OLYMPIA — Washington state voters have not elected a Republican as governor since 1980, but GOP leaders said Thursday that Gov. Jay Inslee's failed presidential bid gives them hope that they can deny him a third term next year.
A day after ending his nearly-six month race for the White House, Inslee made it official on Thursday that in 2020 he will seek a third four-year term as governor. If he wins, he would become the first governor to win a third term since Don Evans, a Republican who served from 1965 until 1977.
In an email to supporters the morning after ending his nearly-six month race for the White House, Inslee said: "I want to continue to stand with you in opposing Donald Trump and rejecting his hurtful and divisive agenda, while strengthening and enhancing Washington state's role as a progressive beacon for the nation. Which is why I'm announcing today my intention to run for a third term as Washington's governor."
Rep. Drew Stokesbary, an Auburn Republican who is weighing a run for governor, said the state spending has ballooned under Inslee's watch, he has proposed billions of dollars in taxes, and drug use and homelessness "has gotten really bad" in downtown Seattle.
"Jay has been more focused on running for President than solving the issues here at home," Stokesbary said.
In his re-election announcement, Inslee
under Inslee's watch Inslee's pursuit of the presidency -- which ended after he failed to qualify for a town hall event on climate change because he couldn't reach two per cent in the polls -- showed that governor "isn't his first choice of a job."
If Inslee wins, he would become the first governor to secure a third term since Dan Evans, a Republican who served from 1965 until 1977.
Washington voters have not elected a Republican as governor since 1980. John Spellman, a former King County Executive, did not win re-election in 1984.
So far, two Republicans have announced bids for governor, state Sen. Phil Fortunato and Republic Police Chief Loren Culp of eastern Washington.