U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee officially got into the 2012 governor's race today, making the announcement at a morning press conference in Seattle and following up with another campaign stop in Yakima.
He'll be in Spokane, Vancouver and Tacoma on Tuesday. The Spokane event is scheduled for 4 p.m. at McKinstry, 850 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Inslee's entrance has been so well-known and long choreographed that The Spokesman-Review published an "announcement of the announcement" story last week.
Today we'll tell you some of the reaction, although that, too, is unsurprising. Democrats were magnanimous in their praise, Republicans pointed in their criticism. Here's a sampling:
Kirby Wilbur, Washington state Republican Party chairman: “Congressman Inslee has been in public office since the 1980’s, raising taxes and running up government spending,. The voters of Washington state will reject his out-of-touch politics again, just like they did in 1996 when he last ran for governor.”
(Election trivia 1: Inslee finished third among Democrats, and fifth overall in a 15-person primary that year.)
Dwight Pelz, Washington state Democratic Party chairman: ""With his laser focus on growing jobs, and strong base support from representing both sides of the mountain, Jay Inslee is the automatic front-runner for the Democratic nomination. He has more than what it takes to become our state's next chief executive."
(Election trivia 2: Inslee was once the representative for Central Washington's 4th Congressional District. He held that position for one term 1993-94, before losing to current occupant Doc Hasting. Inslee won the 1st District seat in 1998.)
Pelz also called Inslee "the automatic front-runner for the Democratic nomination." At this point, he seems to be the only runner, but perhaps that's being overly pedantic.
To see the full versions of these and other Inslee-related press releases, go inside the blog.
Dwight Pelz Applauds Jay Inslee for Entering Washington’s Gubernatorial Race
Seattle – Dwight Pelz, chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party, issued the following statement applauding Jay Inslee for his announcement that he will run for governor of Washington state:
"With his laser focus on growing jobs, and strong base support from representing both sides of the mountain, Jay Inslee is the automatic front-runner for the Democratic nomination. He has more than what it takes to become our state's next chief executive.
“What Washington needs now is a leader who knows what it takes to create jobs. Jay’s expertise in clean energy and track record of creating jobs is exactly what we need to build a working Washington.
“The proof is in Jay’s record. Jay has consistently promoted and supported our largest industries and employers, from aerospace manufacturing to high-tech to agriculture. He worked with the Washington delegation and the Boeing team to help secure the tanker contract.
“As governor, Jay will stand up for workers and industries, increase access to capital, and make Washington the number one place to do business in the country."
Congressman Jay Inslee: wrong on the issues since 1989
Congressman seeks promotion, but not based on his record
Bellevue – Now is his 15th year as one of the most liberal members of Congress, Jay Inslee returned to Washington state today to announce another run for governor.
“Congressman Inslee has been in public office since the 1980’s, raising taxes and running up government spending,” Republican State Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur said. “The voters of Washington state will reject his out-of-touch politics again, just like they did in 1996 when he last ran for governor.”
Congressman Inslee’s announcement provides a big contrast for voters. “If the Democrats indeed support Congressman Inslee, voters will have a clear choice between the hyper-partisan approach he has brought to Congress or changing the way things are done in Olympia,” said Wilbur.
The leading Republican candidate, State Attorney General Rob McKenna has demonstrated a record of bipartisanship; having introduced 44 bills passed by Democrat-controlled Legislatures and signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire. His successful legislation includes bills that helped dramatically reduce the number of meth labs in the state, increase penalties against sexual predators, bolster consumer protections and increase government accountability. Under his leadership, the Attorney General's Office played a leading role in negotiating and winning billions in settlements with national banks over mortgage lending practices, and pursued lawsuits against both Democrat and Republican-controlled White Houses to defend Washington’s interests.
On the other hand, Congressman Inslee’s record is straight party-line. National Journal ranks him as liberal as Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich (who’s threatening to move here to run for Inslee’s congressional seat) and Seattle’s Jim McDermott. On budget and tax issues, he receives failing grades from Citizens Against Government Waste, Americans for Fair Taxation, the National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, to name a few. Demonstrating his commitment to partisanship, his first speech on the House floor this year was to protest a reading of the U.S. Constitution.
“If Congressman Inslee is the best that the state Democratic Party has to offer for Governor, I’m pretty confident that Washington will soon have its first Republican Governor since 1984,” said Wilbur.
DGA Chair O’Malley Welcomes Jay Inslee to Washington Governor’s Race
Washington, D.C.-Today, Governor Martin O’Malley, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association, released the following statement:
“Jay Inslee’s decision to run for governor is good news for Democrats and even better news for the people of Washington State. As the author of one of the definitive books on clean energy, Jay knows what it takes to build the economy and create good-paying jobs in growing industries. He is the only candidate in this race with that experience.
“Keeping Washington blue is a top priority of the Democratic Governors Association and we will be fully invested in making that happen.”