Twice-defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi will face Democratic Sen. Patty Murray in a November contest that could prove critical to GOP chances of winning a Senate majority.
Murray finished first in Washington stateâ€™s unique top-two primary, capturing 46 percent of the vote with 60 percent of precincts reporting. Rossi came in second with 34 percent, enough to advance to the general election as the GOP nominee.
Former NFL tight end Clint Didier finished a distant third with 12 percent despite tea party support and an endorsement from Sarah Palin.
Under Washingtonâ€™s top-two primary format, voters may cast ballots for any candidate and the top two candidates face off in November. The unique system functions as an informal poll for candidates and serves as a barometer on their campaigns and the level of voter enthusiasm.
Republicans sought to frame the results as a sign of Murrayâ€™s weakness in November, when the GOP will need to pick off several Democratic incumbents from blue states like Washington if the party expects to win control of the Senate.
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