At a news conference in Olympia Monday morning, Governor Chris Gregoire officially announced she will not seek a third term in office.
“The worst thing I can think of for the people of Washington is for me to be preoccupied with a campaign right now. I need to set my sights on the next 18 months and guarantee that we are out of this recession,” said Governor Gregoire.
Republican State Attorney General Rob McKenna officially announced his candidacy, and has come out critical of state spending during Gregoire's term.
“They have reduced the priority they place on higher and public education. They have dramatically increased spending on state employees both in the number and how much is spent on every state employee,” said McKenna.
Political Analyst C.R. Douglass says McKenna stands a good chance.
“Rob McKenna is the Republicans best hope for retaking this office. They haven’t been able to win for over 30 years. He’s a popular Attorney General, he’s been elected twice statewide,” says Douglass.
Although he hasn't officially made an announcement, US Democratic Representative Jay Inslee released this statement today: “I appreciate the Governor's service during these difficult economic times. Today is her day. I will make my intentions in the Governor's race known shortly."
At an event last week, he was confident of his chances.
“When I get in a race it’s with the intention to win. If I get into it, that will be my intention,” said Inslee.
Although state Senate Democratic leader Lisa Brown, State Auditor Brian Sontagg and State Treasurer James McIntyre have expressed interest in running, analysts don't think they can compete.
“Jay Inslee is clearly in first position among Democrats for office. He’s run once before in 1996. He wants it badly. He’s forged a moderate record as a congressman and is a strong environmentalist. He’s the kind of democrat who does well in Washington state,” says Douglass.
As for what's next for Governor Gregoire? She says she would like to take a break and spend time with her family but is not retiring. C.R. Douglass says he expects she could make a move for Washington D.C. as Solicitor General if President Obama is elected to a second term.
We also spoke with Dwight Pelz with the Washington Democratic Party. Of Jay Inslee, he said, “I hope Jay Inslee decides to run for Governor. He’s a dynamic and progressive democrat. He has served the needs of Washington state and he understands the pressure that Washington families are under.”