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Former Governor, Senate Candidate Announces Bid for Reichert’s Seat

Washington Republican Dino Rossi lost three statewide races in six-year stretch

Washington state Sen. Dino Rossi announced Thursday he will run for the open 8th District House seat. (Tom Williams/Roll Call via Getty Images File Photo)
Washington state Sen. Dino Rossi announced Thursday he will run for the open 8th District House seat. (Tom Williams/Roll Call via Getty Images File Photo)

Dino Rossi at first did not succeed. So he tried … and tried … and tried again.

And now, the Washington Republican state senator, who lost two races for governor (2004, 2008) and one for the U.S. Senate (2010), is giving national politics another shot.

Rossi announced at the state’s GOP dinner on Thursday he will run to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Dave Reichert in Washington’s 8th District. Reichert is retiring next year after seven terms.

“Over the past two weeks, I’ve listened … in person, to Terri and our kids, my business partners and probably more than three hundred other people from across the political spectrum,” Rossi wrote Thursday night on Facebook. “They all share the same view that Congress is broken and needs fresh leadership. Almost all of them urged me to run because they think that my skill set can help our communities and our country.”

Rossi was thrust into the national spotlight in 2004 during his race against Democrat Christine Gregoire for Washington governor. Rossi came out on top in the initial results and in the first recount. But the decisive second recount, done by hand, showed Gregoire had won by 133 votes. It was the closest governor’s race in U.S. history.

Rossi lost a rematch against Gregoire in 2008 .

Two years later, he was the Republican nominee for Senate but lost by incumbent Democrat. Patty Murray by 5 points. 

The 8th District, spanning the central portion of the state, including mostly white King and Pierce Counties, has remained firmly within the GOP’s clutches since it was created in 1983, but Reichert’s retirement could open the door for a Democratic takeover in 2018.

Hillary Clinton carried the district by 3 points in 2016, with President Barack Obama taking it by 2 points four years earlier, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections.

After Reichert announced his retirement, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales flipped the race rating from Solid Republican to Tilts Democratic.

Several Democrats have already announced they will run for the open seat, including a city councilmember in the district, a pediatrician, a former King County deputy prosecutor, and an Amazon software developer.

State Republicans on Thursday projected confidence that Rossi’s name recognition and his credentials in Washington politics, which date back some two decades, will carry the day.

“Democrats should prepare for an uphill battle if they plan to challenge one of Washington’s beloved Republicans in a historically conservative district,” state GOP Chairwoman Susan Hutchison said in a statement. 

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