A few weeks ago, we started hearing speculation that incumbent Secretary of State Sam Reed, who has held the position for several terms, was thinking about retiring and not running again in 2012. We don’t care much for repeating unsubstantiated rumors, so we didn’t report it here on The Advocate, but today, we got word from multiple people that Reed may publicly announce his plans as early as tomorrow.
Reed’s retirement would create an open seat in a third statewide race next year, which would make 2012 all the more interesting. (Chris Gregoire is not seeking another term as governor, and Rob McKenna is vacating the office of attorney general to run for that job). Several Democrats are said to be interested in running if Reed doesn’t, and they will have to decide quickly if they want to move forward, should Reed confirm his retirement tomorrow.
Other independently elected members of Washington’s executive branch are planning to ask voters for another term, including State Treasurer Jim McIntire and Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark.
State Auditor Brian Sonntag has made noise about running for governor, but it’s already a crowded field, with Rob McKenna a virtual lock for the Republican vote and Jay Inslee a virtual lock for the Democratic vote.
To our knowledge, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn hasn’t said whether he intends to run again, and neither has Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen hasn’t come to a decision either.
Republicans have controlled the position of Secretary of State even longer than Democrats have controlled the governor’s mansion. The last Democrat to serve as Secretary of State was Vic Meyers; he left office at the end of 1964, meaning that the state’s top elections official has not been a Democrat in almost half a century.
Naturally, Democrats are anxious to end the Republicans’ streak, just as Republicans want to end the Democratic Party’s hold on the governorship. That is partly why there’s a lot of interest on the Democratic side. We’ll see how the race shakes out. It could be very memorable.