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March 31, 2010 at 4:36 PM

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Team Dino and the 2010 Senate race

Posted by Joni Balter

Politics makes strange bedfellows, says one of the oldest cliches in the business, but the Oregonian caught my eye with a story this week about a fundraiser held by longtime Republican staffer Tony Williams on behalf of Sen. Patty Murray.

Wait, say that again. Tony Williams, chief of staff to Republican Sen. Slade Gorton for many years and a member of the Dino Rossi brain trust, is really out there prominently displayed in the Oregonian, spouting what sounds like a scripted campaign line for Democrat Patty Murray..
"She's obviously getting lots of things done for the state," Williams told the Oregonian.
In a subsequent interview, Williams told me he still really likes Dino Rossi and thinks the world of him but this time he is on board with Murray.
Williams, a public affairs consultant and lobbyist, decided to back Murray a couple of years ago. Williams' firm clearly needs connections with politicians on both sides of the political aisle.
I get that, but still this is a bit unusual, especially with Rossi contemplating a run this election against Murray.

If Rossi does decide to run for U.S. Senate, it will be a different team behind him.
Another member of Rossi's inner circle, who was a key player in the 2004 and 2008 gubernatorial races, Jay Vanderstoep, also does not plan to be part of the Rossi campaign, if there is one. Nothing personal. Quite the opposite. Vanderstoep just wants to work on other things.

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