidate in a column at the Post-Intelligencer.

So I voted for Rossi. But we lost. And now I say to my candidate, "Give it up."

In public discussions of this particular never-ending story I find that many seem to hold the view that we have had three counts and Rossi won two of the three, so he should be governor.

No, that's not how the system works. That's not the process we signed on for before we got into this. The process in place called for an automatic machine recount in the event of a vote with as narrow a winning margin as Rossi received Nov. 2. That process further provided that a second, hand recount could be held by request of one of the parties if it were willing to foot the bill. According to this process, that third count would be the final and the deciding one. It's not the best two of three. It is No. 3. That's the one that counts.

Robinson has done a fine job of breaking down the problem with Rossi's objections to the outcome: they are results-oriented. Recounts were fine, until he lost the one that truly mattered. I suspect the courts will be unsympathetic to an effort to overturn an election that followed the applicable rules.

11:00 PM