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Gregoire withdraws from list for solicitor


OLYMPIA – Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire called the White House on Tuesday and took herself out of the running to replace Elena Kagan as solicitor general.

Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis said that she told officials that the time wasn’t right for her or the state, but that she was “humbled she may have been considered.”

Kagan was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. An Obama administration official previously told the Associated Press that Gregoire was among those being considered to replace Kagan, sparking much speculation on the political chaos that could ensue if she had indeed been offered and had taken the job.

If Gregoire became solicitor general, Democrat Lt. Gov. Brad Owen would become governor until a special election was held, though depending on the timing, he could also serve until the 2012 elections. There also could have been a special winner-take-all election held in November.

Curtis said Gregoire made her decision because of “the economic crisis and the need to be here to help navigate the state through that.”

The state faces an approximate budget deficit of $3 billion heading into the next two-year budget cycle.

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