The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that Christine Gregoire pushed back tears as she took the oath of office as Washington's governor. Gregoire outlined her vision for the state in her inaugural address, "casting herself as the governor for everyone and claiming a mandate to mend fences and build on a centrist agenda:"
"We have work to do," she said. "This is not an easy time to lead."
Tacoma's News Tribune reports that Republicans were unenthusiastic but polite during the inauguration:
Republicans, either by plan or happenstance, were polite if unenthusiastic. Only a handful wore orange ribbons – a symbol borrowed from the Ukranian opposition party that means the wearer supports a revote.
They stood when Gregoire entered the House chambers. They applauded – briefly – as she walked up the aisle. They stood when it was expected, they applauded when it was expected.
Many other times, when Democrats were standing and applauding with all the enthusiasm of a party given a second chance, Republicans sat silently. But no one should have expected them to be happy Wednesday, just civil.
In her inauguration speech, Gregoire offered empathetic words for Rossi.
"My heart goes out to you," Gregoire said to Rossi.
According to the Post Intelligencer, the Republican candidate, who won the first two counts, played the roll of sore loser reminding everyone that Gregoire must battle questions about her legitimacy:
Rossi said concerns about thousands of questionable ballots, improperly cast ballots and disenfranchised voters undermine Gregoire's administration.
I thought Rossi went too far when he said, "Most people believe that Washington does not have a legitimately elected governor." But Spokane's KHQ-TV, via MSNBC, reports that 3 of 5 in Washington State want a new election in the governor's race:
An Exclusive KHQ NewsPoll conducted by Survey USA shows, 62% in the State of Washington say there should be a new election to re-vote on the governor's race.
[. . .]
A re-vote is supported by 76% of Republicans and 64% of Independents. In Eastern Washington 59% of those polled back a re-vote, 61% in the Seattle area back a re-vote.
Democrats oppose a re-vote, but even among Democrats, it is close:45% support holding a new election, 52% say they oppose it.
The survey of 600 adult respondents from Washington State was conducted January 10 and 11, 2005 and has a margin of error of +/- 4%.
Rossi shouldn't say things which have the effect of undermining the legitimacy of Gregoire's governorship. Since the Washington electorate was so evenly split, questions about Gregoire's legitimacy may come back to haunt Rossi should he prevail in the courts.
Both sides have been using legal means trying to sort out this election. So far the Democrats have used the legal system to better effect. Rossi should reserve all comments about Gregoire's legitimacy for his court papers. He should also pledge to support Gregoire, as governor not necessarily her policies, should he lose his legal challenge. To do less will make him appear as much a sore loser as the Democrats who objected to Ohio's electoral vote in Congress.
UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge agrees that Rossi should take high road and accept losing gracefully.
At Trolling In Shallow Water, Kent also posts that Rossi should gracefully accept the loss.