He's among the state's best-known Republican politicians, yet it's been 18 years since he won election to office.
Since then, the former state senator and real-estate investor has lost three hard-fought statewide races: for governor in 2004 and 2008, and
But ahead of the 2018 midterms, Rossi has been promoted as a top recruit by national
Rossi's path through the
In a year dominated by tweets and controversies emanating from the
"I will speak out when I see things that are off, but if you want somebody to go to D.C. to just yell at the president, I'm not your guy. You've got plenty of people to choose from," Rossi said in an interview with The
Like he has before, Rossi, is campaigning as a political moderate with a record of reaching across the aisle to solve problems.
He rose to statewide prominence in 2004 as the
In that controversial election, Rossi was twice declared the winner -- and even set up a transition office -- before the outcome was reversed on a third vote count.
A Republican lawsuit seeking to void the results was rejected by a judge, who ruled that despite irregularities there was no evidence that fraud or intentional misconduct swayed the election.
Gregoire easily defeated Rossi in a 2008 rematch. In 2010, Rossi unsuccessfully challenged Democratic
In 2018, Republican confidence in Rossi is bolstered by his history -- even in those statewide losses -- of winning a majority of support in the
"His brand of politics, of being fiscally conservative with a social conscience, and a bipartisan problem-solver, is exactly what the people of the 8th are looking for," said
State Democratic chair Tina Podlodowski counters she's confident any of the top Democratic candidates can win.
"I don't think that
"Reichert was rightly probably called more of a centrist," Podlodowski said. "Dino is no
Rossi, whom Reichert has endorsed, said he's not focused on divisive social issues. "It's not why I run for office," he said.
If bills come up in the House, Rossi said he'd vote his conscience as a faithful Catholic, opposing taxpayer funding of
"If it comes before me I will vote for life for sure ... I always have," he said, saying money should be shifted to organizations that do not provide abortions.
Rossi supports exceptions to abortion restrictions in cases of incest and rape, or where the life of the mother is at stake. But asked about a bill passed by the Republican-led House banning abortions after 20 weeks, Rossi said he opposed an exception sought by
"Health is anything you want it to be," he said. "Life of the mother is pretty clear."
Rossi supported the
"This is real and tangible," he said. "My opponents, including
Asked about special counsel
"I don't think it needs to be protected. I think you just let it play out. I don't think it is going to get stopped," he said, adding he hopes the investigation will wrap up before the end of the year.
The youngest of seven children, Rossi grew up in
He built a lucrative career, sometimes mingling his political and business worlds.
Rossi points to his business deal-making background as a strong suit, badly needed in
He said that experience gives him some insight into Trump.
"I have dealt with some pretty tough developers in this town over the years. And he is like the toughest one on steroids. He is in-your-face
Rossi said he started out supporting other Republican presidential candidates in 2016, such as
"People are more concerned about taxes ... happy they're employed. They're just living their lives," he said. "That anger is really not something I am feeling out there."
(c)2018 The Seattle Times
Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.