Washington Governor Christine Gregoire said this morning that she will not seek a third term, leaving the door open for Congressman Jay Inslee and other Democratic candidates to vie for the seat.
Inslee has not yet officially declared an intent to run. In a statement this morning, he said, "I appreciate the Governor's service during these difficult economic times. Today is her day. I will make my intentions on the Governor’s race known shortly.”
Inslee currently represents Washington's First Congressional District, a suburban district that includes Woodinville and other suburbs to the north, east, and west of Seattle. Political observers have long widely speculated that Inslee would run for governor if Gregoire opted against a third term.
In March, the State Column reported that Democratic political strategist Chris McCullogh, who managed Inslee's 2004 and 2006 congressional elections, bought the domains jayinsleeforgovernor.com, jayinleeforgovernor.net and jayinsleeforgovernor.org.
In her announcement this morning, Gregoire said she talked to Inslee about her decision last night and urged him to run for governor.
Inslee, whose home is on Bainbridge Island, last ran for governor in 1996 and was defeated in the primaries by Gary Locke. If he runs this time around, he'd be facing State a Republican, who announced last week he'll run for governor.
Gregoire won the past two governor races by defeating Republican Dino Rossi in heated battles. The 2004 election was so close it required two recounts and a legal battle. Prior to the governor post, Gregoire was the State Attorney General, where she became known for her role in reaching a settlement in nationwide litigation with tobacco companies.