By Joseph Weber-The Washington Times
With the U.S. Senate race in Washington state officially a two-person contest, Republican Dino Rossi and incumbent Democrat Patty Murray are looking to woo supporters of the losing candidates from Tuesday’s primary who appear key to winning the general election in November.
The biggest voting bloc available is the roughly 15 percent of largely independents and “tea party” supporters who either voted for businessman Paul Akers or Sarah Palin-endorsed Clint Didier.
Mrs. Murray, a three-term incumbent, received 46 percent of the vote Tuesday with Mr. Rossi garnering 34 percent – numbers that matched most predictions in a primary that advances the top two vote-getters regardless of political party.
Mrs. Murray, 59, faces the obstacle of a Democratic incumbent trying to win the independent vote, which this election cycle appears to be with the GOP. Meanwhile Mr. Rossi, 50, faces his own challenge in being a candidate hand-picked by Washington Republicans.
Mr. Didier said after the primary that he wanted to talk face-to-face with Mr. Rossi before endorsing him.
On Wednesday he told supporters: “Votes aren’t just an automatic ‘gimme’ because of the letter next to a candidate’s name. … You need to see some fire in the belly and some real conviction to get your votes.”
A Rossi campaign staffer said Mr. Akers already has spoken to Mr. Rossi, who twice lost in a Washington gubernatorial race, and has given his full support.
She did not give specifics about winning over grass-roots voters, but said Tuesday’s results show 54 percent of voters “don’t want Ms. Murray in Congress any longer.”
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