On Wednesday, David Postman of The Seattle Times reported on the considerable resources the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) has invested into putting Dino Rossi in the governor’s mansion [Governor's race over, but the fighting isn't.]
The BIAW’s Tom McCabe brags that he spent $750,000 on Rossi before the election, and God knows how much in the couple months since. A “Governor Rossi” would surely be grateful:
“There are a number of organizations that have been helpful, but as far as the money and staff resources spent, I don’t think there is one that has been more active than BIAW,” said Afton Swift, Rossi’s campaign manager.
Now that’s an understatement.
Rossi was the BIAW candidate at least as much as he was the GOP’s, and in the unlikely event he manages to get this election set aside, he’ll know who to thank. The BIAW has hired lawyers and handwriting experts, and has its entire staff of 30 employees sifting through election records and running the “re-vote” PR campaign. Their operations dwarf that of either of the official parties, and their partisan zeal is unmatched. And oh yeah… they are total bastards.
Ironically, the strongest testimony to the integrity of Washington’s elections is the relative dearth of dirt the BIAW has uncovered for all its expense of blood and treasure. Scouring the voter rolls for dead people and felons, the BIAW has generated more smoke than fire. In Pierce County, The Seattle Times managed to quickly rule out all but 19 of the 52 voting felons the BIAW originally claimed — and confirmed only two. And of the handful of votes from beyond the grave discovered statewide, two are known to have voted for Rossi.
And then there were the public hints the BIAW kept dropping that they had evidence of forged signatures on a number of the affidavits Democrats gathered during the first count… only later to describe it as potential signature fraud… and eventually just questions about signatures… before finally, well… I haven’t heard much about this “scandal” lately, have you?
All this might be evidence enough for the BIAW’s fans on the right-wing blogs, so tickled by happy dreams of putting Democrats behind bars that they’ve lost the ability to distinguish fact from fantasy. But Supreme Court decisions tend to be more reality based, and the reality is, these builders haven’t built much of a case.
The BIAW’s best chance of installing their hand-picked governor, was to bully a Democratic senator or two into breaking ranks during the procedural vote on certification. But having failed that, I still don’t expect them to give up their jihad any time soon. They hate government, despise Gregoire, and genuinely seem to relish playing the role of Republican-Party-by-proxy. (And did I mention the fact that they are total bastards?)
This take-no-prisoners approach has its risks… at least for Rossi. If the legal evidence doesn’t match the hype, voters will eventually grow weary of this election, turning some of their anger back onto the accusers, and potentially shredding the political career of the BIAW’s gubernatorial sock-puppet.
No biggie. Come 2008, they’ll just shove their fists inside another sock.