Just move along, Tim: Inslee scolds Eyman
Just move along, Tim: Inslee scolds Eyman

Long­time Wash­ing­ton State con artist Tim Eyman today inter­rupt­ed yet anoth­er pro­ceed­ing at which he had not been invit­ed to speak, appear­ing at the Asso­ci­at­ed Press’ annu­al leg­isla­tive pre­view to con­front Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee about the fate of Ini­tia­tive 976, Eyman’s most recent con, which appeared on last Novem­ber’s ballot.

Unlike his pre­de­ces­sors, Inslee has refused to capit­u­late to Eyman’s demands to roll over and make Eyman’s agen­da his own fol­low­ing the pas­sage of an Eyman mea­sure at the bal­lot. That has made Eyman rather bit­ter and angry.

So Eyman showed up in Olympia pre­pared to insti­gate a con­fronta­tion with Inslee.

But the gov­er­nor was­n’t hav­ing any of it.

Inslee remind­ed Eyman that the pur­pose of the leg­isla­tive pre­view event is to allow jour­nal­ists to ask ques­tions of Wash­ing­ton State’s elect­ed representatives.

Eyman is of course nei­ther a jour­nal­ist nor one of the peo­ple’s elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives, although Eyman now claims to be run­ning for gov­er­nor against Inslee, after years of say­ing he had no inter­est in seek­ing office.

When Eyman refused to sit down or stop talk­ing, Inslee’s chief of staff David Post­man stepped for­ward to admon­ish Eyman and tell him to stop being dis­rup­tive. Eyman tried to ignore Post­man at first, but he even­tu­al­ly shut up and turned away. While he was yap­ping, Inslee took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to launch a zinger at him.

“Let me make a sug­ges­tion to you, Tim: You need to sit down. Just don’t steal that chair, okay,” Inslee said. “Just sit down on that chair and don’t steal it.”

This was, of course, a ref­er­ence to Eyman’s infa­mous and inex­plic­a­ble theft of an office chair from the Lacey Office Depot near­ly one year ago.

Tim Eyman walks out with office chair

Even­tu­al­ly, Eyman real­ized he was in dan­ger of being escort­ed out by secu­ri­ty, and he clammed up. As he sat down, Inslee took a part­ing shot at Eyman, direct­ing him: “Please leave the chair when you leave. Thanks very much.”

At present, as we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, Eyman’s Ini­tia­tive 976 is on hold, blocked from being imple­ment­ed by an injunc­tion issued by King Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge Mar­shall Fer­gu­son and upheld by the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court.

The Depart­ment of Licens­ing is still col­lect­ing the tax­es and fees that I‑976 attempt­ed to repeal, but per an instruc­tion from the gov­er­nor’s office, the mon­ey is being held in escrow for the time being. Osten­si­bly, that escrow sit­u­a­tion is what Eyman claimed to be ask­ing about today when he inter­rupt­ed Inslee’s press con­fer­ence. But I think Eyman sim­ply want­ed to make a scene.

Eyman has an insa­tiable need for atten­tion, just like his idol Don­ald Trump, and when he’s not the star of the show, he hijacks the pro­ceed­ings so that he can claim the spot­light for as long as he thinks peo­ple will tol­er­ate his dis­rup­tive antics.

A few days ago, Eyman claimed to be weigh­ing whether to run for gov­er­nor as a Repub­li­can instead of an inde­pen­dent. He says he has yet to make a deci­sion, but no doubt is being court­ed by Repub­li­cans to iden­ti­fy as an R in his campaign.

A Crosscut/Elway poll released today (PDF) found that 46% of Wash­ing­ton vot­ers sur­veyed favored Inslee in the 2020 guber­na­to­r­i­al race, while a measly 7% favored Eyman. (The poll has a mar­gin of error of +/- 5%).

Oth­er right wing chal­lengers to Inslee fared even worse. Repub­lic police chief Loren Culp was favored by only 4% of respon­dents, while anoth­er 4% favored white suprema­cist state sen­a­tor Phil For­tu­na­to. 5% expressed a pref­er­ence for for­mer Both­ell May­or Joshua Freed. 34% said they were undecided.

Gov­er­nor Inslee cer­tain­ly can­not take his reelec­tion for grant­ed, but at this point, it does not look like Tim Eyman or any of the oth­er declared can­di­dates would give him much of a chal­lenge. (Last fall, for­mer U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dave Reichert declined the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty’s invi­ta­tion to chal­lenge Inslee.)

Despite pos­sess­ing much more name recog­ni­tion than either For­tu­na­to or Culp, Eyman bare­ly gar­nered more sup­port than they did in the Elway Poll.

If Eyman gets pum­meled, it would not be the first time a pur­vey­or of destruc­tive bal­lot mea­sures was foiled in a guber­na­to­r­i­al bid by Pacif­ic North­west voters.

In 1998, Eyman’s Ore­gon equiv­a­lent, Bill Size­more, ran for gov­er­nor as the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee and was sound­ly trounced by Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent John Kitzhaber. Size­more received just thir­ty per­cent of the vote and lost in every sin­gle coun­ty in the state except for Mal­heur Coun­ty. In the twen­ty-two years since then, there has­n’t been a guber­na­to­r­i­al race in Ore­gon that lopsided.

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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One reply on “Jay Inslee zings Eyman after Tim interrupts Q&A: “Please leave the chair when you leave””

  1. I have nev­er said these words about anoth­er man. But Tim Eyman is a vile poor excuse of a Man. His lack of empa­thy for Mass Tran­sit users is appalling.

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