Dino Rossi, a Republican, has entered the federal Senate primary as a challenge to Senator Patty Murray (Democrat). He is the biggest threat to Murray’s re-election.

Sen. Murray has been a long-time champion of transit funding throughout the state, securing federal earmarks for Central Link, University Link, and many other projects. She’s also helped on the margins when important. She is chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, and her ability to direct dollars to good projects in our state has been invaluable. Without her help in the early part of the last decade, Link light rail might have crumbled.

Rossi ran for governor in both 2004 and 2008. During his 2008 campaign he had anti-transit policies such as raiding Sound Transit’s Eastside “surplus” funds to spend on highway expansion — money that was necessary to fund East Link — and to open HOV lanes to all traffic outside of “peak hours.” Of course, “peak” is subjective depending on the roadway, and buses need those HOV lanes clear to operate efficiency.

Readers will not have to wait until October to infer our endorsement.

30 Replies to “Rossi to Challenge Sen. Murray, Transit Supporter”

  1. Rossi: opportunist, two-time loser.

    If I had any thoughts of ever voting for him, they would have been blown away the first time I ever watched him speak in a debate. His campaigns have been based on playing eastern Washington vs. western Washington rather than substance.

    He thinks Murray is weak, that’s why he’s running. Not because he has better ideas, or really ANY ideas.

  2. I don’t think this is a serious run for the Senate. I suspect it has more to do with making sure that Murray doesn’t get a free ride to re-election and therefore can’t devote time and money to other Senate races that are closer.

    I.e., it’s about soaking up Murray’s war chest so she can’t spend it to aid more vulnerable Dems.

    1. Of course he has to get past the primary which is going to require raising and spending money. With any luck both Benton and Dieder will go after Rossi and force him to do something that damages his chances against Murray.

      Early out of the gate we already have Gov. Gregiore attacking Rossi. I think this is a great move politically since it gets the attacks out there without having the good Senator be the one to make them.

      1. Re your first paragraph; the “primary” election is now Top Two. Party labels don’t matter; the top two vote-getters regardless of party will go on to the November ballot. Patty Murray will get something just over 50 percent, and the GOP candidates will split the remainder — and there’s no way that unknown or barely-known candidates like Didier and Benton (respectively) can get more votes than perennial candidate Rossi.

        We travelled in Eastern Washington during the last governor’s race, and Rossi’s signs were EVERYWHERE, by the thousands. Those will be out there again, with a “for Senator” sticker placed over the old “for Governor” graphics. Trust me, Rossi will be on the November ballot.

      2. But since the Senate election is a federal election, will it still be top two, or will it be by the conventional party primaries?
        Either way, Rossi will have to run to the right to be able to easily get past Didier in the primary, which will make him alienate the moderates who will vote for Murray in the general.

      3. It does not matter, a state can decide how it selects its candidates for the general election. Look at Utah which holds party conventions instead of a primary. So the top two advance, which will almost certainly be Rossi and Murray. I really doubt Rossi will have to run to the right to get past Didier or Benton.

      4. Didier and Benton are pretty much regional candidates, aren’t they? I haven’t seen a single Benton sign in Spokane and very few Didier signs in SW Washington.

        Speaking of regionalisms, I have to laugh at the Didier signs using the Crimson and Gray of Wazzu (with an R on the helmet) considering that he a) went to Portland State (Green/Black), b) played for the Redskins (Red/Yellow/Black) and Green Bay (Yellow/Green) and c) coaches at Connell High School (Purple/Gold). I wonder how many Coog morons he’ll sucker with that (signs point to many).

    2. This is what I have read as well. Murray has a massive war chest, and the Republican Party is afraid that without a credible challenger those funds will be spent elsewhere. Rossi is nothing more than a Stalking Horse IMO.

  3. If Gregoire gets selected for Solicitor General (unlikely, but possible), I bet Rossi switches races.

    Assuming that happens, think about who else might run for the open governorship.

    1. Well if she gets selected for Solicitor General, it may very well be that she does so after the deadline for having an election for her replacement happen this year, in which case Lt. Gov. Brad Owen would take over until a new election in 2012.

  4. His attempt will fail.
    Trying to exploit the Murray ‘weakness’ without the ability to effectively identify, address, and counteract that weakness will be his downfall.
    What could be a lively and politically energizing debate about the role of government and public financing will be avoided.
    Once again, the tired and ossified R’s, unable to smell their own soiled diapers will venture out in public without benefit of a shower and change of clothes.

  5. First 30 seconds: “the way things are going”, “frustrated about unemployment”, “housing values have plummeted”, “massive new debt”, “children!”

    Dear Dino, can you find a platform with depth and substance? Also, TLDR.

  6. Its finally time to send the [ad-hominem] person in Congress back to her tennis shoes.

  7. I’d like to see him try to open the HOV lane on 520 to SOV traffic. There’s a reason that lane is 3+… it’s structurally incapable of handling the kind of traffic that it would otherwise get.

  8. Rossi, like many Republicans, seems to be laboring under the idea that the reason that Republicans have been losing elections is that they haven’t swung far enough to the right. Rossi (again like many of his cohorts) is adopting Tea Party language in his campaign gear-up, parrotting Glenn Beck/Sarah Palinesque sound bites about the eeeeeeeeeeviiiiiiiils of “Obamacare”, etc.

    These folks are in for a huge surprise come November, so long as they have rational opponents willing to step up and call them on their extremism without pulling punches in the name of “respecting diversity of opinion”.

  9. The same old Republican rhetoric on health care, “something better” then what is it? It is amazing how they take advantage of people just because of anti-government taste. As much as I want Murray gone, I am at a crossroads due to the same partisan line Rossi just spilled out.

  10. I am not a primary supporter of the 2 time certified winner of the 2004 Governor race here in the state of Washington (I am a Paul Akers guy), however if Dino Rossi wins the nomination he will have my full support. I really like the guy. I also think that the left is really scared of him. That is why they are attacking him so much. If he wins he will help end the corruption that Senator Murray takes advantage of, stealing money from the 49 other states for local projects. Our founding fathers would be leading a new revoluation if this was tried in there day.

    1. [Comment edited: ad hominem] Washington state gets back 88 cents for every dollar it sends Washington. “Stealing from the other states”. You mean like oh so Palinesque “independent” Alaska ($1.87 in for every $1 out) or maybe Ole Miss and ‘Bama (Red through and through them) at $1.77 and $1.71 in for every $1 out.

      It’s like that all over Blue America. Californy and New Yawk get $0.79 back for each buck they give. Joisey gets FIFTY-FIVE CENTS!


      1. No state should get earmarks. They are wrong no matter who does them ans who gets them. I have no control over Alaska I do have control over Washingtom.

        The federal goverment should only spend money on what is mandated by the Contitutation. All local projects should be funded localy. We should not have to fund local projects in Alaska nor should we fund local projects there.

        Also wrong is wrong. It is wrong to take money from one state and give to another. Yes we do not get back as much as we put in. But the problem is the earmark system. Get rid of it.

      2. Think very hard about why we shouldn’t have earmarks. The Constitution very clearly and very explicitly gives Congress the authority to spend money. Without earmarks, all money would be appropriated by the executive branch, but spending is not a power the executive has in the Constitution. Earmarks are authorized money, by the way; Congress says “we’ll spend $2 billion on transit this year” and some portion of that money might be earmarked. Should the Obama administration decide who receives all of the money, or should Congress have a say? Earmarks give Congress that say.

        Now, there is no question there is plenty of abuse of the practice — like military contracts that not even the military wants — but if you choose to take a surface-level, anti-intellectual view of the process, then please don’t say what the founding fathers would have wanted while ignoring which branch they gave the power to spend. Banning earmarks entirely wouldn’t come close to addressing the unequal allocation of resources among the states. They represent less “1-2 percent” of the budget, according to Wikipedia, which cites a Harvard Law paper.

        Now, whether the feds should be involved at all is an academic debate. There is no Constitutional limitation to what Congress can spend its money on (“the general welfare of the United States”), but I understand that philosophically you might think there should be no involvement. However, the federal government is involved in funding and they will be no matter which Washingtonian is elected to the US Senate. The question is, should we try to keep our dollars here or should we let them go to the state with the next senior Senator?

        In a world where Rossi would earmark for highways and Murray would earmark for transit, I know where my vote is going to go.

      3. Yes I believe in Congress spending but only what is mandated by our Constitution. The federal goverment should only do what is requiered by the Constitution. I want local money spent locially. It is wrong to take money from one state and use it for the benefit on another. There should be NO federal dollars spent on transit or local highways. Let Washington pay for our own roads and transit.

      4. Matt,

        I’m looking forward to you sending back your Social Security checks and turning down Medicare if/when the time comes.

        FYI, a lot of that money that will be coming back to our state originated here.

      5. I would gladly give up my social security. Also I am not something you wipe your feet on. My name is Mathew.

      6. Actually the whole Social Security argument is pointless. I would never see any benefits from it. I will not get any of my money back.

      7. I believe in Congress spending but only what is mandated by our Constitution

        So, spending for “the general welfare of the United States”? That’s a pretty broad mandate.

  11. Rossi lost me when he pushed to move more State general fund money over to road construction in one of his lost elections.

    Why aren’t any of these “conservatives” trying to end the massive subsidies pushed towards roads? It’s not like building more lanes improves congestion – hasn’t he driven 405 north of Bellevue lately?

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