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Republican Dino Rossi celebrates early lead — but Dems are right behind him

Republican Dino Rossi received the most votes in the 8th CD on primary night.

At Republican party headquarters in Bellevue on Tuesday, Republican Dino Rossi said he was celebrating being the top vote-getter in the initial primary results. 

He had received more than twice the votes of either potential opponent, Democrats Kim Schrier and Jason Rittereiser for the hotly contested 8th District race. And he made clear how he intends to portray them in the run up to the general election in November.

Rossi: “No matter which one emerges, it’ll be the most far-left opponent I will have ever had.”

It’s not every day that a Republican candidate quotes from Seattle’s left-leaning newspaper, The Stranger. But Rossi relished the fact that the Stranger called Schrier’s activism a bad fit for the district and endorsed Rittereiser.

Still, Democrats, taken together, received a higher percentage of votes in the district than Rossi did so far. Rossi said he’s a Republican who can work with Democrats and capture some of those votes.

Rossi: “My Democrat supporters call themselves Dino-crats. They say, hey I’m still a Democrat but I like this guy.”

His supporters agree. Jonathan Weaver said Rossi is well-suited to reach out to independent voters in the district.  

Weaver: “A lot of these elections are going to be decided by those voters, the voters that are going to be sitting on the fence. It’s not like it’s a hard-red area.”

No matter which Democrat Rossi faces, they’ll challenge him on how he’ll distinguish his positions from President Donald Trump, on everything from trade to health care.

The Eighth Congressional District extends from King and Piece counties along I-90 and up to Chelan.

Voters have supported Republican Dave Reichert, but also went for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. Now with Reichert’s retirement, Democrats like Issaquah pediatrician Kim Schrier see it as an open seat they are eager to claim.

Schrier:  “Let me just say, I’m feeling really good, and I’m going to sleep really well tonight. And one more thing: Dino better be worried.”

Liz Tickman from Sammamish said she’s supporting Schrier in part because of her medical background.

Tickman: “She looks at everything through a scientific eye and says, okay that’s interesting, let me find the data.”

Tickman says she’s glad Schrier is bringing that perspective to issues like the environment and the economy.

But in initial tallies, Schrier was narrowly ahead of attorney and former prosecutor Jason Rittereiser, who grew up in Ellensburg and held his primary night gathering there.

Rittereiser: “We’ve been outspent in this campaign three to one within the Democratic party and we’re 1,369 votes away from a victory and from taking this thing on with Dino Rossi in November and ultimately on to D.C. So we are excited, we are pumped up, and I think you can tell from the energy in that room, so are our supporters.”

Rittereiser said in a statement he would keep pushing forward until every vote is counted and the results are clear.

Democrats predicted a strong primary night for Rossi since he has good name recognition while the Democrats were not well known. They said heavy spending on campaign ads would begin once the finalists are determined.     

Year started with KUOW: 2005