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Wash. State GOP Pays $15K to Democrats

June 28, 2005

SEATTLE (AP) _ The Washington state Republican Party paid Democrats $15,000 to cover court costs in the GOP’s unsuccessful challenge to the election of Gov. Christine O. Gregoire.

Officials said the check was cut Friday as Chelan County Superior Court Judge E. Bridges signed a final order to dismiss the Republican challenge, affirming a ruling he issued June 6 that upheld the election results.

Democrats had asked the judge to award nearly $48,000 in court costs for defending the election challenge and said they spent nearly $3.5 million in overall legal costs. But the two sides reached a settlement requiring the GOP to pay just $15,000.

``It’s a business decision,″ state GOP chairman Chris Vance said. ``If we had gone to court and fought over it, our lawyers said we might win or we might lose. Everybody who’s ever been sued faces that question: Do you want to take the risk or settle?″

Gregoire, a Democrat, won by 129 votes in a hand recount after Republican Dino Rossi finished ahead in the initial tally and again in a machine recount. Rossi and party officials have said they will not appeal Bridges’ decision upholding Gregoire’s election.

``It’s nice to have one final document because that is likely to be the last word on election contests and the standards for governing election contests for a long time,″ said Kevin Hamilton, a Democratic Party lawyer.

Hamilton confirmed Monday that a settlement had been negotiated on court costs and that the check had been delivered.

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