Could "Top-Two" Doom Gregoire?

In his latest gubernatorial race roundup, Lou Jacobson wonders whether a change in Washington election law will hurt Gov. Christine Gregoire: In Washington state, Dino ...
by | May 12, 2008

In his latest gubernatorial race roundup, Lou Jacobson wonders whether a change in Washington election law will hurt Gov. Christine Gregoire:

In Washington state, Dino Rossi (R) who lost in 2004 to Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) by 133 votes after two recounts, is running again, and over the past few months, he's been gaining ground. According to the independent Elway Poll, Rossi reduced her lead from 13 points in January to five points in April, and in the latter poll, he won independents, 39 percent to 35 percent.

Both candidates will be well-funded -- the race could break state fundraising records by the time it's over. But while Gregoire is playing up her ability to deliver effective governance, she continues to have problems in connecting with voters personally.

Running in a presidential year in this Democratic-leaning state helps Gregoire, especially given the surge in Democratic registration caused by the presidential contest. But that could be neutralized by the Supreme Court's imposition of a top-two, "Louisiana-style" voting system, where the two candidates with the most votes get to run for office, regardless of their party affiliation. That will keep the Libertarian Party, which has shaved a few percentage points from GOP totals in recent elections, out of the final round.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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