Dino Rossi officially kicks off Washington Senate bid
Former state Sen. Dino Rossi (R) made his long-awaited entry into the Washington Senate race this morning via a web video released this morning.
"Over the past several months, as I watched Congress pile more and more debt on top of our children and grandchildren; as I watched them ram through a partisan, ill-conceived health care bill; as I watched them pass new job-killing taxes and regulations, I knew I had to do something about it. That's why I've made the decision to run for the United States Senate," Rossi says in a five-minute video posted on his campaign website.
In the video, Rossi makes no specific mention of Sen. Patty Murray (D), the three-term incumbent he is seeking to unseat. But he hammers D.C. lawmakers on the whole for passing policies that "have put us on the edge of a fiscal cliff."
He also points to his experience in the state Senate, stating that he "brought both parties together to balance the budget without raising taxes" in the face of "what was at the time the largest deficit in state history."
"I did it by seeking out a fiscally conservative majority, rather than a partisan majority," Rossi says in the video. "Now I want to help do the same thing in the other Washington."
Today's announcement marks Rossi's third run at statewide office; he made two failed bids against Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) in 2004 and 2008. On the trail, he has often made mention of his modest upbringing: The grandson of Italian immigrants, Rossi grew up the youngest of seven children and worked as a janitor while studying business administration at Seattle University. He later went on to become a successful commercial realtor and investor and served in the state Senate from 1997 to 2003.
Former NFL player Clint Didier (R) -- who has been endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) -- businessman Paul Akers (R) and state Sen. Don Benton (R) are also competing for the GOP nod. All three have previously said they will stay in the race regardless of Rossi's decision.
Challenging Murray will be no easy task, however. The state's senior senator spent over $11 million on her 2004 re-election bid, and had nearly $6 million in her campaign account at the end of March. The state has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, giving President Obama 58 percent over Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) 40 percent in 2008.
-- Felicia Sonmez
May 26, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
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