Rossi will challenge election in court

05:51 PM PST on Friday, January 7, 2005

Associated Press
King 5 News

BELLEVUE, Wash. - Republicans will contest the election of Democratic Governor-elect Christine Gregoire's victory.

GOP candidate Dino Rossi says it's not about trying to prove fraud. He says it's about problems in the vote-counting process conducted by individual counties.

The outcome will be challenged in court in Chelan County, although there's no specific indication of a dispute in that county.

Rossi says the only solution at this point is a re-vote. Democrats, who control the state Legislature, have rejected that possibility, although a court could intervene.

Rossi lost the election to Gregoire in a third count of ballots. He won the first two counts by narrow margins, but lost the final hand re-count by 129 votes.

Gregoire is scheduled to be inaugurated next Wednesday. She has called the idea of a re-vote "absolutely ludicrous."

On Friday she pledged to tour the state to begin a healing process after the election that deeply divided voters and the political parties.

"It's my job to help the state of Washington heal," she told a Capitol news conference called primarily to introduce an initial round of key appointees.

She is keeping outgoing Gov. Gary Locke's chief of staff, Tom Fitzsimmons, for at least six months and his budget director, Marty Brown, will become her legislative director.

"A `healing tour' -- what a joke!" groused Mary Lane, spokeswoman for Republican rival Dino Rossi. "That sounds like Dr. Phil and not the governor of the state of Washington. "As for healing, right now she is an illegitimate governor and the only thing that will heal this state is a revote."



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