OLYMPIA — Jay Inslee’s not-so-timely departure from Congress could result in a special election in Western Washington. Special, the way the Church Lady used to say the word on “Saturday Night Live.”
The Secretary of State’s office is exploring the possibility of a special election this fall to fill the remainder of Inslee’s term in Washington’s 1st Congressional District. But there's a catch…
The 1st is undergoing radical change, courtesy of the Redistricting Commission, which regarded the district’s boundaries as extremely pliable because Inslee wasn’t seeking re-election and no one could complain it was being gerrymandered to make it easier or harder for him to keep his seat.
The election to fill out his term would take place among voters in the old 1st District. The election to fill the seat starting in 2013 would take place among voters in the new 1st District.
Some voters would be voting for two 1st District members of Congress. If that’s not confusing enough, others would be voting for a short-termer in the 1st and a new full-timer in another district, like the 6th.
Inslee’s resignation is effective on Wednesday. The replacement couldn’t take office until the election is certified on Dec. 6. So all of this would be for someone to hold the office for about a month.
Had Inslee resigned before March 6, the state law would’ve required a special election this spring to fill the seat. As it is, the law says the “special election” coincides with the regular state primary and general.
Elections experts for the Secretary of State and governor are studying the options. State Republicans are, not surprisingly, critical of Inslee’s timing.