The Metropolitan King County Council selected Dino Rossi, a three-time Republican nominee for statewide office, to fill the 45th District Senate seat left open by the death of former Sen. Andy Hill.
Dino Rossi, the former state senator and three-time candidate for statewide office, is returning to the Senate.
The Metropolitan King County Council chose Rossi on Monday to fill the 45th District Senate seat that was left vacant when Sen. Andy Hill died in October. Rossi, who has twice been the Republican candidate for governor, and once for U.S. senator, said he would be willing to fill Hill’s seat for a year but will not campaign for re-election.
“I have zero intention of running for this office,” Rossi told the County Council on Monday.
The 45th District covers Kirkland, Sammamish, Woodinville and Duvall.
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The council selected Rossi from among three candidates nominated by the King County Republican Central Committee to replace Hill. Rossi was the first choice of county Republicans, followed by Toby Nixon, a Kirkland City Council member and former state representative, and Joel Hussey, a Redmond aerospace executive.
Rossi was the first choice of 46 members of the Republican Central Committee, while Nixon got just one first place vote and Hussey got none.
Nixon, in speaking before the council Monday, endorsed Rossi for the Senate seat.
Rossi was sworn into the Senate immediately after the County Council voted to select him.
He will serve in the Senate through the end of next year. A special election to fill the seat will be held in 2017.
Rossi previously served in the state Senate from 1997 through 2003, when he chaired the Ways and Means Committee, helping to write the state budget.
Budget issues will dominate next year’s legislative session, as lawmakers attempt to come up with billions of dollars in new public education funding to satisfy the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.
Rossi said helping the current budget writers with this year’s budget was a big motivation for him in accepting the seat.
“It’s the same issues, just bigger numbers,” he said. “It’s not just one decision, it’s thousands of decisions stacked on top of each other and my goal is to help the chairman sort through that.”
He lost the 2004 gubernatorial election to Chris Gregoire, in the closest race in state history, and lost again to Gregoire in 2008. He lost to Sen. Patty Murray in the 2010 race for U.S. Senate.
This will be his second temporary stint in the Senate. He served for five months in 2012, after the resignation of Sen. Cheryl Pflug, in the 5th Legislative District.
Republicans control the state Senate with a narrow, 25-24 functional majority. The Metropolitan King County Council is not done filling Senate seats. It will soon pick a Democratic replacement to fill the 37th District seat of Sen. Pramila Jayapal, who was elected to the U.S. House.