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Online Poker Players Watch Washington State Governor Race Closely

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Nov/04/2008
Online Poker

Will she stay or will she go?  The Washington State Governor race is close as Democrat Chris Gregoire is facing a stiff challenge from Dino Rossi, a former state senator.  The two restaged their 2004 contest that Gregoire won by 133 votes after two recounts and a lawsuit.

It was unclear how many Washington State residents would come out in full force to vote for Rossi, whose stance related to online poker is unknown.  But what is known is that Gregoire became the first state governor to pass legislation making it a Class C felony to play poker on the Web.   The punishment:  Equivalent to that of a child molester and repeat drunk driver. 

Rossi is billing himself as the "Anti-Bush" and doing so with some degree of success in a state that has regularly voted Democrat.

Gregoire, a former state attorney general, won the 2004 contest by the closest percentage margin of any governor's race in U.S. history - just 133 votes out of about 2.8 million cast.

She got that slim margin only after two recounts, and the victory wasn't even final until the following summer, when Republicans lost a courtroom challenge.

Over her reign, Gregoire has taken away residents freedoms on the Net that are enjoyed by those living in all the other 49 states in the US including Utah.  Her approval rating was around 48 percent this past summer.

Voters have been casting their votes since mid-October, and while early results will start trickling in on Tuesday night, the final determination of who has won this long, drawn-out battle likely won't be known for days, if not longer.

"If it ends up being a cliffhanger again, the ghost of '04 comes back and the Republicans will fight harder and not concede as easily," said Cornell Clayton, professor of political science at Washington State University.

The race is so close that any strong showing by the poker community should all but assure a Rossi victory.  It was not known how many Poker Players Alliance members lived in the state.  The PPA claims over one million members to date. 

For Democrats, "losing the governor's race, the stakes here are just enormous," Chris Vance, a Republican political consultant and former state party chairman who supports Rossi, told the Seattle Post Silencer.  "In terms of Washington state politics, it just does not get bigger than this."

Rossi and Gregoire have raised more than $20 million combined in the most expensive election in Washington history. That amount doesn't include the millions spent by third-party groups on TV ads and mailers, most of them negative in tone.

The state economy, along with a projected $3.2 billion deficit, and the issue of taxes has dominated the race, with both candidates hammering on those issues in ads and five debates.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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