The Metropolitan King County Council unanimously appointed former state Senator Dino Rossi to the vacant Washington State Senate seat in the 5th Legislative District today. The vacancy follows the resignation of Senator Cheryl Pflug.
to take a state position earlier, leaving Democrat Mark Mullet and Republican Brad Toft in the field to vie for her seat, and , which many saw as a calculated move.
Though Rossi's name has been floated for some time to fill the vacancy, he has said he has no interest in running, nor could he run for the seat, due to redistricting.
Earlier, Rossi told the News Tribune that he was willing to fill the vacancy, but did not seek it.
“I told them, if you need me to do it, I’ll do it,” Rossi told the News Tribune. “It’s not something I’m seeking.”
He is not eligible to run for the seat this fall, as redistricting leaves him in the 45th District. Rossi is Washington state co-chair for Republican Mitt Romney's presidential bid.
Following is King County's press release on the appointment of Rossi:
“Dino’s familiarity with the issues and concerns of the 5th District will serve the residents well,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert of Redmond. “It is fortunate that the former state senator is able to return to his seat in this caretaker capacity. The citizens of the 5th District know and respect Dino, and they will continue having an experienced leader to represent them with any problems they face.”
“There is no better friend or representative to the constituents of the 5th Legislative District than Dino Rossi,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “Dino has the experience having served in the Senate previously and will ensure the interests of the 5th district are well served through November.”
Lambert and Dunn represent portions of the 5th Legislative District on the County Council.
Per the State Constitution, precinct committee officers nominate and submit three names to the Council in the event of a vacancy. The Republican precinct committee officers of the 5th District submitted Rossi’s name as the preferred candidate, along with the names of Robert Brunjes, Sr. and Kathryn Kalunzy. Councilmembers interviewed all three candidates at today’s meeting of the Committee of the Whole.
“We are honored to have someone of the stature and experience of Dino Rossi to serve the citizens of the district in the high priority area of constituent services,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, chair of the Council’s Committee of the Whole.
Rossi served in the Washington State Senate from 1997 to 2003. After running for Governor in 2004 and 2008 and the U.S. Senate in 2010, Rossi has returned to the private sector, joining the Coast Equity Partners real estate firm. Rossi will serve in a caretaker capacity, serving during the interim and until the November general election. Once the election is certified by the state, the candidate elected by the voters of the district will take Rossi’s place in the State Senate.
“I’m very humbled for the opportunity to be able to serve the citizens of the 5th Legislative District once again,” said Rossi. “During the next four months, if any constituent needs assistance involving the state of Washington, please contact my office.” Senator Rossi will be sworn-in tomorrow (July 10) in Olympia inside the Senate Chambers. The ceremony will begin at 1:00 p.m.