After former GOP governors passed on campaigns in Wisconsin and New York recently, Rossi is the last big prize on the GOP map.
That’s the GOP’s last big prize? A two-time gubernatorial loser, who just a year and half ago lost a 53-47 race to a governor whose approval rating currently stands at 35 percent? Could the GOP bench be any shallower?
And what does all this courtship of Rossi have to say about the other Republicans already in the race? Assuming Rossi doesn’t run (and that’s long been my assumption), how difficult will it be for party leadership to feign enthusiasm for, say, Don Benton or Clint Didier?
And speaking of party leadership, I can’t help but wonder about Washington State Republican Party Chair Luke Esser’s role in all this. Multiple sources confirm that Esser has encouraged Rossi to run against Sen. Patty Murray, and the fundraising numbers make it clear that he’s withheld state party support from the other candidates. Yet even as Rossi’s dithering makes a Republican victory less likely with each passing day, Esser refuses to swing party support behind a candidate who actually wants the nomination.
Why? Well, Esser is a Rob McKenna protege, and the last thing he and his boss want is a gubernatorial primary battle against Rossi in 2012… a bump in the road that would surely be avoided should Rossi run for senate, win or lose.
Forget Rossi v. Murray. Rossi v. McKenna is what these machinations are really about.