By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire said Monday a special election to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee will be held in the old boundaries of the 1st Congressional District and it may cost taxpayers as much as $770,000 to conduct.
The special election will be held in conjunction with this year’s regularly scheduled primary and general elections. The top two vote-getters in August would advance to the November ballot with the winner able to take office in December when results are certified.
Inslee resigned last month to run full time for governor this fall. He will likely face state Attorney General Republican Rob McKenna, who is a Republican. Gregoire said state law and the Constitution require she call an election even though the winner will serve less than a month.
The past several days she’s been trying to figure out if she could conduct it in the new boundaries drawn up through redistricting rather than the old ones. But it became clear the U.S. House would not seat the winner of a special election unless they won in the same district that Inslee served.
“I am concerned about the voter confusion that could result,” Gregoire said in a statement. “This is an unusual situation where an election to fill a vacancy occurs in a year of redistricting. The result is some voters will cast a ballot in the current 1st District for the special vacancy election and will also cast a vote in their new district for their next representative in Congress.
“I’ve asked the Secretary of State to work with county election officers to pursue an aggressive voter education campaign so constituents understand the votes they are casting. I also ask the media to help educate and inform the public in the existing and new 1st Congressional Districts,” she said.
Secretary of State Sam Reed estimated the state will spend as much as $770,000 to reimburse Snohomish, King and Kitsap counties for their costs in conducting the election in the old district boundaries.
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; email@example.com.
10 in Congress didn’t finish their terms
Since 1889, 10 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington did not complete their terms. Here are those members and the reasons why they did not finish their time in office:
Jay Inslee, Democrat, 1st District: Resigned March 20 to run full-time for governor.
Brock Adams, Democrat, 7th District. Resigned Jan. 22, 1977, to become the U.S. secretary of transportation. Adams left after being elected and sworn in to his sixth term in the House. He was appointed secretary of transportation by President Jimmy Carter.
Russell Vernon Mack, Republican, 3rd District. Died March 28, 1960. Mack died of a heart attack on the House floor midway through his 11th term.
Fred B. Norman, Republican, 3rd District. Died in office April 18, 1947. Norman died in Washington, D.C., early in his second non-consecutive term in the House.
Charles Henry Leavy, Democrat, 5th District. Resigned to become a judge Aug. 1, 1942. Leavy had served for two and a half terms in the House before resigning.
Marion Zioncheck, Democrat, 1st District: Committed suicide Aug. 7, 1936. Zioncheck had made a decision not to run, but at the last minute changed his mind and asked King County Prosecuting Attorney Warren Magnuson to drop out of the race. Magnuson refused. Later that day, Zioncheck jumped out the fifth story window of Seattle’s Arctic building.
Samuel Billingsley Hill, Democrat, 5th District. Resigned to become a judge June 25, 1936. Hill served in the House through his seventh term and left to become a judge on the U.S. Board of Tax Appeals. He had won a special election to the 5th District to replace John Stanley Webster, who also left to become a judge.
Wesley Lloyd, Democrat, 6th District. Died in office Jan. 10, 1936. Lloyd died in a Washington, D.C., hospital early in the second year of his second term.
John Stanley Webster, Republican, 5th District. Resigned to become a judge May 8, 1923. Webster served two and a half terms in the House before accepting an appointment as a U.S. District Court judge for Eastern Washington.
Francis W. Cushman, Republican, 2nd District. Died in office July 6, 1909. Cushman died in New York City six months into his 10th term in the House.
Source: Patrick J. McDonald, Secretary of State’s office