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Sam Reed confirms retirement; Jay Manning resigns; catching up with Lt. Gov Brad Owen

Confirming reports that he will not run again in 2012, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed told reporters and his staff this morning that his next eighteen months in office will be his last – though he will remain involved in politics.

“This is a bittersweet decision for me and my family,” Reed said in a statement.

“I have such love and respect for this office and for the opportunities to serve the people of Washington every single day. I came to Olympia as a young man to answer a call for a new breed of leaders, and was honored to work for Governor Dan Evans and to be appointed assistant secretary of state by Secretary Lud Kramer at age 28.  Later, I thoroughly enjoyed being Thurston County Auditor for 23 years and now have had the distinct pleasure of being Secretary of State for three terms, including presiding over the nation’s secretaries of state.”

He added, “In all, it has been quite a ride – forty-five years in public life, including thirty-five in elective office. It is true, there is `a time and a season’ and for Margie and me, it is time to move on at the end of the term.”

In a message to staff, Reed summarized many of the things he has advocated for as Secretary of State – for instance, moving to vote-by-mail elections, asking courts to preserve access to the names of people who have signed ballot petitions under Washington’s public records act, and, of course, the “Top Two” winnowing election, which we at NPI believes violates political parties’ First Amendment right to free assembly and is therefore unconstitutional.’

State Senator Jim Kastama (a Democrat) and Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman (a Republican) are said to be considering running for Secretary of State, and may launch their campaigns soon.

Meanwhile, in another sign that the 2011 legislative session has taken its toll on Chris Gregoire’s administration, the governor’s chief of staff, Jay Manning, revealed today that he is leaving to pursue other opportunities. His last day will be Friday, July 15th.

“There are a number of reasons why I have decided to resign,” Manning said in an email to colleagues. “I have a number of interesting professional opportunities that I want to pursue. There are some real financial pressures that I need to attend to. I’m a little worn out and am not confident that I would bring the level of energy and creativity that is necessary to do the Chief of Staff job at the level I believe necessary to be successful.”

“I am not leaving because of the Governor’s decision not to fun for a third term,” he explained. ” To the contrary, her decision will enable the administration to do more – to accomplish more – in these next 18 months than it could if she were running for a third term. I fully support the Governor’s decision. I am also not leaving to run for elective office. I have no plans to run for anything in 2012.”

Gregoire has not announced a replacement for Manning, but she will need to find a new chief of staff quickly, since Manning is taking off in mid-July.

Finally, it’s been brought to my attention that Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen is, in fact, planning to ask voters for another term in office (I characterized his plans as unknown in my post yesterday). He has already filed paperwork for his reelection bid with the Public Disclosure Commission.

First elected in 1996, Owen served alongside Gary Locke for both of his two terms and will have served with Chris Gregoire for both of hers at the end of 2012. However, he has a ways to go before he becomes the longest-serving Lieutenant Governor in state history. That record is held by John Cherberg (for whom the Senate office building is named).

Cherberg served for thirty-two years, or eight terms. Albert Rosellini was governor when he took office; Booth Gardner was governor when he left office.

Unlike many other states, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in Washington do not run together on a ticket, meaning that individuals from different parties can simultaneously hold the different offices.

Consequently, Owen’s prospects are not tied to those of Jay Inslee, the likely Democratic standard-bearer for governor. As in past cycles, Owen is certain to have opposition in 2012, but very unlikely to have anything more than token opposition.

One Comment

  1. Posted July 1st, 2011 at 11:38 PM | Permalink

    I really think that Lt. Governor is a useless position. When has an Lt Governor ever advanced to hold the position? Probably never.
    When Dow was elected to be KC Exec., he appointed Fred Jarrett to be his chief Of Staff. If Dow leaves the position, Jarrett will be well positioned to carry on the duties.
    If the state would have the “Chief Of Staff” replace the Gov, it would allow someone who has a similar vision to the sitting governor as well as someone from the same party. It would also put a working person as next in the line of succession.