Tag Archives: Jay Inslee

Goodbye to a father

The Inslee family had sad news today, news I have no doubt weighs heavily on the governor.

On Feb. 7, 2008 I saw then Congressman Jay Inslee campaign forcefully and effectively for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The next night, after a day of traveling from a Barack Obama campaign event at Key Arena to a John McCain rally at a downtown Seattle hotel, I boarded the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry. I was tired and it was Friday. The next day I would work the party caucuses, but this was downtime.

I hadn’t noticed that behind me on the boat sat Trudi Inslee, but I soon realized it as soon as I heard her husband’s distinctive voice. He was on the phone talking to someone about the last couple of days and he hadn’t noticed that he was talking within earshot of a reporter. His tone was animated. He was having fun, as if he were talking to a buddy. He had actually moved a few seats away on a fairly empty boat. I listened for hints of the rumors lots of people had shared, that maybe Clinton had a cabinet position for him if she won. No such luck, so I struck up a conversation with Trudi.

The congressman quit the conversation before reaching Bainbridge and he rejoined his wife. I joked with him about listening for rumors. He laughed along with the joke and told me he’d been talking to his dad. He seemed legitimately at peace. Since then I’ve only seen him or spoken to him in his official duties or campaigning, and his guard has never been down the way it was that night.

Over the next couple of years I talked to his staff about doing a story on the relationship between Inslee and his dad. But the economy had crashed and members of Congress were fighting town hall crowds over Obamacare. The 2010 election was rough and after that we took our time. Then Inslee quit to focus on a run for governor. We still considered the idea, even wondering if we could make it part of our election coverage in 2012. In the end it proved difficult. We gave up.

My interest in talking to Inslee and his dad was probably sparked by a development in my life. For more than five of the last seven years of his life my father lived with us in a house in the Illahee area. It wasn’t always an easy reality for our young family, because my dad, a former cop who also spent years coaching his three boys in the holy practice that is baseball, needed care from us. But even as the work grew harder I grew closer to my father, often pestering him to tell me stories about his childhood. We all knew the time could be fleeting and we did our best to enjoy it. My dad eventually became weak enough that we knew we could no longer provide him adequate care at home and he went to live in a local nursing home. We visited him often, but it will never seem like it was enough.

On election night, Nov. 7, 2012, the night Inslee would learn whether he had been elected governor, my father went into intensive care battling a lung infection that knocked him down. I watched the night’s election returns from Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton as my dad struggled to breathe. Four days later the infection would knock him out. He died on Veteran’s Day.

There isn’t a lot I have in common with Jay Inslee. He’s taller, better looking, is a basketball guy, was born and raised here and has always had a better-paying job. I’m not saying I’d trade lives with him. I’m just pointing out the obvious before I acknowledge there is one thing that we share. I could tell from his conversation he had on the boat that night that he loved and respected his dad, just as much as I did mine. And today he misses his dad the way I miss mine.

I don’t think I’m shedding any objectivity in sending my condolences to the governor and his family.

His official news release follows:

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Inslee stumps for Bowling

Just kidding. You're not really invited.
Just kidding. You’re not really invited.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was scheduled to be in town on Sunday for a campaign fundraiser for 35th Legislative District Senate candidate Irene Bowling, a Democrat.

We asked permission to go, but were informed the event at the Rice Fergus Miller building in Bremerton was closed to the press, not unusual for a fundraiser. We were disappointed, though, because we had an invitation. It was sent to us via Twitter from the 35th Legislative District Democrats. We should have been suspicious, though, because Twitter is unreliable. Remember, it was on Twitter that we first read that Dewey defeated Truman.

Suggested contributions for the fundraiser ranged from $50 for the “guest” level to $500 to be considered a “host.” While “guest” sounds right for me, $50 does not.

Inslee’s presence demonstrates his interest in seeing the state Senate taken back by Democrats, and Bowling’s race is against Tim Sheldon, a Democrat. Let me explain. He is a Democrat, but caucuses as a Republican, a reality that demands two weeks’ time for Washington State Civics teachers. In English class it makes for a complicated sentence diagram with lots of subservient clauses and semicolons.

Inslee wants Democrats in the Senate because he has big ambitions to tackle carbon emissions and would like the 2015 Legislature to cooperate. If Republicans are in charge of one of the chambers he fears his proposal will be as popular as a Richard Sherman biography at Crabtree and Evelyn. (They sell books, right?)

To get a Democratic majority Inslee is being aided by California billionaire Tom Steyer, who this week dropped $1 million into a committee, NextGen Climate Action Committee-Washington Sponsored by Tom Steyer. Steyer’s organization followed that with a news release saying it will target 25 percent of the voters in Washington. He’s doing the same in Oregon.

So far the committee hasn’t spent any real money, but this is what the news release said about Washington:

NextGen Climate will focus on races where there is an opportunity to discuss climate issues with voters, including, but not limited to supporting Tami Green in the 28th Senate District and Matt Isenhower in the 45th Senate District.

Whether any Steyer money finds its way to the 35th depends on party polling, which will reveal whether voters in the district are bucking the common assumption that voters who picked Republican Travis Couture in the primary will mostly side with Sheldon in the general election, since Couture was eliminated from the race. Sheldon thinks he’ll pick up most of Couture’s voters because he is more conservative. Bowling believes she will get most of the Couture voters, in some part because she is not Tim Sheldon.

An earlier $250,000 contribution to an independent committee set up to campaign for Bowling made some think there were signs Bowling could beat Sheldon. That changed when $225,000 was returned, leaving some to wonder what the polling says now.

As of Friday Bowling had raised about $150,000 and still had about $55,000 of that unspent. Sheldon has raised more, about $290,000, and has about $100,000 left to spend. A word or two from the governor might close the gap at least a little.

State payout to local counties $800,000 for election to replace Inslee in Congress

Kitsap County received $55,706.21 for its share of last year’s election to replace Jay Inslee in Congress for a month.

Jerry Corn at the (Everett) Herald has the story revealing the final amount the state paid to local counties to add an election to replace Jay Inslee in Congress.

Inslee resigned for his seat in Congress early in 2012 to focus on the governor’s race, which I’m guessing most of you know he won.

Beer tax video from both sides of the debate.

In preparing Friday’s story on local brewers’ reaction to a proposed beer tax I created a video. Technical difficulties (i.e. operator error) prevented me from getting the video up sooner. I still think it’s worthwhile, especially posted alongside Gov. Jay Inslee’s comments on the issue. So first, here’s Inslee discussing the tax during his March 28 press conference on the budget. That’s followed by the views of Valholl Brewing’s Jeff Holcomb, part owner and head brewer at the Poulsbo business.

The third video is more Inslee specifically addressing the tax.
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What was the biggest election surprise?

Did you participate in an election pool and lose because you picked Rob McKenna over Jay Inslee? Did you think Linda Simpson would carry her primary momentum into the general election and defeat Charlotte Garrido in the county commissioner’s race? Did you buy into Karl Rove’s “math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better” and think all the polls predicting an Obama victory were slanted?

Or was it something else? Was the margin of victory for gay marriage proponents slimmer than you thought it would be? Did Washington voters allowing for charter schools surprise you?

Let us know on the right, and in the comments section.

Big money likely to come from outside in Washington governor’s race

While attending the Rob McKenna fundraiser in Bremerton Thursday one of my first thoughts was of math.

Tables: 29
x Seats at each table: 8
= 232
x $125
= $29,000

There were a few empty seats in the back, but the $125 donation was a minimum. If everyone gave the maximum, $3,600, the total would be $835,200. The total is probably somewhere in between there and very likely closer to the first dollar figure. We’ll know a little more when the PDC reports come out next week itemizing donations from this week.

According to Thursday Public Disclosure Commission figures McKenna has raised $4,965,674.37, compared to Democratic contender Jay Inslee’s $5,365,475.95.

Inslee also stands to benefit from the $2.8 million that will be spent campaigning on his behalf by the union-backed PAC Our Washington.

There is no reason to suspect, however, that McKenna will not benefit from outside spending as well.

The National Institute on Money in State Politics reports that in the five years between 2005 and 2010 what independent groups spent targeting Washington candidates was about 45.3 percent compared to the money candidates raised themselves.

In 2010, when we didn’t have a governor race, the biggest independent spender in governors’ races across the country was the Republican Governors Association, about $26.5 million in just six races.

In Wisconsin’s recall election of Gov. Scott Walker, the local PAC for RGA spent $9.4 million on Walker’s behalf, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. About $5.7 million of that was in negative advertising against two Democrats who filed to run against Walker. In the end the RGA money spent on positive ads for Walker was about the same as the organization’s negative ads against the Democrats’ eventual nominee, Tom Barrett, about $3.7 million each.

Those figures are outside the $30.5 million Walker raised himself for the recall, compared to Barrett’s $3.9 million.

Inslee already has more than Barrett did, but assuming this race gets attention nationally, we are only seeing the beginning of how much money will be spent in Washington on the governor’s race. No poll is showing a runaway win for either candidate, so it’s easy to believe that more big money will be flowing into this state.

The confusion in the 1st

The Seattle Times editorial board was critical of several would-be members of Congress who decided to run both for the temporary seat and the permanent one. I wish the issue were that easy to describe for us in Kitsap, but let’s save that conversation for later in this blog post.

The Times’ criticism points out that candidates like Darcy Burner, who was the first to declare she’d run in both races, get to raise twice as much money this way for mailers and the like, because she can raise money for two different elections. (Confused already? I don’t blame you. I’ll explain it all later. I keep promising that, I know.) I mention Burner specifically, because she’s the one who started the cascade of candidates running for the full two-year term that begins in January to also run for the one-month job (It might be longer. I know, that’s confusing.) That ends in January to fill the last month of Jay Inslee’s congressional term. He resigned earlier this year to focus on his bid for the governor’s office. Burner was joined in running for both seats by Democrats Suzan DelBene, Laura Ruderman and Darshan Rauniyar. Republican John Koster joined in as well. Democrat Steve Hobbs declined, saying the move by the other candidates was motivated by money. The Times editorial didn’t mention that independent candidate Larry Ishmael also declined.

The Times may be off the mark in question the point of a one-month congressional job. There could be some important items to vote on, such as the budget, the extension of the Bush tax cuts and an income tax deduction for Washington residents.

But I think the Times may also have a case in suggesting candidates will raise money for both races, but do you think anyone Kitsap County will see any mailers from candidates for the one-month job? The Times opines that all the benefit of the extra money will go toward winning the permanent seat.

So let’s again explain why this is happening.

First off, Jay Inslee resigned from Congress, and congressional officials said federal law stipulates that an election to replace him during his term must happen. If he had resigned with a month left that wouldn’t have been necessary, but he is out of the seat for long enough that congressional officials believe it merits electing a replacement.

Had this not been a redistricting year the state would have had the option of taking the winner of the general election and appointing him or her to the seat early. Because it’s a redistricting year and the 1st District boundaries have been changed dramatically, whoever gets elected in the 1st will be representing a vastly different area than the current 1st. So voters in Bainbridge would be represented for one month by someone they had no say in choosing.

So on the primary and general election ballot voters in about half of Kitsap County, the part currently in the 1st Congressional District, will pick a member to fill the remainder of Inslee’s term from about early December to early January and a congressman in the 6th Congressional District, with that term beginning in early January.

In the final candidate filing story last week I tried to simplify the discussion by writing this:

“Candidates for the new 1st Congressional District, which does not include any portion of Kitsap County, had all held back on running for the temporary seat, which carries the northern portion of the county and Bainbridge Island.”

I received an email from someone confused by that paragraph. A different person used the story comments to express befuddlement. I admit that there are times I can write things clearer than I do, but in this case I think the issue is confusing and difficult to boil down in a single sentence. I think I did pretty well, and it’s still confusing.

So let me try this.

If you live in the 6th Congressional District now, you have nothing to figure out.
If you live in the 1st Congressional District in Kitsap County, you will be electing two members of Congress this year. One will be in the 6th Congressional District, because beginning in January you will no longer be in the 1st. You will be in the 6th. That member of Congress will serve a regular term. The other member of Congress you elect will be in the 1st District and will only serve for the last month you will live in the 1st District.

Are we clear yet?

First in Kitsap: Representation for one month

The First congressional will have an election at the end of this year and it will be in the old boundaries. That means residents who live in the current first district (me and about half the county) will vote for a member of congress in two different districts.

The first will be the one to temporarily replace Jay Inslee, who resigned as congressman to run full time for governor. The other will be to vote for the replacement for Norm Dicks, who retires at the end of this term.

So if you’ve ever wanted to be a member of Congress, but two years is just too dang long, this could be your chance to fill in temporarily, get a decent little salary, free mail and a travel allowance.

The governor’s press release follows.

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The one-month member of Congress

Now comes word that the state may have to hold an election to fill the last month of Jay Inslee’s term within the boundaries of the district he represents.

That means for one month people in Central to North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island could have a member of Congress after all. According to an AP story we have on our site, the election would be held at the same time voters here would be electing a new member of Congress in the Sixth district.

Detailed information follows, but I can’t tell you how much it pains me that I can’t run for the job. It seems like one month in Congress would be about right, especially because the entire body is in recess for much of the time. I would consider it an amazing and lucrative addition to the internships I had in the 1980s, one as a reporter and the other working in a senator’s press office. I got paid nothing in the senator’s office and $100 a week stipend as a reporter. Or maybe it was $100 a month. A month in Congress is worth $14,500, which is significantly (I mean ginormously significant) more than I make now.

I could go as an independent. The problem is, I might have to vote on something. In fact, I would probably have to have public opinions on a lot of things, even if I didn’t have to vote. Then I’d have to come back and report on things, and someone would be there saying, “But you voted for the darn thing,” and someone would be right.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of any party for a one-month term as your congressman.

The Secretary of State’s office statement follows.

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Fallout from Inslee’s resignation

The announcements from both parties were politically predictable in the wake of Jay Inslee’s decision to quit being a member of Congress for the rest of the year.

“It’s shameful of Congressman Inslee to lie to his constituents and the people of Washington about his intentions,” said WSRP Chairman Kirby Wilbur.

“It was a difficult decision, but what I need to do right now is focus all my attention on talking to people about what’s really important – creating jobs and growing our economy,” said Inslee.

The reaction from traditional allies on the left, however, has not been kind. Joel Connelly at seattlepi.com and Nina Shapiro at SeattleWeekly.com compared his decision to Sarah Palin’s resignation as Alaska governor. There is other precedent for it being a successful move. Neil Abercrombie left Congress to run for governor of Hawaii.

For locals the bigger impact is half of Kitsap County will not have a member of Congress to vote for them for the rest of the year and a few days into 2013. His staff will continue to work to help constituents. I don’t know how much heft is loss when those staff members don’t have a member of Congress.

Some members of the First District will have a member of Congress for the month between election certification and inauguration. Whoever wins the First District race in November will begin serving the district as soon as the election is certified. That new member of Congress however, will be serving in the new boundaries drawn up as part of redistricting. That means about half of all Kitsap residents will still have to wait until Jan. 3, 2013 when the new Sixth District member of Congress is sworn in.

Because of redistricting, it also means that some Washington residents will have two members of Congress, wherever the new First and the old districts overlap. Lucky them, I guess.

Rob McKenna on gay marriage, working with Democrats, health care . . .

This picture is upside down. These mirrors and lights were on the ceiling, so in reality the people in them appeared to heels over head. This was a shot from Rob McKenna's visit visit the CK GOP Women Thursday.
Gay marriage did not come up in the two Rob McKenna events I attended Thursday. The most likely place all day it would have was with the Central Kitsap Republican Women.

During the business round table McKenna hosted in the evening he spoke with me as the small groups conversed. His main point on gay marriage is that it is inevitably going to go before voters, and that if Washington is going to change its policy that it should be voters who make that call.

McKenna said he voted for the domestic partnership law in 2009, which was supposed to give same-sex couples registered as domestic partners all the same rights the state allows married couples. If it isn’t working out that way, he said, then the state should address where a gay couples’ rights are being denied and fix it. He said it is not a constitutional issue, that the courts have upheld the state’s definition of marriage. “I support traditional marriage,” he said. “It’s a policy question. Do we want to redefine marriage?”

On his points about reforming workers’ compensation laws, Labor & Industries, health care, liability laws, I asked him where he thought he would get the most buy-in from the Legislature should both houses remain Democratic. He said the Legislature has already initiated some reform with workers’ comp, but that a move to privatize the insurance might be controversial. He said it doesn’t have to be for-profit insurers competing, that it could be limited to non-profits. He said Washington system is failing employees and employers because of the monopoly in place now.

McKenna also said he would think introducing tools like tax-increment financing (now unconstitutional) might be doable as well. A form of it is already in place in Gig Harbor with St. Anthony’s Hospital and in Bremerton with the parking garage that will be topped by a movie theater.

In health care he and Inslee are on the same page that Medicare reimbursements should be based on results rather than how many services are provided. Governors, McKenna said, would need to band together to influence the federal government to make those changes, that they already have successfully in some cases.

During lunch one in attendance said he thought McKenna’s chances of being successful in his challenge of the mandate portion of health care reform were great. I asked him if he was as optimistic. “I think the odds . . . are 5-4.” It only took me about 10 seconds to get the joke. Whatever happens, it won’t be surprising if the U.S. Supreme Court votes 5-4 one way or the other.

Back on the gay marriage issue I asked, in a roundabout way, if having it on a ballot favors him or Jay Inslee in the governor’s race. It’s something I addressed in the last paragraph of an earlier blog post about same-sex marriage. McKenna said there is a lot of debate about it, that he doesn’t know. In 2004 Republican Dino Rossi might have won the election had it been on the ballot in Washington as it was in other states. But many supporters of same-sex marriage rights believe public sentiment has shifted enough that it might work in Democrats’ favor now.

I’m not certain we’re going to find out. If the Legislature does pass a bill granting marriage to same-sex couples, I believe the question will end up on a ballot. Getting enough signatures will not be that difficult, I predict, especially because getting a referendum to undo a legislative action requires half the signatures a regular initiative does.

In either case, I tend to believe both sides would be able to gather enough signatures to get something ready for an election, but I’m not as certain gay marriage proponents will launch an initiative if the Legislature doesn’t act this session.

Initiative 71, the 2009 “Everything but Marriage” referendum, passed with 53.15 percent support. McKenna said he supported it, but he doesn’t want to call it “marriage.” Neither does radio talk show host Dori Monson.

Before the 2009 election I wrote on this blog:

Nationally, though, 71 seems to be getting little attention at all, and for me I wonder if it goes back to the fact that Washington would call gay committed relationships “domestic partnerships” and not “marriage.” I get e-mails from one of the chief opponents of gay marriage and in the most recent correspondences there were mentions of efforts in Maine, Iowa, the District of Columbia and New York. On Washington? Zero.

It’s early yet, but the energy this time, three years later, feels different. The opposition last time was splintered. Do you think there are lots of voters out there who, like McKenna, supported 71 but would not support calling gay couples “married?” Does the word mean that much?

Bainbridge could join Belfair in Congress

Congressional redistricting appears to be close to a real proposal within the state’s redistricting commission. Slade Gorton and Tim Ceis said they have a proposal ready and will provide drawings at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Don’t be surprised if there is a significant change in what was proposed earlier, but it’s worth noting that all four proposals had the entirety of Kitsap County in District Six, currently represented by Congressman Norm Dicks of Belfair.

Currently the county is pretty much cut in half between the Sixth and First districts, with the Firsties being represented by Congressman Jay Inslee, who wants to be governor. That candidacy was likely what opened the door to combining all of Kitsap into one district. Perhaps it shouldn’t have mattered, but these lines are not completely drawn without consideration for where the incumbent lives.

In California, it appears, efforts to depoliticize the process may have failed this time around, with Democrats figuring out how to game the system while Republicans sat on the sidelines. An extensive ProPublica report tells how.

Though all four proposals initially had the entirety of Kitsap in one district, moving parts in one place requires moving them elsewhere. So some of the county, particularly Bainbridge, could find itself aligned with a Seattle-area district again.

Legislative maps that earlier included a call for uniting Bainbridge with Port Townsend should be out later in the week. The deadline is Saturday, or else it goes to the state Supreme Court.

All Kitsap to be part of Sixth Congressional District under all plans

All four redistricting commissioners would take all of Kitsap County and make it completely fall within the Sixth Congressional District, moving the First District completely across Puget Sound.

Even though this is the case now, in theory this could change. The commissioners vary drastically on where they put the new Congressional District. Any jockeying of that could, in theory, result in some lines moving.

If Jay Inslee were not running for governor, it’s not likely this would have happened. At least Bainbridge would likely have remained in the First District. Again, politics are not supposed to be part of the equation, but a long time ago it was explained to me that the commission’s first unofficial task is to protect the incumbents.

We’ll post more later.

Election 2012: This may or may not matter

Everything shared here could be considered moot by the end of the year, depending on what the redistricting commission comes up with. If we lose the First Congressional District completely, then this won’t really matter to a Kitsap audience.

Speaking of redistricting, in California 29 of the state’s 53 incumbents were drawn into new districts. A member of congress does not have to live in the district being represented, but it’s usually kind of a good idea.

The point here was to discuss the names of candidates seeking to replace Jay Inslee. According to the Federal Elections Commission, four candidates have filed to run for the First District seat in 2012. Republican James Watkins will try again and is for now the only Republican.

On the Democratic side state Rep. Marko Liias of Edmonds is running, as is Sammamish state Rep. John Goodman and business owner Darshan Rayniyar.

In the Sixth District Republican Jesse Young hopes to improve on his third-place finish in 2010 and will be joined by fellow Republican Robert Sauerwein in a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks of Belfair.

Are you wondering whether Jay Inslee is running for governor?

Now that Gov. Chris Gregoire is about to make it official she will not seek a third term, you may be wondering whether fellow Democrat, Bainbridge Island Congressman Jay Inslee would announce his intentions today.

He won’t.

That’s what his campaign contact Joby Shimomura said to me just moments ago. She also said the suggestion that now that Gregoire has announced that Inslee isare not true.

“That is not the case,” she said. He is still considering it. “He’ll make his decision known shortly.”

If you’d be surprised if Inslee decided to not run, you would not be alone.

UPDATE: Here’s the official statement from Inslee’s office: “I appreciate the Governor’s service during these difficult economic times. Today is her day. I will make my intentions on the Governor’s race known shortly.”

President Barack Obama issued this statement: “I applaud Governor Gregoire for her decades of outstanding service to the people of Washington. From Seattle to Pullman, Gov. Gregoire has demonstrated relentless determination in her efforts to foster economic growth, strengthen the communities she serves and improve the lives of millions of Americans. As a fierce advocate for American businesses, she continues to work tirelessly to promote American goods, open up new markets and strengthen American businesses abroad. As chairwoman of the National Governors Association, Gov. Gregoire not only fosters strong bipartisanship among her colleagues, she helps build common-sense solutions to some of our nation’s toughest problems. Michelle and I, along with the people of Washington, will miss her outstanding leadership and thank her for her years of service.”

Redistricting and the peninsula

During the conversation yesterday with state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, I asked him about other whispers he’s hearing down in Olympia about the impact of redistricting.

By the way, I called Sheldon because he has been through two of these before.

Sheldon mentioned that he thinks Brinnon could become part of the 35th District because the area is part of the Mason County Public Utility District.

In years past there have been conversations about extending the 23rd District into Jefferson County. I don’t think it has been seriously considered by the group of redistricting commissioners, but there is some sentiment that Port Townsend is a good match with Bainbridge Island. Geographically it is a stretch.

What may make more sense to some is linking Bainbridge to a district in Seattle. Still, not very likely, and one commenter on the story thought the notion ridiculous.

I read our stories from 1991 and 2001 and in both cases there was a large group who thought Kitsap should only have two legislative districts. I’m not sure why that would be better politically for this area. At first glance it does seem like more is better. Bremerton itself is represented by nine different legislators, even though not one legislator is actually from Bremerton.

One of the impacts of redistricting worth watching is that 35th District swing. The district will still likely take in all of Mason County. It’s the fringes that are worth taking notice of.

The reason I believe we are more likely to lose the 35th District, or at least part of it, is because of where the incumbents live. Sheldon (Potlatch) and state Rep. Kathy Haigh (Shelton) both are in Mason County. Fred Finn lives near Olympia in Thurston County.

Several months ago I did another story on redistrictings and spoke with the man many agree is the state’s foremost expert on the subject, Dick Morrill. By e-mail he told me, “The commission’s first unwritten rule is to protect incumbents.”

So you would think, assuming what Morrill said is true, that the 35th District’s emphasis in the redistricting plan would favor Thurston County over Kitsap. I don’t know specifically where the population growth has happened in Thurston County, so it could be that the 35th won’t change much at all. Sheldon said he thought not many incumbents will find themselves in a new district.

Sheldon also said state Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, is considering running for Congress should Jay Inslee run for governor, as practically everyone is assuming. What isn’t so clear, however, is what district Liias will live once redistricting is done. If Inslee does announce he’s running for governor, there’s no incumbent to protect, so the First Congressional District could see wild swings.

This again goes to the idea that all of Kitsap County could be in one congressional district represented by Norm Dicks. Imagine that. And if Bainbridge were lumped with Seattle legislatively, we could have 12 legislators representing the county.

Here’s a cliche for you: The possibilities are endless. Actually, they’re not. They pretty much range from Kitsap having one or two members of Congress and two-four legislative districts. That’s not exactly endless, is it.

Is Dennis Kucinich congressional district shopping?

Toward the end of Dennis Kucinich’s speech on Bainbridge Sunday, he told the audience, “I’m determined to continue my work in the U.S. Congress. I just don’t know what district I’ll be running in.”

At first it didn’t occur to me he might be thinking of moving from Ohio. Then I began to wonder, “Is he looking for a new district somewhere in the United States, anywhere in the United States? Then the wondering begins even further. Could Kucinich move to Washington and take over for U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee if he runs for governor?

No one shouted “Run here!” at least not loud enough for me to hear.

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one wondering, though, if Kucinich was out shopping for a congressional district. Joel Connelly at seattlep-i.com had the same thought. Connelly speculates more on Bellingham and Olympia, places that could be home to the next Washington congressional seat.

My thought is the odds would be long against Kucinich pulling it off in the First District, Inslee’s district. Inslee wins by big margins here, but I don’t think he is perceived as being as far to the left at Kucinich. I don’t know about Bellingham or Olympia, but Connelly expresses doubts about how those towns will fare in redistricting.

The one place I think Kucinich could have a good shot is in Seattle, but I haven’t heard any whispers of Jim McDermott’s retirement.

Inslee, McKenna getting out there

The two elected officials who have earned top-two status well before there is even a top-two primary were out on the public speaking trail last week. We can’t officially call it a campaign trail yet, because doing so would mean someone would have to file papers somewhere in Olympia.

Rob McKenna, attorney general, gave a speech last Wednesday that sounded the same as the one he gave Thursday in Port Orchard. In both he called for a “performance culture” in Washington state government.

From the Seattle P-I story:

Sounding very much like the gubernatorial candidate he is expected to soon become, Attorney General Rob McKenna told a Seattle audience on Wednesday that the state needs to change the way it evaluates and manages employees to reward the best and weed out the worst.

Inslee was in Yakima, focusing on family, community, education and workers.

From the Yakima Herald-Republic story:

Congressman Jay Inslee shared his beliefs and dropped hints of an impending run for governor in a speech Saturday night at the Yakima County Democrats’s annual Roosevelt Dinner.

Anticipating the 2012 governor’s race

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, in an interview on KCTS, said he will have to decide sometime this year, and not too late, whether he plans to run for governor in 2012.

The most often mentioned potential opponent, Bainbridge Island Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee, will be speaking to the island Rotary club tonight. The Kitsap Sun’s Tristan Baurick will be there. I would not expect Inslee to make any kind of announcement tonight. It might be too soon after the most recent election and the current governor has not officially made her plans known yet.