Dino Rossi (R)
Christine Gregoire (D)
OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)-The Washington state Democratic Party has sued a gubernatorial candidate to force him to list his party preference as Republican rather than "GOP Party."
Democrats charge that candidate Dino Rossi is trying to distance himself from the Republican Party by using GOP has his party affiliation.
He is challenging Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire. Rossi lost to Gregoire by 133 votes in the 2004 election.
This year, the race too could be close, a poll indicates. A recent poll found that Gregoire had a 10-point lead over Rossi but just a 4-point advantage when Rossi was listed as GOP rather than Republican.
The lawsuit was filed in King County Superior Court. The complaint names Secretary of State Sam Reed as the defendant, meaning that state Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, would be called to defend Reed as the state's chief legal officer.
The lawsuit argues that allowing Rossi "to obscure his true party preference and affiliation directly violates the law, would mislead a substantial portion of the voting public and would breed cynicism and mistrust in our public institutions and, indeed, in our electoral process."
Under Washington's new top two primary system, Rossi was allowed to pick how he wanted to be identified on the statewide ballot. Rossi's campaign called the lawsuit "an act of a desperate incumbent."
Democrats are seeking a restraining order that would prevent ballot printing until the court makes a decision on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks also to force the secretary of state to "distribute an amended certified list of gubernatorial candidates that, in accordance with the law, accurately identifies Rossi's party preference as the Washington State Republican Party."
From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at firstname.lastname@example.org.