Bill Bryant came up less than 300,000 votes short of becoming the first Republican Governor of Washington in more than 30 years and, from the sound of it, he may be looking to make up those votes during another run in 2020.
Bryant, who received 45.6 percent of the vote (1,467,346 votes), while running against incumbent Jay Inslee in the November election spoke about his effort with KTTH’s Todd Herman on Monday. After Bryant discussed Inslee’s “disingenuous” tax proposal and his belief that the Sound Transit 3 Initiative that passed will be “our next Kingdome” (“we will blow it up before we get done building it out”), Herman told the former Port Commissioner to run for governor again. Bryant responded that he’s been hearing that a lot.
“We get that a lot whenever we go to the grocery store or anywhere downtown,” he said. “We lost in the King County suburbs. These are areas where when I’ve run before as a Port Commissioner in King County, I’ve handily carried – Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish. And those communities this year went for Clinton and Inslee. Communities that have never voted for a Democrat voted for Clinton and Inslee this year.”
To which Herman asked, “Why?”
“I don’t know,” Bryant responded. “We’ll have to do some polling and find out. And in communities such as Sammamish and Issaquah, the difference between Romney and Trump is a negative 20 to 30 points. That’s a headwind. That’s the headwind (former State Rep.) Steve Litzow ran into in Mercer Island and Issaquah. The fact that you’ve got Trump running 30 points below Romney is a headwind that is very difficult for any down-ballot candidate to overcome.”
Bryant was hit by Inslee during the campaign when it came to Trump, calling him out for not disavowing the Republican presidential nominee. Bryant held for much of the campaign that he wanted to focus on issues related to Washington voters and not the presidential campaign but eventually stated publicly that he would not be voting for either Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Herman asked Bryant if things might have been different if he had not “chosen to tell the truth” about his feelings on Trump.
“There are 39 counties in Washington state and I did better in Trump in 36 of the 39,” Bryant said. “I received about 225,000 more votes than Mr. Trump. I think that the people who supported Mr. Trump continued to support me – and then a lot of folks, over 200,000 of them – voted for Secretary Clinton or somebody else and then switched to vote for me for Governor.”
So, will he run again? Bryant laughed before saying, “That’s an interesting question. That’s a direct question at a very early stage.”