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Democrats Claim Victory for Christine Gregoire in Washington Recount

Democrats in Washington state have declared victory for Christine Gregoire for Governor, after preliminary results in the hand recount of votes put Gregoire eight votes ahead of Republican Dino Rossi. King County was the county to complete the hand counting process, giving Gregoire a statewide eight-vote lead in an election where 2.9 million voted. According to the Chicago Tribune, neither King County nor the Republican Party had confirmed the results in what appears to be the closest gubernatorial race in Washington state’s history. Confirming that both parties were provided with the recount data yesterday, Bobbie Egan, King County Elections spokeswoman, told the Washington Post that the results would be released at 3:30 p.m. today, December 22. Rossi spokeswoman Mary Lane was quoted in the Washington Post, saying that Republicans had not drawn any conclusions from the data and that “[i]t is too close to call.” Republican candidate Rossi won the first count by 261 votes and a subsequent machine recount by 42 votes. The third counting, done by hand, appears to have reversed the results even without the inclusion of 723 newly discovered ballots from heavily Democratic King County. Last week, a judge in Pierce County granted a motion by the Republican Party for a temporary restraining order to stop the counting of these recently discovered ballots, which were not counted previously due to mistakes made by county election workers, according to the Post. The case is scheduled to be heard by seven justices of the state Supreme Court. Following an analysis of the new results, Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt told the Associated Press, “We’re confident Christine Gregoire has been elected the governor of the state of Washington. I believe Dino Rossi should concede.”

Sources:

Washington Post 12/22/04; Chicago Tribune 12/22/04; Associated Press 12/22/04

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