Less than one hundred and twenty hours after Rob McKenna announced that he would be running for governor as a Republican, Chris Gregoire has revealed her own plans, saying that she will not be seeking a third term.
At a press conference at the executive mansion on the Capitol Campus, Gregoire reviewed some of her accomplishments as governor and declared that she was ready to move on after the remainder of her term — possibly to a job in the second Obama administration, if the President is reelected (though she didn’t say that).
“After much thought and discussion I know it’s the right decision for me and for my family,” Gregoire said. “With the end of one of the most difficult and historic legislative sessions only one month behind us, there remains great work to do to move our economy forward and transform our state to meet — and exceed — the needs of a 21st Century economy. I know over the next eighteen months that I must focus on that task — and not on the task of running for office.”
Gregoire concluded her statement with a message of thanks.
“I thank everyone who has supported me over the years. In politics, nothing happens alone – and the support of my family, advisors and colleagues will be my enduring memory. Today my heart is full and my head humble.”
Gregoire’s decision clears the way for Representative Jay Inslee to enter the race. The governor acknowledged to reporters that Inslee’s team was given a heads-up in advance of this morning’s announcement.
“I called Jay, I said to him I’d done some soul searching…I said I hoped he would consider running for office,” she said.
Gregoire had indicated she hoped to make an announcement about 2012 before leaving for the Paris Air Show later this week. In choosing to call a press conference this morning to reveal her plans, she was true to her word. Her graceful exit now allows the Democratic Party to move forward and get behind Jay Inslee.
“I appreciate the Governor’s service during these difficult economic times,” Inslee said in response to Gregoire’s announcement. “Today is her day. I will make my intentions on the Governor’s race known shortly.”