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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Jay Inslee makes it official: He’s running for Governor of Washington State in 2020

Hours after with­draw­ing from the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial field, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee has announced that he will be a can­di­date for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State in 2020, via an email blast sent out to his list. Here’s the text of that mes­sage:

As you know, I join you in being right­ful­ly proud of Wash­ing­ton state and what we have accom­plished togeth­er.

It has been a pro­found hon­or to rep­re­sent our state on the nation­al stage in the pres­i­den­tial race. I am grate­ful for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have told the coun­try about Wash­ing­ton state’s suc­cess­ful mod­el of pro­gres­sive action we are build­ing togeth­er.

We have pro­vid­ed the nation a road map for inno­va­tion, eco­nom­ic growth, and pro­gres­sive action. And we’re not done yet.

I want to con­tin­ue to stand with you in oppos­ing Don­ald Trump and reject­ing his hurt­ful and divi­sive agen­da, while strength­en­ing and enhanc­ing Wash­ing­ton state’s role as a pro­gres­sive bea­con for the nation. Which is why I’m announc­ing today my inten­tion to run for a third term as Wash­ing­ton’s gov­er­nor.

I’m excit­ed to do so — because our great suc­cess as a state these last few years gives me con­fi­dence that we can con­tin­ue to lead the nation in so many ways. Our mul­ti­ple accom­plish­ments have paved the way for much to come in the next term.

We’ve cre­at­ed the first pub­lic option for health care in the nation, the high­est increase in aver­age pub­lic school teacher pay in the coun­try, and the fastest grow­ing econ­o­my in Amer­i­ca.

That’s what we do in Wash­ing­ton — we’re inno­va­tors, builders, cre­ators — and I am eager to build and expand on this unique record of progress and eco­nom­ic suc­cess for the peo­ple of our great state.

Togeth­er, we’ve built an econ­o­my that works for work­ing peo­ple. Wash­ing­ton has raised the min­i­mum wage to one of the high­est in the nation, pro­vid­ed paid sick leave for every work­er, and cre­at­ed a best-in-the-nation paid fam­i­ly leave pro­gram.

We were the first state to pro­tect net neu­tral­i­ty, and we have passed the most sweep­ing pack­age of vot­ing rights laws in the nation.

We have pro­tect­ed LGBTQI Amer­i­cans from dis­crim­i­na­tion, pro­vid­ed afford­able health care to over 800,000 Wash­ing­to­ni­ans through Oba­macare, and passed repro­duc­tive par­i­ty pro­tec­tions for all women. We became the first state to sue against Trump’s Mus­lim ban and passed his­toric invest­ments in pub­lic schools, teacher pay, and infra­struc­ture.

We’re also lead­ing the nation in tack­ling the cli­mate cri­sis. Our efforts to pro­tect Wash­ing­ton’s clean air and water, invest in peo­ple’s eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty, and stand up for the val­ues of inclu­siv­i­ty and diver­si­ty have cre­at­ed thou­sands of clean ener­gy jobs and made Wash­ing­ton state “the epi­cen­ter of resis­tance to Trump’s agen­da.”

These pro­gres­sive poli­cies have pro­pelled Wash­ing­ton’s econ­o­my to be the best in the nation — and the only state that has been ranked both the best place to work and the best place for busi­ness.

Since I became gov­er­nor in 2013, Wash­ing­ton state has ranked num­ber one in both wage growth and GDP growth.

Wash­ing­ton’s sto­ry shows the eco­nom­ic pow­er of pro­gres­sive action.

We’ve made incred­i­ble progress togeth­er, but there’s much more to do. Make no mis­take — we will not be rest­ing on our lau­rels.

We ful­ly intend for Wash­ing­ton’s future to be every bit as dynam­ic, inno­v­a­tive, and inclu­sive as its past.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Ear­ly to bed, ear­ly to rise, work like hell, and orga­nize. Let’s get to work build­ing an even greater Wash­ing­ton togeth­er.

Very tru­ly yours,

Jay

Inslee’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign web­site has already been tak­en down and replaced with a splash page for his guber­na­to­r­i­al ree­elec­tion cam­paign.

Splash page for Jay Inslee's reelection camapign

The new splash page for jayinslee.com, replac­ing Inslee’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign web­site

Repub­li­cans are try­ing their best to pre­tend that they have a legit­i­mate shot at cap­tur­ing the gov­er­nor’s man­sion in 2020, a claim that has no basis in real­i­ty. Repub­li­cans haven’t won a guber­na­to­r­i­al race in the state since 1980, when John Spell­man was elect­ed. It’s the longest guber­na­to­r­i­al los­ing streak in the coun­try.

Even State Repub­li­can Chair Caleb Heim­lich under­stands this.

In a tac­it admis­sion of the extreme­ly long odds Repub­li­cans face in 2020, Heim­lich end­ed a fundrais­ing email by say­ing: “With your dona­tion of $20 today, we can show the truth about Gov­er­nor Inslee and orga­nize in every cor­ner of the state to elect a Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor for the first time in my life­time!”

Heim­lich and oth­er Repub­li­cans have been very crit­i­cal of Inslee’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, repeat­ed­ly dis­miss­ing it as a “van­i­ty run” and whin­ing inces­sant­ly about the cost to tax­pay­ers for Inslee’s State Patrol pro­vid­ed secu­ri­ty detail, while remain­ing qui­et as church­mice about Don­ald Trump’s fail­ure to reim­burse tax­pay­ers for his cam­paign-relat­ed trav­el and his trav­el to his golf cours­es.

As a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, how­ev­er, Inslee had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to criss­cross the coun­try pitch­ing Wash­ing­ton State as a great place to live and work.

His pres­i­den­tial run there­fore had val­ue to the tax­pay­ers of Wash­ing­ton State, even if it did­n’t catch fire. There is arguably no bet­ter or more cred­i­ble spokesper­son for a state’s busi­ness cli­mate than its gov­er­nor. Inslee has a com­pelling sto­ry to tell about Wash­ing­ton and he’s been telling it. And, as a can­di­date, he’s also had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn what oth­er states are doing on a num­ber of fronts.

That could make him a more effec­tive, knowl­edge­able chief exec­u­tive.

Inslee’s deci­sion will, as I explained last night, like­ly defer a polit­i­cal realign­ment in state Demo­c­ra­t­ic pol­i­tics until after the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cycle is over.

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz, and King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine have all con­sis­tent­ly said they would sup­port Inslee in the event he want­ed to seek a third term.

Now he is — so that means their own guber­na­to­r­i­al ambi­tions are on hold.

Franz has actu­al­ly already said as much to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press, not­ing that she’s quite focused on her cur­rent job. As Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands, Franz heads the state’s Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources, which is respon­si­ble for geo­log­ic haz­ards research and fight­ing wild­fires. Franz is in her first term as Com­mis­sion­er and is well posi­tioned to secure reelec­tion in 2020 to a sec­ond term.

Bob Fer­gu­son, mean­while, is in a sim­i­lar boat. He is in his sec­ond term as Attor­ney Gen­er­al and can seek a third term next year, like Chris­tine Gre­goire did in 2000. (Gre­goire served as AG for twelve years before run­ning for Gov­er­nor.)

“Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee should be proud of his suc­cess pro­mot­ing cli­mate change as an urgent issue demand­ing imme­di­ate action,” said Fer­gu­son in a state­ment.

“There would not be cli­mate town halls if it were not for Jay Inslee call­ing for a real cli­mate change con­ver­sa­tion. I’ve spo­ken with Wash­ing­to­ni­ans across the state who appre­ci­ate Gov­er­nor Inslee work­ing to high­light Wash­ing­ton state’s lead­er­ship, includ­ing our efforts defend­ing work­ers, enforc­ing civ­il rights, pro­tect­ing our envi­ron­ment, grow­ing our econ­o­my — and our unde­feat­ed record stop­ping the harm­ful poli­cies of Pres­i­dent Trump. I sup­port Gov­er­nor Inslee’s re-elec­tion, and I will pur­sue anoth­er term as Attor­ney Gen­er­al.”

With Franz stay­ing put and Fer­gu­son choos­ing the same path, there won’t be open­ings for Lands Com­mis­sion­er and Attor­ney Gen­er­al in 2020.

That means the “explorato­ry com­mit­tees” of Noah Pur­cell, Drew Hansen, Lore­na Gon­za­lez, and Chris­tine Rolfes will be wind­ing down. All had been pre­pared to seek high­er office had Inslee cho­sen not to run for a third term.

King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine has already been elect­ed to his cur­rent post three times: in 2009, 2013, and 2017. Con­stan­ti­ne’s third term runs through 2021. Giv­en that Con­stan­tine was large­ly unop­posed in his last two reelec­tion bids, he might choose to seek a fourth term after the 2020 pres­i­den­tial cycle ends.

No incum­bent in Wash­ing­ton’s exec­u­tive depart­ment has announced that they will not be a can­di­date for their post in 2020. If any­one does retire, it would prob­a­bly be Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er Mike Krei­dler, who is clos­ing in on near­ly twen­ty years as the state’s over­seer and reg­u­la­tor of pri­vate insur­ance com­pa­nies.

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3 Comments

  1. Andrew, I am very hap­py for your com­ments on this front. My only ques­tion is: Has the gov­er­nor stat­ed he will not accept a cab­i­net post if we (Dems) secure the white house?

    # by Carol Brock :: August 22nd, 2019 at 12:05 PM
    • No, he has­n’t. But he ought to make such a com­mit­ment. If he’s all in for a third term, he needs to be all in, and not jump ship for a Cab­i­net post if one is offered. He could always join the Cab­i­net in 2025, pre­sum­ing an offer is made by a vic­to­ri­ous Demo­c­rat in 2024.

      # by Andrew Villeneuve :: August 22nd, 2019 at 12:07 PM
      • That was fast! A com­mit­ment has been made.

        Inslee, who’s been men­tioned as a pos­si­ble Cab­i­net sec­re­tary should Democ­rats retake the White House in 2020, pledged to turn down such an offer if he’s reelect­ed.

        “Yes, that’s my inten­tion and that’s what I would do,” Inslee said when asked if he would serve a full four-year term if reelect­ed. “There was one posi­tion in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., that I thought I was inter­est­ed in and I will not be serv­ing in that capac­i­ty.”

        # by Andrew Villeneuve :: August 22nd, 2019 at 2:19 PM