Lee Rousso, the Washington state director of the Poker Players Alliance, a group that is trying its best to preserve the rights of poker players, has announce that he has dropped out of the Washington governor’s race. Rousso is an attorney who announced his candidacy in January, stating that his sole goal was to get rid of Wasington’s law banning online poker, a law which received support from Washington’s current governor, Chris Gregoire.
Rousso was a self-admitted long shot to win the governor’s race. Rousso was planning to challenge Gregoire for the spot on the Democratic ticket, hoping that he could attract enough disgruntled Republican voters to allow him to overcome the incumbent, as in Washington state voters can cast their vote for any candidate in the primaries, Republican, Democrat, or other.
Rousso dropped out of the race following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that made changes to Washington’s election laws. The election law has changed so that the top two vote getters will advance to the general election. This means that two Democrats could advance or two Republicans could advance. This made Rousso’s task more difficult, as it forces the Republican voters whom Rousso was courting to cast their votes for Republican candidates. Acknowledging the futility of his campaign, Rousso withdrew from the governor’s race.
Withdrawing was made more palatable for Rousso by the fact that his legal challenge of the law banning online poker is making progress. Rousso is arguing that the law is unconstitutional and went before a judge for a preliminary hearing on Friday. If the judge rules that the case has merit Rousso will be given an opportunity to fight in court the law that he is so adamantly opposing. Rousso’s sole political goal was to remove the law, and as he said, “Obviously, if I get this law changed, there wouldn’t be an incentive for me to get into politics.”
Poker players in Washington state must now hope that Rousso can win his court challenge against the online poker ban that makes playing online poker a class C felony.