Andy Hill speaking in Olympia
Andy Hill speaking in Olympia

This just in: Repub­li­can State Sen­a­tor Andy Hill (R‑45th Dis­trict: Unin­cor­po­rat­ed King Coun­ty, Kirk­land, Red­mond, Wood­inville, Sam­mamish, Duvall) will not be a can­di­date for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State in next year’s pres­i­den­tial elections.

In a mes­sage sent out to his email list, Hill announced that, after some con­sid­er­a­tion, he has ruled out a chal­lenge to Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

He writes:

Many of you have spo­ken with me over the past sev­er­al months and have encour­aged me to con­sid­er becom­ing a can­di­date for gov­er­nor in 2016. I am hum­bled so many of you would think that I could make a dif­fer­ence and I’m hon­ored by the tremen­dous out­pour­ing of sup­port on my behalf. I believe strong­ly that this state lacks lead­er­ship and that we des­per­ate­ly need a new voice and a new direc­tion. And, while I also believe it is a great time polit­i­cal­ly to under­take this effort, I’ve decid­ed it would not be best for the Hill fam­i­ly at this time. While Mol­ly and the kids have always sup­port­ed my efforts and worked along-side many of you on my cam­paigns, the fact remains that I have two kids in high school this year– a senior con­sid­er­ing col­leges and a fresh­man new to the high school expe­ri­ence. I want to be there for them.

The past year and a half has been excit­ing with a high-pro­file re-elec­tion cam­paign, fol­lowed quick­ly by a long leg­isla­tive ses­sion. Many of you may remem­ber me on the cam­paign trail jok­ing about how there was a card­board cut-out of me at home while I ran for re-elec­tion. This leg­isla­tive ses­sion meant even more time away from my fam­i­ly and I know a statewide cam­paign would con­tin­ue that absence far too long. Despite the kids’ assur­ances, Dad knows best on this one.

2016 is an impor­tant year. I plan to work hard on the issues and for the can­di­dates who can make a dif­fer­ence for Wash­ing­ton fam­i­lies. There’s so much at stake and much to do. I hope you’ll com­mit your­self to help­ing advance our goals and once again, thank you so much for your con­tin­ued sup­port. I hope you had a great sum­mer vaca­tion and are enjoy­ing the return to school. I know I’m going to enjoy being there for this excit­ing part of my kids’ lives.

Hill had been seen by a num­ber of Repub­li­cans as an ide­al can­di­date for gov­er­nor. Notably, for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Sam Reed met with him ear­li­er this year and encour­aged him to be a can­di­date.

In a recent sto­ry about Wash­ing­ton’s 2016 guber­na­to­r­i­al race, Rob McKen­na con­fi­dante and Repub­li­can strate­gist Randy Pep­ple pre­dict­ed to KING5 Tele­vi­sion that Hill would get into the race. From KING5’s report­ing (empha­sis mine):

The oth­er rumored Repub­li­can hope­ful pos­si­bly con­sid­er­ing a run is State Sen­a­tor Andy Hill (R‑Redmond). He’s avoid answer­ing ques­tions on the sub­ject, so far, but Repub­li­can strate­gist Randy Pep­ple says don’t count him out.

“My gut tells me that Andy Hill, Sen­a­tor Hill, is going to get into the race,” Pep­ple said.

Looks like Randy Pep­ple’s gut was wrong… again.

Pep­ple had been pre­vi­ous­ly bull­ish about the prospect of a Rob McKen­na vic­to­ry in 2012. When it did­n’t hap­pen, Pep­ple began to grouse about the exis­tence of Seat­tle (and par­tic­u­lar­ly the heav­i­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic 36th and 43rd Dis­tricts), which helped pro­pel Jay Inslee to vic­to­ry. And he has hard­ly stopped since.

The way Pep­ple talks, you’d think he actu­al­ly believes Seat­tle vot­ers robbed McKen­na of the gov­er­nor­ship…  as if that most impor­tant of offices were a hered­i­tary posi­tion passed down from one attor­ney gen­er­al to the next.

But Wash­ing­ton’s gov­er­nor­ship is not a throne. Jay Inslee won it fair and square. And Inslee seems well-posi­tioned to do well in 2016.

Though the state’s Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment claims Inslee is vul­ner­a­ble, polls indi­cate he would beat any­one who Repub­li­cans might put up against him.

And as of yet, the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment has­n’t been able to find a can­di­date it likes. Seat­tle Port Com­mis­sion­er Bill Bryant is run­ning, but his cam­paign got off to some­what of a rocky start, and has since been most­ly invisible.

State Par­ty Chair Susan Hutchi­son seems to be pin­ning her hopes on recruit­ing Dave Reichert into the race, but it’s not clear that Reichert will run, or that even if he does, he would be a com­pelling chal­lenger to Inslee. Reichert once famous­ly told a gath­er­ing of Repub­li­cans that he votes the way his cau­cus tells him to.

It’s an open secret that Reichert’s staff do a lot of his heavy lift­ing. That’s helped keep Reichert going in Con­gress, but it won’t work in a guber­na­to­r­i­al campaign.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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