Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball
Export date: Thu Aug 16 13:33:41 2018 / +0000 GMT

Recount Blues in the Evergreen State?

As you know, we hate to boast, but the Crystal Ball was, to our knowledge, the only established, national political source to predict that Republican Dino Rossi would defeat Democrat Christine Gregoire in the Washington State governor's race. (If we ar e wrong, let us know and we will correct this.) As all of our political aficionados know by now, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed has just certified Rossi as the Governor-Elect, by a grand total of 42 votes out of 2.8 mi llion cast. Of course, it is not over until it is over, and the Democrats may ask for yet another recount by Friday, though that is a potentially costly route for them. It may well be that this unbelievably close result can be reversed in suc h a recount, which would eventually go statewide, should the first selective recount actually reverse the outcome.

Be that as it may, we thought that our fellow political junkies might like to know that this is the closest gubernatorial contest in modern times--but is not the record:

  • The tightest governor's race in American history occurred in 1839 when Marcus Morton (D-MA) was elected by a single vote in the official canvass.
  • The closest Senate race was in New Hampshire, 1974, when Democrat John Durkin and Republican Louis Wyman fought to a virtual draw. One count had one of the candidates ahead by 2 votes, another by 10 votes, and it was appealed to the U. S. Senate. Th e Senate could not decide a race so close, and it was sent back to NH for a special election in September 1975. By then the Watergate scandal had run its course, and President Gerald Ford had pardoned former president Richard Nixon, which contributed to Democrat Durkin winning by a large margin. He served only this partial term and was defeated in the Reagan landslide of 1980.
  • The only modern gubernatorial contest to approach Washington '04, was Minnesota in 1962, when incumbent Republican Elmer Andersen was thought to have won a second term in a squeaker and took the oath of office in January 1963. However, a handful of d isputed ballots went to the Minnesota State Supreme Court which, two months later, installed Democrat Karl Rolvaag by 91 votes out of almost a million and a quarter cast. Governor Anderson had to vacate his governorship three months into his new term! ( Anderson just reemerged for the first time in many years to endorse John Kerry for president in October.)
  • At least the Minnesota election was resolved without violence. In 1872, a small-scale civil war was waged for months in Arkansas between two candidates who both claimed to have won the governorship.
  • Finally, in 1900 a very close Kentucky election that had apparently been won by the Democrat resulted in the Democratic Governor-Elect's assassination on the steps of the state capitol.

We hope there is NO violence in Washington this year and next, but along with all of you we await the final, final, final outcome of this freakishly close contest. Our best to you, our readers, for the holiday season.

-Larry Sabato and the Crystal Ball Staff

Post date: 2004-11-30 00:00:00
Post date GMT: 1970-01-01 04:59:59

Export date: Thu Aug 16 13:33:41 2018 / +0000 GMT
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