Although candidates for the 2015 election may be shoulder-to-the-wheel, nose-to-the-grindstone right now, the 2016 crop of candidates isn’t far behind.
On Friday, State Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Seattle, launched a campaign for lieutenant governor next year. His press release announced he was doing this with the support of several legislative colleagues and he hoped to “elevate the office as an advocate for kids, colleges and global partnerships.”
Folks running for lieutenant governor often have lofty goals for the office, but one of the main tasks of the Number 2 state executive is presiding over the Senate, which involves calling on members to speak as they stand to offer wisdom on pieces of legislation. On this, Habib is an interesting candidate, because he has been blind since age 8 from a rare form of cancer.
That wouldn’t disqualify him from holding the job, Brad Owen, the five-term incumbent and current occupant, said. Lieutenant governors have advisers and staff on the dais, and Habib could have an aide there as a spotter.
But Owen hasn’t decided that he’s not running for re-election. In fact, he filed his notice of candidacy with the Public Disclosure Commission on Thursday.
“We’re just keeping our options open until my wife and I have time to decide,” he said. Habib getting into the race would be “totally irrelevant to my decision,” he added.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, has said he will not run for governor. Hill is the Senate Republicans chief budget maven as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. That’s a powerful position, but not usually a stepping stone to higher elective office, as predecessors including Dino Rossi could attest.
That keeps Seattle Port District Commissioner Bill Bryant as the leading Republican to take on Democratic incumbent Jay Inslee.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has also filed for re-election to what would be his fifth term.