[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/26/art.rossi.cnn.jpg caption="Dino Rossi jumped into the Washington state Senate Race Wednesday after months of urging from the GOP."](CNN) - Two-time Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi officially jumped into the Senate race in Washington state Wednesday, following months of cajoling from national Republicans who view the area businessman as the strongest candidate to defeat incumbent Democrat Sen. Patty Murray.
"Over the past several months, as I watched Congress pile more and more debt on top of our children and grandchildren, as I watched them ram through a partisan, ill-conceived health care bill, as I watched them pass new job-killing taxes and regulations, I knew I had to do something about it," Rossi says in a web video. "That's why I've made the decision to run for the United States Senate."
Rossi, currently a commercial real estate investor, is arguably the best known Republican in Washington state, thanks to his two bids for governor. In an election that went into overtime, Rossi lost to Democrat Christine Gregoire by just a handful of votes six years ago. He was again defeated in a 2008 rematch by a wider margin.
Polls of Washington state voters conducted this year suggest that Rossi could be competitive with the three-term Murray - the so-called Senate "soccer mom" whose approval rating is hovering around 50 percent back home. But Murray is sitting on a formidable $6 million campaign war chest, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Elections Commission at the end of March, and handily won her reelection bids in 1998 and 2004.
Rossi, a former state senator, appears to be kicking of his campaign in the Democratic-leaning state with a message of inclusion, touting his record of working to balance the budget with both Republicans and Democrats.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/16/art.palincu0516.gi.jpg caption="Sarah Palin bucked the GOP establishment on Thursday when she endorsed a Tea Party activist."](CNN) - Sarah Palin bucked the GOP establishment on Thursday when she endorsed Washington state Tea Party activist Clint Didier in his bid for the Senate.
On Twitter Thursday, Palin said she is "inspired" by Didier and said he is a "patriot running for U.S. Senate to serve his state & our country for all the right reasons!"
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has heavily recruited another Republican to run in the race, businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi. But Rossi, currently a commercial real estate investor, has so far remained uncommitted with only three weeks to go before the June 11 filing deadline.
Seattle, Washington (CNN) - The dinner crowd trickles in slowly at first, some taking time to play a little pool in a recreation area, others just wait patiently in line, or find a spot to sit and strike up a conversation.
On the street, Orion Center has a reputation for its pleasant and welcoming staff, and, as Kayla Wyatt puts it, a place to get a good "feed." And of late, there are many new faces among the familiar.
At a restaurant, that's a sign of progress. At a support organization for the young homeless - like Orion Center - it is a troubling sign of the times.
More troubling is to take an up-close look at Seattle's streets and parks after Orion Center shuts down for the day, especially as temperatures drop and the combination of rain and gusty winds makes for bone-chilling conditions.
"I broke the top of my femur, so with the plate and screws, now I'm actually, two months later, able to walk - do some walking on my own," Ballard told us. "Physical therapy is coming along very well."
Once the hip is back to full strength, Ballard will need knee surgery to repair ligament damage, but he shrugs and voices encouragement at his progress and smiles a confident smile when asked about his ultimate goal.
"Get back and fight," Ballard said without hesitation. "Return to duty."
Veterans Day traditionally has been set aside more to honor those who have served rather than those still serving. But eight-plus years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have created a huge class of combat veterans who still wear the uniform, many of them with two or three or more deployments under their belts and perhaps more in their futures.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/29/poll.wednesday/art.obamageneric.gi.jpg caption="New gains for Obama on the CNN Electoral Map."](CNN) - If Barack Obama is betting on Nevada, he may find a pleasant payoff. A new poll suggests that the Democratic presidential candidate is widening his lead there.
That's contributing to an increase in territory for Obama in CNN's Electoral College Map. The map estimates what would occur if the election were held today, by reviewing state polls, voting trends, campaign visits and advertising.
In the Nevada survey - one of five CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation state polls released Thursday morning - 52 percent of likely voters say Obama is their choice for president, with 45 percent backing John McCain. That seven-point lead is up from a five-point advantage Obama held in a poll taken one week ago.
Nevada narrowly voted for George W. Bush in the last two presidential contests.
"Obama is racking up support among blue collar voters in Nevada," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Two weeks ago, he had a six-point lead among people with no college degree. Now he has a 23-point lead over McCain among that group. If the unions are making a big push for Obama in Nevada, it seems to be working."