With Inslee running again for governor, leading Washington state Democrats put their ambitions on hold
Six months ago, when Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced he would run for president, he set down the first in what became an elaborate line of dominoes branching and meandering through the Washington political world.
If Inslee were running for president, then lower-ranking statewide officials would run for governor and so would the leader of the state’s largest county. Then their positions would open up, so a whole slew of other officials queued up to run for those spots.
But nobody knocked down that first domino.
And now the Washington political landscape, which had been set up for a radical reformation, looks like it could be largely frozen in place for the next four years.
With Inslee’s announcement Thursday that he will seek a third term as governor — the first time anyone’s done that in nearly half a century — several of the state’s leading Democrats put their personal ambitions on hold and stepped into line behind him. Democrats have dominated statewide offices for years — they’ve held the governor’s office for the last 35 years and currently hold eight of 10 statewide elected partisan positions.
Inslee not only announced his run for reelection, he also, temporarily, squelched speculation that he wanted to serve in a Cabinet position, should Democrats retake the White House in 2020. ...
The most prominent Republican running for governor is state Sen. Phil Fortunato, an outspoken conservative from Auburn who once ripped up a pocket Constitution on the Senate floor to make a point. He launched his campaign outside Seattle City Hall earlier this month, intending to spotlight the city’s homelessness crisis, especially what he calls the “criminal homeless.”
Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic in Ferry County, and project manager Anton Sakharov have also filed as Republicans. Culp made headlines for declaring that he wouldn’t enforce the new gun restrictions passed by state voters last year.
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