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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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October 10, 2007 10:50 AM

Demos on attack against would-be candidate Rossi

Posted by David Postman

State Democrats aren't waiting for Republican Dino Rossi to announce for governor. The party is hitting him hard, now in a new Web site that calls him a liar and calls the non-profit group he founded "sleazy."

The party has filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission alleging that a non-profit Rossi headed, Forward Washington Foundation, was an illegal front for a campaign. That's the thrust of the new site, SleazyRossiFrontGroup.com.

There's nothing subtle about the attacks that use the sort of language you'll never hear Gov. Christine Gregoire say herself about Rossi. The site has the blurry photos and scary typefaces of classic negative campaign ads. But that's what political parties are for. Gregoire can maintain she is staying above partisan politics by waiting to make a formal re-election announcement.

Democrats are trying to avoid a mistake they made in 2004. After Gregoire's record-thin margin of victory over Rossi, some party officials said they hadn't hit Rossi hard enough. Sen. Patty Murray, who skated to an easy re-election that year, had taken a much more aggressive stance against her Republican opponent, Rep. George Nethercutt. Even a key Rossi advisor said after the election the Republican's campaign was surprised he didn't get hit harder.

Democrats are trying to make up for that now.

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