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.

More in News

Report: Only one use of excessive force upheld by Sheriff’s investigations in 2018

The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight has released its annual 2018 report.

Parts of Mercer Island left without power after car collides with pole

A 41-year-old Seattle woman was allegedly intoxicated when the accident happened.

The map shows the location of one confirmed cougar sighting and four potential sightings, as reported during the Aug. 20 City Council meeting. Image by Google Maps
Fish and Wildlife make the cougar case at city council

Officials believe courgar has been “gone for some time.”

Mercer Island rotarians Beth Baska, Becca Palm, Soonok Kwak, Carol Friends, Steve DeVos and Brent Jordan standing with one of the island’s 20 peace poles. Picture by Tracy Drinkwater
Mercer Island Walk For Peace

Rotary Club takes walkers on a journey from peace pole to peace pole Sept. 21

Mercer Island resident Meredythe Glass poses with memorabilia from “The Wizard of Oz.” Glass was an extra in the film, and was be the guest of honor at a party at her retirement community celebrating Hollywood on Feb. 22. Photo courtesy of Greg Asimakoupoulos
“Wizard of Oz” cast member dies at 98

Meredythe Glass was one of the last surviving cast members of “The Wizard of Oz.” She died on Saturday at age 98.

Groveland Beach vandalized | Police Blotter

Police blotter for July 24 - Aug. 3.

Photo courtesy of Leah Llamas
                                IMS will drive a white van around the Island capturing photo and video footage of pavements and road signage.
The City will conduct a field survey of road conditions on the Island

Every three years, the city of Mercer Island gathers data on pavement… Continue reading

Courtesy of Elisha Deo. Vanna Nguyen and James Le, pictured, have been identified as the missing persons whose boat was found Sep. 2 near Mercer Island.
Mercer Island police, U.S. Coast Guard are searching for missing boaters

Man and woman were determined missing after police found their boat near Mercer Island.

Most Read