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.
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.