No revote for governor, but case proceeds

February 5, 2005

From Staff and Wire reports

WENATCHEE, Wash. - A judge in Wenatchee ruled Friday that even if Republicans win their court challenge over the election of Washington's Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, he cannot legally order a revote.

Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges said he doesn't have authority to order a new election. But he refused to dismiss the lawsuit by Republicans. The case can proceed, he said, although he cautioned that it will take a convincing case to overturn the election of Gregoire over Republican Dino Rossi.

Rossi and the state Republican Party have challenged Gregoire's election, saying the extremely close election was tainted by so many errors and illegal votes that the courts should throw out the results and order a revote. They sued Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, and the state's counties.

As interveners in the case, Democrats have defended the election results, saying Rossi doesn't have enough proof to nullify the election and that a revote would be unconstitutional.

It's unclear what relief might be available to the Republicans, even if they win their lawsuit. In some past successful Washington state election challenges in smaller races, a judge has simply awarded victory to the challenger.


Judge John Bridges
Gregoire, who took office last month, won by a mere 129 votes after a hand recount of nearly 3 million ballots.

Bridges denied several Democratic motions Friday to dismiss the Republicans' lawsuit, ruling that the case should go forward in the courts rather than the Legislature.

He also rejected Democrats' argument that the election challenge should go straight to the state Supreme Court, rather than a lower court.

Bridges also dismissed all 39 counties and their auditors as defendants.



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