Thursday, December 02, 2004

Kerry Backs Christine Gregoire's Recount Effort

Kerry backs recount effort


OLYMPIA -- Former presidential candidate John Kerry contributed at least $200,000 of unused campaign contributions yesterday to help fellow Democrat Christine Gregoire keep the governor's race alive and pay for a statewide hand recount.

"John Kerry really came to our rescue," said state Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt. "But our ability to pay for a statewide recount is still subject to money which is not in. ... We are working to move heaven and earth to get all of the money we need."

Even with Kerry's substantial donation, Gregoire and the Democrats had not yet raised the $700,000 down payment they need by 5 p.m. tomorrow to launch the new count.

Republican Gov.-elect Dino Rossi won the election after a mandatory recount of 2.8 million ballots by just 42 votes.

Democrats are scrambling to meet the looming deadline so they can request that all the ballots cast in the November election be counted a third time, a proposition that could turn defeat to victory for Gregoire.

With requests for money still out to contributors such as the Democratic National Committee, the state party believes it will have enough for the down payment for the statewide manual count.

But Berendt said that having the upfront deposit is no guarantee the party can afford the ultimate total cost of the manual recount, which he pegged at about $1.5 million.

Republicans have accused Democrats of moaning about money as a way of putting a positive spin on a likely request for a partial hand recount targeting areas where they expect to pick up votes.

Berendt said he would call for a partial recount only if the party could not afford the full statewide tally.

Berendt said that as of last night Democrats had $500,000 on hand. That includes Kerry's contribution, which Berendt said was $250,000. Other sources, including Kerry's spokesman, said the donation was $200,000.



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