Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Governor Brad Owen?

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 16, 2010

Lt. Governor Brad Owen will become Washington’s 23rd governor
if Christine Gregoire follows former Governor Gary Locke and former King County Executive Ron Sims to the other Washington. One wonders why it took so long to find her a job in the Obama administration. After all, she was an early supporter of Obama when most assumed she would be on Hillary’s unstoppable presidential train plus two other female governors who endorsed Obama, Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, got Cabinet appointments. Gregoire has said she wants to be Governor and was not interested in a Federal job. Since then, however, she has presided over a mini California style budget crisis, broke a major campaign promise not to raise taxes in a recession with $800 million in new taxes, dropped to 31% approval rating and her older daughter works in D.C. so a two year hiatus back East might now be more appealing.

According to a spokesman for the Secretary of State, there are four scenarios if Brad Owen took over. If Gregoire resigns: 1) By the end of May, there would be a primary and a November general election to choose a new governor. 2) After May but before October 3, no primary but a November election with all candidates on the ballot, top vote getter wins 3) After October 3, Owen remains Governor until 2012 elections. 4) The Legislature calls a special election for 2011. Since the Democrats would not want to give Dino Rossi an early third shot at governor and confirmation votes on Supreme Court nominee and current Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, followed by hearings and votes on Gregoire as her replacement could run into October and beyond, it would be Governor Owen at least through 2012.

Major battles will erupt among various Democrats coveting the governor’s chair in two years. Things will be smoother on the Republican side. By 2012, Rossi will be old news or a U. S. Senator and all but announced candidate, Attorney General Rob McKenna, will be running hard for Governor. Speaking of McKenna, wouldn’t be ironic if Solicitor General Gregoire faced AG McKenna in the coming Supreme Court fight over Obamacare?

Cross posted on Sound Politics

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