What will they do now that Jay Inslee is running for governor again?

Aug 23, 2019, 2:42 PM | Updated: 5:00 pm
2020 governor's race, jay inslee...
Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a forum on gun safety at the Iowa Events Center on August 10, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

First he said he was running for president, and that got a few Washington officials to perk up and start eyeing the governor’s office. Then, Jay Inslee said he changed his mind and was ditching his presidential campaign. Instead, he was running for a third term as Washington’s governor.

And all those interested eyes turned away, looking back to their respective offices.

As The Seattle Times points out, there were three people likely to make a run for the governor’s office if Inslee moved on: Attorney General Bob Ferguson; King County Executive Dow Constantine; and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

Jay Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race

On Thursday, as Inslee made it clear he was returning home to focus on Washington state, all three potential gubernatorial candidates spoke to the issue.

AG Bob Ferguson

Talking with reporters Thursday, Ferguson said he likes Inslee personally and professionally and he would not run against him for governor. If the job opened up, he would think about it.

“The governor has been straight forward with me about what his plans were,” he said. “He stayed in touch with me throughout the process, which I appreciated. I made a decision very early on that if he ran for a third term, I would run for a third term (as attorney general). Once I made that decision, I just don’t believe in looking back.”

“If the governor decided not to run for a third term, obviously I would have had a decision to make and my wife and I set aside that as a conversation,” Ferguson added. “But I’m not losing any sleep over it. You probably think I’m like ‘Oh my God,’ I’m staying up at night thinking ‘I hope I can run for governor.’ Look, would I like to be governor some day? Sure. Do I worry about that or really dwell on it? Hell no. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be. And in politics, you don’t control everything.”

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz

Franz was hoping to keep the line between Bainbridge Island and the governor’s office open (both Franz and Inslee hail from Bainbridge). But on Thursday, her campaign for re-election released a statement.

“Washington faces major challenges, in both rural and urban areas, from protecting our environment to funding schools to creating economic opportunity for all workers. Jay Inslee has been a leader in tackling one of the biggest threats we face — climate change, and that’s why I support his re-election for Governor.”

“I am seeking reelection as Commissioner of Public Lands to continue the critical work we are doing, together, to build a healthy and strong Washington.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine

Constantine complimented Inslee on his presidential run, putting Washington and climate change into the conversation. He says he will support Inslee’s campaign for governor “100 percent.”

“Of course I was looking forward to the opportunity to get out there and debate Washington’s future with my colleagues, but we are doing a ton of important work here at home in King County …” Constantine said.

“I think I, and I imagine all of those who have expressed an interest, would look very seriously at running if the governor were appointed to a cabinet position,”  he said. “One is always preparing, but I think the most important thing is doing the best work we can do in the office of executive.”

Inslee said Thursday that he would not consider a cabinet position in the next presidential administration if one became available.

The attorney general’s office

Whether or not Inslee’s political ambitions have played a role is unknown, but the race for attorney general has also been affected.

There was previously competition Seattle City Councilmember Lorena González entering the arena. González announced in early August that she was going to run for the position.

“Now I’m running for attorney general so that all people of Washington know — whether in Lynden, Spokane, or Aberdeen, a hospital, a workplace, or even in a field picking crops — there will be a woman in the Attorney General’s Office, the daughter of two migrant farm workers, who will stand up for you,” González said in her campaign video.

But as of Thursday, González amended that plan.

When I announced my campaign, it was with the understanding that I would not be challenging Bob Ferguson for this position. With today’s news that Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson will be seeking third terms, I have decided to suspend my campaign. I will continue to serve the people of Seattle as a citywide councilmember.

The Times also points out that State Representative Drew Hansen (also from Bainbridge Island) expressed interest in running for AG. As did Solicitor General Noah Purcell who works in the AG’s office. But with Ferguson running for another term, they will likely put those plans on hold.

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What will they do now that Jay Inslee is running for governor again?