Gov. Jay Inslee at the Sound Publishing offices in Bellevue during a meeting in 2017. Inslee may be running for president in 2020 based on remarks published in The Atlantic and more than $112,600 in fundraising. File photo

Gov. Jay Inslee at the Sound Publishing offices in Bellevue during a meeting in 2017. Inslee may be running for president in 2020 based on remarks published in The Atlantic and more than $112,600 in fundraising. File photo

It looks a lot like Inslee is running for president

New statements and political fundraising from Gov. Inslee point toward a 2020 presidential bid

Democrats around the country are gearing up for what will likely be a crowded 2020 presidential race, and Washington state’s Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to throw his hat in the ring of electoral hopefuls.

So far, only Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has officially announced her run, but Inslee could also run. He told The Atlantic in an article published on Jan. 2 that “we’re laying the groundwork that would make this a feasible thing in the relatively short term.” The other indication is his political action committee called Vision PAC, which was created last October, raised $112,600 in contributions between Oct. 4 and Nov. 26, according to the Federal Election Commission. However, Inslee has not officially announced, his political media representative Jamal Raad said in an email.

“Governor Inslee believes we need a presidential candidate who will put fighting climate change front and center in our national dialogue, and is seriously considering running. No final decision has been made yet,” Raad said.

This number of financial contributions to Vision PAC is likely even higher after more than a month, but current contributions data was not available as of Jan. 2. The next step for an Inslee campaign would be the creation of an exploratory committee, similar to what Warren recently announced.

The Atlantic article said Inslee, who was elected as Washington’s governor in 2012, has pursued one of the greenest agendas in the country with “fields of solar panels, fleets of electric buses, and massive job growth to show for it.” However, Sound Publishing political columnist Jerry Cornfield has noted that Inslee’s track record is “long on preaching and short on accomplishment. There are more electric vehicles on the road and utilities are getting more power from alternative sources. But greenhouse gas emissions aren’t tumbling and every attempt by Inslee to compel a reduction of carbon emissions through taxes, fees, or executive order has failed.”

It may be that if Inslee runs for president, it will be on his green credentials and to push for national climate change reform. Central to this, Cornfield argues, is whether Inslee will be able to push through his legislation and budget in the 2019 state Legislature in a year where Democrats control both the state House and Senate.

“He can miss on a couple things. But he cannot come up empty too many times next session with his own Democratic Party controlling both chambers of the Legislature,” Cornfield wrote. “That would be embarrassing and invite questions out loud about Inslee’s ability to carry out a legislative agenda with partisans in Congress.”

In Inslee’s 2019-2021 budget, he proposed a new capital gains tax on the sale of stocks, bonds, and other assets, increasing the state business and occupation tax on services and changing the state’s real estate excise tax from a regressive flat rate to a graduated rate that would lower the tax on sales of lower-value properties. Inslee is also proposing an initiative to reduce emissions in the state’s building sector and to promote clean energy projects and research.

Included in this is $57.5 million for the state’s Clean Energy Fund for projects to modernize the electric grid and the development of clean technology. In total, Inslee hopes to push through more than $273 million in green energy spending and reforms.

Seattle Weekly has reached out to both Inslee’s campaign for comment and political researchers, and will update this story when more information becomes available.

Other names which have attracted speculation over potential presidential bids include Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), who ran against Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 election, narrowly losing against the incumbent Republican in a deeply red state. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has also been floated as a candidate, as has Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Historically, there have been 17 presidents who had previously served as governor, but only four have been elected since the end of World War II and include George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

North Bend City Hall. Courtesy of northbendwa.gov
North Bend approves sewer rate increases

A 2.5% annual sewer rate increase was approved March 2 by the… Continue reading

Freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish. File photo
Encouraging numbers for kokanee salmon spawn count

Lake Sammamish kokanee aren’t out of the woods by any stretch, but… Continue reading

In this file photo, Tayshon Cottrell dons his graduation cap and gown, along with a face mask reading: “Wear it! Save America” at Todd Beamer High School’s virtual graduation walk recording on May 20, 2020, in Federal Way. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Law gives Washington high school seniors leeway to graduate

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that can waive some requirements for students who were on track before the pandemic.

File photo
Study shows Washingtonians exceeded ‘heavy drinking’ threshold in 2020

The survey suggests Washingtonians drank more than 17 alcoholic beverages a week on average.

Mercer Island School District first-graders returned to in-person classes on Jan. 19, 2021. Here, Northwood Elementary School students head into the building. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island School District
Governor: Educators are now eligible for coronavirus vaccine

“This should give educators more confidence,” Jay Inslee said. Other frontline workers could soon be next.

Malden, after a wildfire burned down 80% of the town’s buildings in Eastern Washington. Courtesy photo
DNR commissioner seeks $125 million to fight wildfires

In Washington state last September, some 600,000 acres burned within 72 hours.

Teaser
New Fall City Fire Chief is on the job

Chief Brian Culp started in the position at the beginning of February.

Washington State Supreme Court Justices (back row, L-R) Raquel Montoya-Lewis, Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Mary I. Yu, G. Helen Whitener, (front row, L-R) Susan Owens, Charles W. Johnson, Steven C. Gonzalez, Barbara A. Madsen and Debra L. Stephens.
Justices strike down Washington state drug possession law

Police must stop arresting people for simple possession.

In Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, which was announced Jan. 28, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. Inslee recently announced all counties will be staying in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan for the next several weeks. Pictured: People enjoy outdoor dining last summer in downtown Kent. Courtesy photo
Inslee: All of Washington to stay in Phase 2 for a few weeks

The governor issued a weekslong pause on regions moving backward, but has yet to outline a Phase 3.

Most Read