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Rossi announces Senate run
What has been the worst kept secret in politics was confirmed Wednesday morning with Sammamish's Dino Rossi announcing he would challenge Patty Murray for her U.S. Senate seat when she seeks reelection in November.
Rossi formally announced his candidacy via a video on his web site, the former Washington Senator and twice unsuccesful candidate for Governor of Washington saying "the government seems completely out of touch."
The Republican blamed the current administration for the current state of the economy, unemployment figures, and the national debt, and pledged to "get government back to its more limited role."
Chairman of the state Democrats, Dwight Pelz, responded to the announcement by claiming Rossi would offer little more than the typical Republican line.
"We must presume that Rossi promised national Republicans his full support for their special interest agenda," he said in a statement. "But what does Dino Rossi have to offer the people of Washington? The answer is not much."
According to a number of media sources, Rossi has hired key campaign staffers, including Pat Shortridge, the senior strategist for Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio.
In an interview with The Reporter in March, which was picked up by news agencies across the nation, Rossi declined to elaborate on the possibility of him entering the Senate race, or his current political motives for doing so.
But, he said, should he chose to run, he was confident of raising the necessary money and support.
"It's enough time from the standpoint that I've already got a lot of name recognition and know how to do this," he said. "That's not going to be an issue. I could set up a statewide campaign in about a week, if necessary. When I ran for governor the last time, we had 55,000 individual contributors in 2008 — which I think is a state record."
Hypothetical polls have pitted Rossi against Murray for the past three months, and indicate that Rossi would give the incumbent a run for her money.
Rossi will also have to face the challenge of former NFL player Clint Didier, who was recently endorsed by Sarah Palin.