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Inside Politics

Reichert defeats Ross in open seat battle

Washington 8th Congressional District

Millions were spent in advertising in the campaigns of Dave Reichert, above, and Dave Ross.
House: WA 08 Updated: 5:33 p.m. ET
Reichert 51%
Ross 47%
100% precincts reporting
Election Results Main Page

(CNN) -- Republican Dave Reichert defeated Democrat Dave Ross in the fight for the open seat in Washington's 8th District.

CNN projected that Reichert would win the race with 52 percent of the vote to Ross' 46 percent. Libertarian Spencer Garrett received 2 percent of the vote.

The open seat was created when six-term GOP Rep. Jennifer Dunn retired. Dunn won 64 percent of the vote in 2000, but Al Gore narrowly carried the district with 49 percent. The district, which encompasses some of the most affluent areas in the state (it's home to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and founder Jeff Bezos), is the type of place where House Democrats have made inroads in recent years.

Well aware that the seat was up for grabs, the national committees of both parties sent in their big guns to raise money and stump on behalf of former sheriff Reichert and talk-show host Ross.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California appeared with Ross at a news conference in Seattle in late October, and two days later, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri stumped for Reichert at a fund-raiser.

Both parties also spent millions on advertising in the pricey Seattle market. Democrats portrayed Reichert as an ultra-conservative empty suit who mismanaged the state's largest county sheriff's office. To appeal to moderates, they also pointed out that Reichert opposed stem cell research. Meanwhile, Republicans depicted Ross as a tax-and-spend liberal who would empower terrorists by cutting defense spending.

Reichert, a two-term sheriff, touted his experience in homeland security and supported free-trade policies as well as making President Bush's tax cuts permanent.

Ross was highly critical of the war in Iraq and backed an energy policy that would fund cost-effective renewable energy to replace dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

With a dollop of manicured silver hair and a cop's steady bearing, Reichert had a high-profile role in the capture of serial killer Gary Ridgway, the Green River killer. The National Sheriffs' Association gave him the 2004 Sheriff of the Year Award. He joined the sheriff's office in 1972 after graduating from Concordia Lutheran College in Portland.

Ross graduated from Cornell with a degree in English in 1973. He developed a base of supporters with his talk show that started in 1987, and in 1993 he began hosting a daily national commentary, which is carried by 244 CBS affiliates.

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