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    The New York Times
    December 30, 2004
    In Washington, Call for a Second Election

    SEATTLE, Dec. 29 - Dino Rossi, the Republican candidate for Washington governor who won the Nov. 2 election by a hair and a recount by even fewer votes but then lost in a third count, asked his opponent Wednesday night to join him in requesting that the state vote all over again.

    Christine O. Gregoire, the Democrat and the state's attorney general, who won a final recount last week by 130 votes out of almost 3 million cast, refused, with her spokesman saying, "N-O, no."

    Wednesday evening, a day before the Washington secretary of state was set to certify Ms. Gregoire, as the winner of the long, drawn out race for governor, Mr. Rossi, a businessman and former state senator, sent Ms. Gregoire a letter saying: "The uncertainty surrounding this election process isn't just bad for you and me it is bad for the entire state. People need to know for sure that the next governor actually won the election."

    It was the closest political race in Washington State and one of the closest in the nation's history.

    Republicans have insisted that the last recount, requested by the Democratic Party after a previous recount gave Mr. Rossi an edge of only 42 votes, was rife with problems. They focused on King County, the state's most populous and most heavily Democratic county. Disputed ballots in the county, which includes Seattle, were ultimately allowed to be counted after legal challenges, putting Ms. Gregoire, who held a lead of only 10 votes before the inclusion of those votes, solidly in the winner's column. Inauguration is set for Jan. 12.

    Though Mr. Rossi would be allowed to contest the election after Ms. Gregoire is declared the winner on Thursday, he said in the letter that he believed it would be more expeditious for the two candidates to agree on pursuing a new election. The State Legislature would have to authorize the move.

    "Our next governor should enter office without any doubt about the legitimacy of his or her office," Mr. Rossi said in the letter.

    He continued, "A revote makes the most sense to build back people's trust in our election process."

    Democrats moved quickly to shoot down Mr. Rossi's overture, insisting the election was settled and that calling a new one, which they said would cost $4 million, was "irresponsible."

    Ms. Gregoire's spokesman, Morton Brilliant, said, "She will be the governor-elect and she will move forward."

    Eli Sanders contributed reporting from Seattle for this article.
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