Survey USA, polling for KING-TV in Seattle, ran a poll of the upcoming Washington gubernatorial race (1/26-28; 1,103 WA registered voters) and finds two-term Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who was an original presidential candidate, clearly leading the race but only with a rather tepid 39% support base. The next closest opponent barely tops double digits, as conservative anti-tax activist Tim Eyman, listed as an Independent candidate, had 11%. None of the potential Republican candidates broke even 5% support.
Since this poll was taken, Mr. Eyman announced that he will compete as a Republican. Though Gov. Inslee is showing weakness, the competition level suggests he will easily be re-elected for a third term. The Washington candidate filing deadline is May 15th for the August 4th jungle primary election. The top two candidates, regardless of percentage and political affiliation, will advance to the general election.
Just the second publicly released poll of the Washington State Democratic electorate comes from Survey USA (1/26-28; 536 WA likely Democratic primary voters) and, like in 2016, the numbers project Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to an advantage. Here, Sen. Sanders places first with 26% over former Vice President Joe Biden (21%), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (16%), and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (12%). In single digits are former Mayor Pete Buttigieg (8%), businessman Andrew Yang (4%), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (3%), and billionaire Tom Steyer (2%).
The Washington primary is scheduled for March 10th. Previously, Evergreen State voters chose delegates in a caucus system. In 2016, Sen. Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton here, 63-23%, with the remaining delegates going to the convention as uncommitted votes. In 2020, Washington will have 89 first ballot delegates, so this is a significant state and the second largest behind Michigan of the six domains that will vote on that particular day.
Four-term Washington Rep. Denny Heck (D-Olympia) announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election, expressing weariness over the continuous congressional investigations while renewing his criticism of President Trump.
The 10th District is a relatively compact seat that occupies parts of Pierce, Thurston, and Mason Counties, stretching from the state capital in Olympia to the city of Puyallup. The district is reliably Democratic and will be particularly so in 2020 since President Trump will not contest the state. Once Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) resigns after pleading guilty to one count of campaign finance violations, 34 seats will be open for the coming election, 23 from the Republican side and now eleven from their Democratic counterparts.
Washington state Republican leaders were trying to convince retired US Representative and former King County Sheriff Dave Reichert to return to the political wars and challenge Gov. Jay Inslee (D) next year. Yesterday, Mr. Reichert released a statement saying he has decided not to run and is confident the GOP will field a strong candidate to oppose Gov. Inslee. At this point, the Governor is favored to win a third term now that he is concentrating on state office after withdrawing from the presidential campaign.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced last night on The Rachel Maddow Show that he is withdrawing from the presidential race, saying that he understands he will not become the Democratic nominee. Mr. Inslee is the third candidate to leave the presidential race. Washington political sources say that Mr. Inslee will electronically announce that he will seek a third term as Governor later today.
Saying he has no clear path to deny Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) re-nomination, Bainbridge Island City Councilman Matt Tirman has already ended his Democratic primary challenge to the four-term Congressman. Mr. Tirman’s political move made little sense from its inception, and now Rep. Kilmer should easily sail to re-nomination and re-election.
It also looks like we will see a rerun of another 53-47% campaign, that in the state of Washington. In 2018, Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground/Vancouver) and college professor Carolyn Long (D) battled to a six-point finish. Ms. Long began a multi-city announcement tour this week, informing voters that she will return to the campaign trail to oppose the five-term GOP incumbent.
Another Democratic House member is likely to face a political primary from his ideological left. Yesterday, Bainbridge City Councilman Matthew Tirman (D) filed an exploratory committee to determine if he can raise adequate funding to challenge Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor). Mr. Kilmer was first elected in 2012 from the Tacoma anchored seat, replacing 18-term Congressman Norm Dicks (D), who retired. Rep. Kilmer has yet to face a serious re-election challenge and it is yet undetermined if Mr. Tirman can mount the type of effort needed to deny the Congressman re-nomination.
The Washington Democrats, at their state party meeting over the weekend, decided to convert their caucus nomination system into a primary. Earlier, the legislature and Governor took action to move the nomination event date from late in the cycle to March 10, 2020. Washington moving means that 69% of the first ballot delegate votes will likely be locked into place at the close of the primaries and caucuses to be held on March 17, 2020.
As expected, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee did announce his Democratic presidential bid on Friday, making him the twelfth official candidate with decisions pending from former Vice President Joe Biden, ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, and several others.
Gov. Inslee is basing his long shot presidential campaign around the climate change issue. But, perhaps the bigger element coming from his event came when a reporter asked him if announcing for President meant that he is ruling out running for a third term as Governor. Mr. Inslee quickly replied, “no, no, no!”
Because the Washington candidate filing deadline is not until May of 2020, Mr. Inslee can stay in the race through the critical March 17th primary election day when 65% of the first ballot delegate votes will be committed. If not a factor headed toward the national convention at that time, he will easily have time to revert back into another race for Washington Governor.
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