WA Sen: Patty Murray Holds Lead in Tight Senate Race; Rossi Likely Other "Top Two"

Recruiting Dino Rossi to challenge incumbent Sen. Patty Murray was a big pick-up for the Republican Party. He has managed to make Washington state’s Senate race competitive, according to a new PPP poll (PDF).

PPP (PDF) (7/27-8/1)
Patty Murray 49
Dino Rossi 46
Undecided 5

Washington is a very blue state, but these numbers indicate that Rossi has a legitimate chance of winning. Even if he doesn't win, forcing Democrats to spend resources in a state like Washington to defend a sitting Senator will still have value for the GOP. It also allows Republicans to claim, somewhat credibly, that they might take back the Senate. With Washington state now seriously contested, Republicans are reaching the necessary total of semi-competitive candidates.

The good news for Murray is that Rossi is pretty much a known quantity from his two previous unsuccessful statewide campaigns. While Rossi is currently only a few points behind, he likely has much less room to grow than most challengers would at this point.

For Rossi and Murray to face each other, they also need to be the top-two vote getters in the primary. In Washington’s system, all candidates of all parties appear on the same ballot, and the top two, regardless of party, are the only ones to make it to the ballot in the general. PPP polled the primary and found Rossi and Murray with huge leads.

PPP (PDF) (7/27-8/1)
Paul Akers (R) 4
Clint Didier (R) 10
Patty Murray (D) 47
Dino Rossi (R) 33
Other candidates 1
Not sure 6

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