Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Dino Rossi

Dino Rossi (born October 15, 1959) is an American businessperson and politician who most recently served as a member of the Washington State Senate for the 45th district. Rossi was appointed to the seat on an interim basis after the death of incumbent Andy Hill.[1]

Dino Rossi
Dino Rossi Official.jpg
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 45th district
In office
December 5, 2016 – November 29, 2017
Preceded by Andy Hill
Succeeded by Manka Dhingra
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 5th district
In office
July 2012 – November 30, 2012
Preceded by Cheryl Pflug
Succeeded by Mark Mullet
In office
Preceded by Kathleen Drew
Succeeded by Cheryl Pflug
Personal details
Born (1959-10-15) October 15, 1959 (age 58)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Terry Rossi
Children 2 daughters
2 sons
Alma mater Seattle University
Website Official

Rossi is an American commercial real estate executive,[2] perennial candidate, two-time Republican nominee for Governor of Washington, and former Republican candidate for United States Senate. His first run for governor in the 2004 election became the closest gubernatorial race in U.S. history; Rossi was certified as governor-elect and won the first recount before losing a second recount, done by hand, to Democrat Christine Gregoire.[3] He ran for governor again in 2008, losing again to Gregoire.

Rossi next challenged incumbent Democratic Senator Patty Murray in the 2010 U.S. Senate race.[4] Rossi defeated his Republican primary challengers, but lost to Murray in the general election 52% to 47%.[5]

Rossi was selected to fulfill a vacancy in the State Senate's 5th district in 2012 after the resignation of Cheryl Pflug. He was again selected in 2016 to fulfill a vacancy in the 45th district after the death of Andy Hill.[6]


Early life, education, and careerEdit

Rossi was the youngest of seven children brought up by his mother Eve, a beautician of Irish and Tlingit ancestry, and his father John Rossi, an Italian-American Seattle Public Schools teacher at Viewlands Elementary in North Seattle.[7] Rossi was raised in Mountlake Terrace and graduated from Woodway High School in Edmonds. He earned a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Seattle University in 1982.

After college, Rossi began in the commercial real estate business.[2] He became a commercial real estate salesman, managing and owning real estate.[8] Rossi was formerly an owner of the Everett Aquasox minor league baseball team.[9] He is co-founder of the Bellevue, Washington-based Eastside Commercial Bank.[10]

Rossi is married, with four children, and lives in Sammamish, Washington.[11]

Political careerEdit

State Senate tenureEdit

In 1992, Rossi ran for a Washington State Senate seat in a district representing suburbs east of Seattle, Washington in the Cascade foothills. After winning a divisive Republican Party primary, he lost the general election. In 1996, Rossi ran again for the State Senate and was elected.

Rossi served in the Washington State Senate from 1997 until December 2003, when he resigned to spend full-time running for governor.[12] During his time as senator, he gained a reputation for being a political consensus builder with a proven ability to build bipartisan coalitions.[13] When the Senate Republicans gained the majority in 2002, Rossi became chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee that writes the state’s two year operating budget. It was in this position that Rossi was widely credited for closing a $2.7 billion budget deficit without raising taxes.[14] He passed this budget with bipartisan support,[15] gaining praise from members of both parties, including the ranking Democrat on the budget committee. The budget chief for Democratic Governor Gary Locke said of Rossi in 2003, “The really good legislators move from one side to the other really effortlessly, and I think Dino did that.”[13]

Rossi sponsored a number of bills as a state senator prior to his role as chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, including the Two Strikes bill that puts child molesters away for life after a second conviction.[16] In 1998, he sponsored the Mary Johnsen Act,[17] named for a Sammamish resident who was killed by a drunk driver. The bill required ignition interlock devices for certain convicted drunk drivers in the state of Washington. Rossi received the national finalist award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his work. He also sponsored the Dane Rempfer bill[18] which boosted penalties for those who left the scene of a fatal accident, named after a 15-year-old boy from his district who was killed in a hit-and-run. It was his work on the 2003 budget that spurred others to recruit Rossi to run for governor.[19]

2004 gubernatorial campaignEdit

Rossi decided to run in November 2003,[20] but was already facing an uphill battle in terms of money raised, low name identification with voters and trends established by the two prior GOP candidates for governor. The sitting Washington State Attorney General and Rossi’s eventual opponent in the general election, Christine Gregoire, had already raised $1.15 million by December, only weeks after Rossi officially kicked off his campaign.[21] Furthermore, the previous two GOP candidates for governor had lost their campaign bids by 16% and 18.7% in 1996 and 2000.[22]

In the November 2 election, over 2.8 million votes were cast for governor. After the initial vote count, Rossi led Democrat Christine Gregoire by 261 votes.[23] Washington State law required a recount because of the small margin. After the second count, Rossi again led, but by a smaller margin of 42 votes. After a third count, done by hand, Gregoire took a 129-vote lead (expanded to a 133-vote lead after Justice Bridges' decision threw out 4 votes for Rossi).[24]

King County's election department was sued by the Rossi campaign for its handling of ballots, including untracked use of a "ballot-on-demand" printing machine.[25] Even before the election date, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened to sue Washington State for failing to mail military ballots overseas, generally assumed to be Republican votes.[26]

Republican leaders in Washington claimed there were enough disputed votes to change the outcome of the election and sued. On May 25, 2005 the judge hearing the lawsuit ruled that the Party did not provide enough evidence that the disputed votes were ineligible, or for whom they were cast, to enable the court to overturn the election.[27]

Rossi did not appeal to the state Supreme Court;[28] Gregoire was declared governor, by a margin of 133 votes.[24]

Between 2004 and 2008Edit

After the election and the ensuing court battle, Rossi returned to his work in real estate and wrote a book, Dino Rossi: Lessons in Leadership, Business, Politics and Life.[29][30] Along with former Seattle Mariner baseball star Jay Buhner, he also purchased a minority share in the Seattle Mariners' single A minor league baseball team, the Everett Aquasox.[31] Rossi also established Forward Washington Foundation, a 501(c)(4) non-profit lobbying entity dedicated to promoting changes to Washington's small business climate.[32] In 2007, the state Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Washington Public Disclosure Committee (PDC) asserting that the Forward Washington Foundation was too similar to a campaign to be exempt from campaign finance laws.[33] Prior to her party’s formal complaint, Gregoire stated to donors that he was “campaigning aggressively".[34] The PDC dismissed in totality the allegations made by the Washington State Democrats, deeming each accusatory claim as “insufficient” and stating that the organization was indeed acting consistent with its mission statement, making it “a social welfare organization ... and not a political committee”.[35]

2008 gubernatorial campaignEdit

On October 25, 2007, Dino Rossi announced his intention to seek the office of Governor of Washington in 2008. Rossi's campaign was centered on many of the same issues he ran under in the 2004 election, namely controlling the spending of the state's legislature, tax cuts, and improving the business environment within the state.[36]

In 2004, Rossi was listed on the ballot as a Republican. In 2008, his affiliation was listed as "Prefers G.O.P. Party" as he had filed with the Washington Secretary of State.[37][38][39][40][41] Washington law allows candidates to identify their party affiliation or preference in any way they please, provided that it is not profane.[42][43]

Rossi has said pharmacists should not be required to dispense a drug that is against their conscience or religious beliefs when asked about the Plan B oral contraceptive.[44] Following a ruling by the State Supreme Court that an initiative that limited property tax increases to 1% a year was unconstitutional, Rossi urged Governor Gregoire to call a special session of the State's legislature to re-instate the restriction.[45] As of September 2008, the Rossi campaign was reported to have raised $9 million while the Gregoire campaign took in $10 million overall.[46] A poll in early October showed Rossi tied with Governor Gregoire in the race for governor.[47] A later poll by the Elway Group showed Rossi trailing Gov. Gregoire by 12 percent.[48][49][50]

On October 7, a lawsuit was filed against the Building Industry Association of Washington, for allegedly coordinating fundraising activities with Rossi in violation of Washington's public finance laws. Rossi's campaign spokeswoman dismissed the suit as a desperate attempt by Gregoire's supporters to win an election through frivolous legal maneuvering, a claim that was denied by the lawyer that filed the suit.[51] Rossi was endorsed on October 18, 2008 by The Seattle Times.[52]

Dino Rossi was defeated by Governor Christine Gregoire in the 2008 election and formally conceded at noon on November 5, 2008.[53] Her margin of victory was 53.2% to 46.8%.[54]

Between 2008 and 2010Edit

Following his defeat in the 2008 gubernatorial election, Rossi "unplugged from almost everything political" and became a principal at a commercial real estate firm called Coast Equity Partners in Everett, Washington. Rossi's role at the firm is to find investors for income producing properties in Washington and four other Western U.S. states.[55]

2010 U.S. Senate campaignEdit

In early 2010, Washington State Republicans began courting various conservatives to challenge incumbent Senator Patty Murray in a year that was seen by many as a vulnerable year for Democrats. On May 26, 2010, Dino Rossi officially announced his candidacy.[4] In the Republican primary, Rossi defeated Tea Party favorite Clint Didier 33.98% - 11.99%. Rossi went on to lose the general Election on November 4, after two days' worth of ballot counting indicated that he would not have enough votes to defeat Sen. Murray. In the final tally Murray received 1,314,930 votes (52.4%) to Rossi's 1,196,164 (47.6%).[56]

The National Rifle Association spent $414,100 supporting Rossi and opposing Murray in the 2010 senatorial contest.[57]

2012 and 2016 Appointments to the State SenateEdit

On July 11, 2012, Rossi was appointed to fill the term of Senator Cheryl Pflug.[58] Rossi left office in November 2012, when Mark Mullet was sworn in.[59]

After 2012 redistricting and the 2016 death of State Senator Andy Hill, Dino Rossi was appointed to the 45th District State Senate Seat. The Republican party chose him over Kirkland City Councilman Toby Nixon and Joel Hussey from the King County Council.[60] The seat was taken by Democrat Manka Dhingra in the November 7, 2017 election.[61]

2018 U.S. House campaignEdit

On September 19, 2017, Rossi announced that he would run for Congress in the 8th Congressional District.[62] The seat is currently held by Dave Reichert, who had decided not to run for reelection.[63]

Electoral historyEdit

September 1992 State Senator District #5 Primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kathleen Drew 8,598 36.21
Republican Dino J. Rossi 6,563 24.64
Republican Dick Welsh 3,215 13.54
Republican Bob Brady 2,788 11.74
Republican Gwenn Escher 2,581 10.87
November 1992 State Senator District #5 General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kathleen Drew 26,042 52.10
Republican Dino J. Rossi 23,942 47.90
September 1996 State Senator District #5 Primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kathleen Drew 10,331 40.16
Republican Dino J. Rossi 8,291 32.33
Republican Dave Irons 7,100 27.60
November 1996 State Senator District #5 General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dino Rossi 28,286 53.20
Democratic Kathleen Drew 24,882 46.80
September 2000 State Senator District #5 Primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dino Rossi 20,318 77.93
Democratic Azziem Hassan Underwood 5,754 22.07
November 2000 State Senator District #5 General
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dino Rossi 40,460 69.58
Democratic Azziem Hassan Underwood 17,686 30.42
2004 Washington state gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Christine Gregoire 1,373,361 48.8730
Republican Dino Rossi 1,373,232 48.8717
2008 Washington state gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Christine Gregoire 1,598,738 53.24
Republican Dino Rossi 1,404,124 46.76
2010 U.S. Senate Primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Patty Murray (Incumbent) 433,211 46.04
Republican Dino Rossi 319,708 33.98
Republican Clint Didier 112,774 11.99
Republican Paul Akers 23,889 2.54
N/A Others 49,292 5.46
2010 U.S. Senate General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Patty Murray 1,314,930 52.36
Republican Dino Rossi 1,196,164 47.64


  1. ^ Brian Rosenthal (2012-07-09). "Rossi named to serve 5 months in State Senate". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. 
  2. ^ a b Galloway, Angela (2004-10-27). "Rossi hopes his American Dream takes him further". Seattle Post Intelligencer. Retrieved October 28, 2004. 
  3. ^ Jaime Holguin (2005-06-06). "Wash. Governor's 2004 Win Stands". CBS News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2005-06-06. 
  4. ^ a b Josh Feit (2010-05-26). "Dino Rossi Announces Candidacy for U.S. Senate". Archived from the original on 2010-06-22. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  5. ^ "2010 Election Results". Archived from the original on 2010-11-03. 
  6. ^ Gutman, David (December 5, 2016). "Dino Rossi chosen to fill vacant 45th District state Senate seat". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 5, 2016. 
  7. ^ Ralph Thomas (2004-09-28). "Family's struggles early in life forged Rossi's political identity". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  8. ^ Galloway, Angela (2004-09-28). "Campaign 2004: Rossi clarifies professional status". Seattle Post Intelligencer. Retrieved July 18, 2008. 
  9. ^ "It Turns Out Rossi Has a History of Piling Up Earmarks Too". Publicola News. 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Rossi linked to troubled commercial bank". Politico. 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Election 2004 voters guide". Spokane Spokesman Review. 2004. Retrieved October 29, 2006. 
  12. ^ Paul Queary (December 6, 2003). "Rossi quits Senate for governor's race". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. Retrieved December 6, 2003. 
  13. ^ a b Ralph Thomas (May 12, 2003). "Budget writer thrives in legislative hothouse". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 12, 2003. 
  14. ^ James Harwood (March 31, 2004). "Presidential Politics Overshadow Rise of State Level Stars". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 31, 2004. 
  15. ^ David Ammons (April 3, 2003). "Senate GOP pushes budget through without new taxes". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. Retrieved April 3, 2003. 
  16. ^ "Senate Bill 5509". 1997 Legislative Session.  Check date values in: |date= (help);
  17. ^ James Vesley (December 29, 1997). "Take A Deep Breath Now, And Try To Start Your Car". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 29, 1997.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. ^ Jim Brunner (March 31, 2000). "Crime laws bear names of young victims". The Seattle Times. Retrieved March 31, 2000.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  19. ^ Ralph Thomas (November 4, 2003). "GOP finds candidate for governor: Dino Rossi". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 4, 2003. 
  20. ^ KOMO Staff & News Services (November 3, 2003). "State Senator Dino Rossi To Run For Governor". KOMO News. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  21. ^ Brad Shannon (December 16, 2003). "Gregoire leads money race". The Olympian. Retrieved December 16, 2003. 
  22. ^ "Washington State General Election Results, 1996, 2000". Office of Washington State Secretary of State. 
  23. ^ Seattle Times staff (November 18, 2004). "It's Rossi by 261; recount is next". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on March 23, 2006. Retrieved June 23, 2006. 
  24. ^ a b Thomas, Ralph (2008-07-27). "Governor's Race | Dino Rossi's four years of political exile | Seattle Times Newspaper". Archived from the original on 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  25. ^ Seattle Times staff (April 26, 2005). "More mistakes revealed in ballot counting". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 8, 2007. 
  26. ^ Seattle Times staff (January 10, 2005). "Feds threatened suit over military ballots". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 8, 2007. 
  27. ^ Postman, David (June 6, 2005). "Rossi will not appeal election ruling". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved June 23, 2006. 
  28. ^ "Rossi won't take fight any further: Future could hold challenge". Associated Press. 2005-06-07. Retrieved 2008-08-07. [permanent dead link]
  29. ^ David Ammons (2005-10-05). "In between campaigns, Rossi turns writer". KGW. Archived from the original on February 23, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  30. ^ Ralph Thomas (2008-09-18). "Dino Rossi's four years of political exile". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  31. ^ Greg Bell (2007-04-09). "Buhner, Rossi buy into Aquasox". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  32. ^ Steven Gardner (2007-05-10). "Rossi Stumps in Kitsap – for Budget Responsibility". The Kitsap Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  33. ^ David Ammons (2007-06-26). "Democrats Submit Complaint Over Rossi's Foundation". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  34. ^ Joel Connelly (2006-07-26). "Dino Rossi Circles over Gregoire's head". The Seattle P-I. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  35. ^ "Draft letter to Dwight Pelz, Chair of the Washington State Democrats" (PDF). Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. 2007-11-28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  36. ^ Joel Connelly (2007-10-28). "Gregoire's rematch with Rossi shapes up as a doozy". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  37. ^ "2008 General Candidates Who Have Filed". Washington State Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  38. ^ David Postman (2008-06-11). "GOP: New brand, same old style". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  39. ^ Curt Woodward (2008-08-21). "Wash. Republican gov candidate to skip convention". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-08-24. [dead link]
  40. ^ David Postman (2008-06-23). "FOX News on Republicans shying away from party brand". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  41. ^ John Laird (2008-08-17). "Independents are loving 2008". The Columbian. Retrieved 2008-08-24. [dead link]
  42. ^ "RCW 29A.32.032 Party preference". Washington State Legislature. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  43. ^ "Judge: 'GOP' for short is fine on Wash. ballot". Seattle Times. 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2008-10-08. [dead link]
  44. ^ David Postman (2007-11-16). "Rossi backs druggists' choice on Plan B". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2007-11-18. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  45. ^ David Ammons (2007-11-20). "WA gov: Quickie 747 session won't be '3-ring circus'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on November 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  46. ^ Joel Connelly (2008-09-30). "Gregoire tops $10 million". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  47. ^ Joel Connelly (2008-10-03). "Wash gov. poll: Chris and Dino tied". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  48. ^ Chris Grygiel (2008-10-23). "Washington state pollapalooze". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  49. ^ Chris Gygiel (2008-10-23). "Poll:Gregoire leads Rossi 51-39". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  50. ^ Joel Connelly (2008-10-23). "Gregoire Up in Elway Poll". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  51. ^ McGann, Chris (2008-10-07). "Lawsuit targets Rossi's relationship with builders". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  52. ^ "The Times recommends Dino Rossi for governor". The Seattle Times. 2008-10-18. Archived from the original on 2008-10-18. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  53. ^ Andrew Garber (2008-11-05). "Rossi concedes defeat to Gregoire". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  54. ^ Oldham, Kit (2009-01-21). "". Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  55. ^ "Dino Rossi, 2-time gubernatorial candidate, has a new job". The Seattle Times. May 3, 2009. Archived from the original on May 5, 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  56. ^ "United States Senate election in Washington, 2010". Wikipedia. 2017-12-15. 
  57. ^ "Campaign cash: National Rifle Association (". Retrieved 2018-02-16. 
  58. ^ Dino Rossi appointed to be state senator again
  59. ^ Kagarise, Warren. "Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet joins state Senate". Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  60. ^ Gutman, David. "Dino Rossi chosen to fill vacant 45th District state Senate seat". The Seattle Times. 
  61. ^ [ Manka Dhingra leading Jinyoung Englund in pivotal 45th District Senate race], Seattle Times, Joseph O’Sullivan, November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  62. ^ Brunner, Jim. "State Sen. Dino Rossi says he's running for 8th District seat vacated by Reichert". The Seattle Times. 
  63. ^ Brunner, Jim. "U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert's retirement plans put his 8th district seat up for grabs". The Seattle Times. 

External linksEdit