2008 Washington gubernatorial election
|Elections in Washington|
The 2008 gubernatorial election in Washington elected the Governor of Washington on November 4, 2008. Republican Dino Rossi and incumbent Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire emerged from the August 19 primary, making the 2008 election a rematch between the candidates from the 2004 election. That election was the closest in Washington State history, with each receiving 49 percent of the vote and Rossi winning the first two of three counts. In contrast to the recounts and months of legal challenges in their previous contest, Gregoire was the clear winner on November 5, earning 53 percent of the vote.
|June 6||2008||Filing deadline|||
|August 19||2008||State primary||||Same date as general primaries for other offices|
|November 4||2008||General election||||Same date as presidential election and other offices|
|November 26||2008||General election||||Last day for counties to deliver results to the state|
|December 4||2008||General election||||Results certified|
|Candidate||Stated party preference||Website||Notes|
|Christine Gregoire||Prefers Democratic Party||cw||Incumbent governor|
|Dino Rossi||Prefers G.O.P. Party||cw||Ex-state senator, 2004 gubernatorial nominee|
|Will Baker||Prefers Reform Party||cw||Out; lost primary|
|Duff Badgley||Prefers Green Party||cw||Out; lost primary|
|John W. Aiken, Jr.||Prefers Republican Party||cw||Out; lost primary|
|Christian Pierre Joubert||Prefers Democratic Party||cw||Out; lost primary|
|Chris Tudor||States No Party Preference||cw||Out; lost primary|
|Javier O. Lopez||Prefers Republican Party||cw||Out; lost primary|
|Mohammad Hasan Said||States No Party Preference||cw||Out; lost primary|
|James White||Prefers Independent Party||cw||Out; lost primary|
|Source: Secretary of State|
Controversy over Rossi's party preference
Under the changes to election law made by the passage of Initiative 872, partisan contests are no longer tied to registered parties, but candidates are allowed to indicate an arbitrary "party preference" to appear next to their name on the primary and general election ballots. An extreme example of this occurred in the 40th District race for state senator, where candidate Timothy Stoddard indicated a preference for the "Salmon Yoga" party.
Republican candidate Dino Rossi listed his party preference as "G.O.P." instead of the traditional party name "Republican". Critics of Rossi contended that the choice of party name was an attempt to distance himself from any negative opinions associated with the Republican Party. Rossi's campaign argued that the difference was insignificant, saying voters are already aware that the terms refer to the same party. However, an Elway Research poll taken in August 2008 found that over 25% of registered voters were not aware that the term "GOP" meant the Republican Party.
On September 23, the Washington State Democrats, alleging that the latter is a misrepresentation of his true party affiliation, filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State to force the state to list Rossi to on the general election ballot as a Republican instead of with the "GOP Party" label. A King County Superior Court judge dismissed the suit, saying nothing in state law made the choice of party name illegal, but he acknowledged the potential confusion. Had the lawsuit succeeded, many counties would have had to reprint their ballots, and the already-cast absentee votes of military personnel may have become invalid.
The Washington primary election was held August 19, 2008. For the first time, Washington ran a top-two primary, eliminating the "pick a party" primary used since 2004. Unlike traditional primaries, wherein each party with more than one candidate is reduced to a single person to appear on the general election ballot, the system simply reduces the entire crop of candidates from all parties down to the top two candidates, resulting in no more than two candidates appearing on the general election ballot for a given position. As a result, candidates from all parties were essentially running against each other. To allow for ideological identification, each candidate in a partisan race was allowed to indicate an arbitrary party preference.
While the primary was officially held on August 19, 2008, some counties such as King County allow absentee ballots to be postmarked by that date in order to be valid. As a result, the primary vote tally may not be officially certified until as late as September 9, to allow time for mailed-in ballots to arrive and be counted by the counties. As an increasing number of counties allow, encourage, or mandate mail-in ballots for voters within the county, the number of such ballots can be significant.
The vote tally as of October 10 is as follows:
|Candidate||Home city||Stated party preference||Total votes||Percentage|
|Dino Rossi||Sammamish||Prefers G.O.P. Party||668,571||46.35%|
|Will Baker||Tacoma||Prefers Reform Party||5,201||0.36%|
|Christine Gregoire||Auburn||Prefers Democratic Party||696,306||48.27 %|
|Duff Badgley||Seattle||Prefers Green Party||9,702||0.67%|
|John W. Aiken, Jr.||Medical Lake||Prefers Republican Party||21,564||1.49%|
|Christian Pierre Joubert||Edmonds||Prefers Democratic Party||16,646||1.15%|
|Christopher A. Tudor||Indianola||States No Party Preference||5,600||0.39%|
|Javier O. Lopez||Lacey||Prefers Republican Party||4,981||0.35%|
|Mohammad Hasan Said||Ephrata||States No Party Preference||3,002||0.21%|
|James White||Marysville||Prefers Independent Party||10,884||0.75%|
Christine Gregoire and Dino Rossi were declared the winners of the primary and placed on the ballot for the November 4 election, which coincided with the national election. However, with all Washington counties either exclusively or (in the case of Pierce and King counties) predominantly voting via mail-in ballot, many votes were cast prior to that date. King County, the largest county in the state, and the one which carried Gregoire to victory in 2004, sent out overseas absentee ballots on October 5, and resident mail-in ballots on October 17.
In Washington state, mail-in ballots only need to be postmarked, not received, by November 4, meaning that valid ballots will continue to be received and counted after that date. For the 2008 election, counties had until November 26 to send results to the state, and the Secretary of State had until December 4 to certify all state results.
|Survey USA||November 2, 2008||52%||46%||1%|
|Survey USA||October 26–27, 2008||50%||48%||2%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 22, 2008||50%||48%||2%|
|Survey USA||October 12–13, 2008||48%||47%||5%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 2, 2008||48%||48%|
|Survey USA||September 21–22, 2008||50%||48%||1%|
|Strategic Vision||September 14–16, 2008||46%||48%||6%|
|Rasmussen Reports||September 10, 2008||46%||52%|
|Survey USA||September 5–7, 2008||47%||48%||2%|
|SurveyUSA||August 11–12, 2008||50%||48%||1%|
|Rasmussen Reports||August 6, 2008||47%||43%||-|
|Strategic Vision||July 25–27, 2008||47%||45%||8%|
|SurveyUSA||July 13–15, 2008||49%||46%||3%|
|Moore Information||July 9–10, 2008||45%||45%||9%|
|Rasmussen Reports||July 9, 2008||49%||43%||-|
|Elway Poll||June 18–22, 2008||47%||39%||-|
|Rasmussen Reports||June 9, 2008||50%||43%||-|
|SurveyUSA||June 9, 2008||50%||47%||1%|
|Rasmussen Reports||May 12, 2008||52%||41%||-|
|Elway Poll||April 21–22, 2008||43%||38%||-|
|SurveyUSA||April 14–16, 2008||50%||46%||2%|
|SurveyUSA||April 7, 2008||48%||47%||5%|
|Rasmussen Reports[permanent dead link]||March 27, 2008||47%||46%||7%|
|Rasmussen Reports||February 28, 2008||46%||47%||7%|
|Washington Poll||February 7–18, 2008||53.7%||42.1%||3.5%|
|Elway Poll||January 3–6, 2008||48%||35%||-|
|Washington Poll||October 22–29, 2007||46.8%||42.4%||7.3%|
|Strategic Vision||October 5–7, 2007||47%||45%||8%|
|Strategic Vision||March 24–26, 2006||38%||51%||11%|
Police Guild press conference incident
At an August 7 press conference held by the Seattle Police Officers Guild to declare its endorsement of Rossi, the Guild forcibly removed Kelly Akers, a Gregoire campaign staffer who was filming the event, from the premises. The Rossi campaign reiterated a standing policy to prevent opposing campaigns from filming Rossi's appearances, to deny them the ability to take "attack footage." Rossi's campaign staff includes a cameraman tasked with filming Gregoire appearances.
Five debates were held between the Gregoire and Rossi, the candidates in the general election.
|2008-09-20||9:00 PM||Fisher Plaza (Seattle)||Fisher Communications, League of Women Voters, Seattle Post-Intelligencer|
|2008-09-25||7:30 PM||Semiahmoo Resort (Blaine)||Association of Washington Business|
|2008-10-01||7:00 PM||Capitol Theatre (Yakima)||KCTS 9, Yakima Herald-Republic|
|2008-10-09||7:00 PM*||KSPS-TV Studios (Spokane)||KSPS-TV, Spokane Spokesman-Review|
|2008-10-15||8:00 PM||TBD||KING-TV, Seattle Times, NPR|
*The Spokane debate was taped in the morning to be aired at the indicated time. All other debates were held and aired live.
The Gregoire campaign had sought a sixth debate in Tacoma, sponsored by the Tacoma News-Tribune. The Rossi campaign instead sought a sixth debate in Vancouver, Washington sponsored by The Columbian. The local Camas-Washougal Rotary Club went so far as to reserve a venue for October 8. The campaigns could not agree on either event.
These are the gubernatorial election results as of 11/25/2008 10:45 PM PST.
|Democratic||Christine Gregoire (Incumbent)||1,598,738||53.24|
|Invalid or blank votes|
Gregoire declared victory after late evening returns were posted, with 42% of the statewide vote counted, showing her with a 52% lead over Rossi. By 10:30 PM PST (1:30 AM EST) all five major television networks had called the race for Gregoire.
The Rossi campaign called the networks' declarations "premature" and did not concede defeat that evening. Rossi held out hope that late ballots would carry him, as late returns had reversed an early Gregoire lead in 2004. Rossi conceded the next morning.
Rossi conceded defeat in the gubernatorial election on November 5. In his concession speech, he indicated that he was not planning a return to politics.
- Politics1. "Politics 1-Washington". Retrieved 2008-05-31.
- "Elections Calendar". Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- Secretary of the State of Washington. "Calendar". Retrieved 2008-05-31.
- "People's Choice Initiative of 2004 (Initiative 872)" (PDF). Washington Office of the Secretary of State. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-08-27. "Definitions" section, paragraph on the term "partisan office".
- "August 19, 2008 Top 2 Primary – Legislative District 40 – State Senator". Washington Office of the Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- Washington political blogger Goldy suggested that Rossi was "too ashamed to have the Republican brand attached to his name." Goldstein, David (2008-06-05). "BREAKING: Dino Rossi quits Republican Party!". HorsesAss.org. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- Roberts, Gregory (2008-06-06). "Rossi not exactly on ballot as Republican". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- The Elway press release to news organizations was reprinted in Mapes, Jeff. "Washington's current governor's race". Mapes on Politics. The Oregonian. Archived from the original on 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
- Garber, Andrew (2008-09-24). "Democrats sue to make Rossi call himself "Republican" instead of "GOP"". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- Johnson, Gene (2008-09-26). "Seattle judge OKs ballot with 'GOP' Rossi". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- "Announcing Washington State's NEW Top 2 Primary" (PDF). Washington Office of the Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- McGann, Chris (2008-08-19). "Top-two primary kicks off today". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
- "August 19, 2008 Top 2 Primary – State Executive – Governor". Washington Office of the Secretary of State. 2008-08-28. Archived from the original on September 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
- All candidates' home city information taken from "2008 Primary Voters' Guide". Washington Office of the Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- Roberts, Gregory (2008-02-07). "King County delays all-mail voting until 2009". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- King County. "King County Elections". Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- "Vote by Mail FAQ". Washington Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- Postman, David; Garber, Andrew (2008-08-12). "Dem cameraman is evicted from Dino Rossi event". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2018-11-08. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- Hagey, Jason (2008-09-08). "Debate schedule: Gregoire, Rossi preparing to face-off at least five times". Political Buzz. Tacoma News Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- Brunt, Josh (2008-10-09). "Gov. Gregoire, Rossi debate". Spokane Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
- Brunt, Jonathan. "Gov. Gregoire, Rossi debate budget". Spokesman Review. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- Garber, Andrew (2008-10-05). "The truth behind claims by Rossi, Gregoire". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2018-11-08. (Sidebar: "Rossi-Gregoire debates")
- Hagey, Jason (2008-09-26). "Gregoire, Rossi kick off debate schedule tonight". Tacoma News Tribune. Retrieved 2008-09-26.[dead link]
- Hagey, Jason (2008-09-08). "Debate schedule: Gregoire, Rossi preparing to face-off at least five times". Political Buzz. Tacoma News Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "Chris Gregoire Too Busy to Debate Rossi in Clark County". Camas Washougal Watch. 2008-08-12. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- Durbin, Kathie (2008-08-07). "Gregoire declines offers to debate Rossi locally". The Columbian.
- Mulick, Chris (2008-08-05). "Gregoire, Rossi plan gubernatorial debates". Tri-City Herald. Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- Connelly, Joel (2008-08-15). "Rossi to NPR: I won't show". Strange Bedfellows. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- "November 4, 2008 General Election – State Executive". Washington Office of the Secretary of State. 2008-11-12. Archived from the original on 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
- La Corte, Rachel (2008-11-04). "Gregoire claims victory in Washington gov. rematch". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-11-05.[dead link]
- Callaghan, Peter (2008-11-04). "Networks call it for Gregoire. Is it real?". Political Buzz. Tacoma News Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- La Corte, Rachel (2008-11-05). "Republican Rossi concedes Wash governor's race". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-11-05.[dead link]
- Elections from the Washington Secretary of State
- Washington Governor candidates at Project Vote Smart
- Washington Governor race from OurCampaigns.com
- Washington Governor race from 2008 Race Tracker
- Campaign contributions[permanent dead link] from Follow the Money
- Rossi (R) vs Gregoire (D-i) graph of collected poll results from Pollster.com
- Official campaign websites (Archived)