Northwest Democrats defend recount

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Vice President Al Gore was right to insist on a ballot recount in Florida, Northwest Democrats said Friday — although he didn’t actually have a say in the matter.

"Gore didn’t ask Florida to do the recount; they did it under a state law that requires them to do it when the vote is that close," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. "Waiting for a week for the recounts of these (ballots) isn’t going to change the democracy."

The Washington state senator said any candidate in the same situation as Gore would support a recount. The loser of the Washington state Senate race — whether it is Republican Slade Gorton or Democrat Maria Cantwell — will likely seek a recount as well, Murray said.

Murray said she is "reserving judgment" until after the recount on whether Gore should support having the Florida election issue thrown into the courts.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said Gore — like Republican nominee George W. Bush — should remain low-key and "above the fray" until the recount in Florida is complete.

"I would like to see this not become an adversarial process that creates doubts, that creates concerns," DeFazio said. "We should be done with the politics — now we’ve got to follow the law."

He added that if the matter is decided the courts, he hopes it is resolved quickly.

"Whoever is going to sit in the Oval Office is going to need time to prepare," DeFazio said.

Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said Gore has no choice but to wait for the recount and to allow Floridians to have their day in court over their state’s election ballots — if that is what they want to do.

"This isn’t really about Gore or Bush," Dicks said. "All this stuff about Gore should throw in the towel — he can’t throw in the towel, you cannot concede an election."

Dicks said Republicans can take solace in the fact that if neither man gets the electoral votes needed to win the presidency, the decision would be made by the GOP-controlled House.

"My advice to everyone is that the political campaigns should stay out of this," Dicks said. "This is a legal matter, it has to be resolved by the people of Florida in their court system, under their law."

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