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White House: Gregoire on short list to replace Elena Kagan

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire is on the White House’s short list to replace Elena Kagan as the solicitor general. The question is, would she take the job if it’s offered?

So far, there’s no word out of the governor’s office.

Kagan was recently nominated by President Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gregoire’s press office at first said she wasn’t on any list. But after the White House confirmed the governor was being considered, her spokesman, Cory Curtis said: “Nobody has offered her the job yet, or even told her she’s on the short list.”

When asked if she’d take the job if offered, Curtis said: “She hasn’t been offered the job yet, so she can’t answer that.”

An unnamed White House official declined to disclose other names on the short list.

Gregoire has been rumored as a candidate for White House posts ever since Obama was elected. There was speculation she could be a candidate for commerce secretary (a job given to former Gov. Gary Locke) and even the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is the first time it’s been confirmed she’s actually on a list of names. Sources at the White House and in the state congressional delegation said she’s being considered.

If Gregoire did take the job, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen would take over as governor. How long he’d stay in the job would depend on when it came open.

Dave Ammons, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, said if Greogire left this month, there would be both a primary and general election to pick a new governor.

If she left after this month, but before Oct. 3, there would be a special filing period and then anybody who filed for the office could run for governor. It would be a free-for-all.

If Gregoire left after Oct. 3, Owen would stay in office until 2012, although there’s a possibility for the state Legislature to set a special election for 2011.

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U.S. Gulf Coast prepares as Alberto brings wind, rain north

UPDATED: 9:03 p.m.

Florida and Mississippi launched emergency preparations Saturday ahead of the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto, a slow-moving system expected to cause wet misery across the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.