EVERETT — Rumors that Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon could soon launch a bid for governor or Congress have percolated throughout his ongoing reelection campaign.
The rumors aren’t true, according to Reardon and Democratic Party leaders.
The executive said he’s focused on win
ning another four years as the county’s chief administrator — and serving out the term.
“Sorry to disappoint,” Reardon said before an election event last week in Edmonds.
Reardon is facing state Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens, on Nov. 8. If he wins, Reardon, 40, would be entering his third and final term as executive.
Media from outside Snohomish County have fed speculation about Reardon’s near-term plans by dropping his name in connection with the 2012 governor’s race.
A post on Seattle-based political news website PubliCola last month said Reardon declined to confirm or deny speculation that he might jump into the race for governor. The site reported Reardon saying he was “flattered that my name keeps coming up, but all I’m thinking about right now is continuing the work we’re doing to bring jobs to Snohomish County.”
Last week, Reardon said that exchange wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.
The Democrats have picked their candidate for the 2012 governor’s race, and that’s U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz said. The party contributed a quarter-million dollars to the Inslee campaign for an expected match-up next year against Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna. The state party gave Reardon $5,000 for his current reelection campaign.
“Aaron has told me he is running for county executive and not for governor,” Pelz said. “And I asked him about Congress and he told me he wasn’t interested.”
Similarly, Bill Phillips, chairman of the Snohomish County Democrats, said he’s trying to get Reardon reelected.
“The only thing Aaron has asked for my help with is his race for county executive, and that’s as far as I know the only thing he’s running for,” Phillips said.
Leaders from the state Republican Party remained skeptical, though.
“There’s no way to know for sure what he will really do,” state GOP Executive Director Peter Graves said. “I just assume he’ll be doing whatever he thinks is best for him and not Washingtonians.”
Another possible reason for the persistent speculation: the origin of Reardon’s campaign money. Most of his cash is from donors outside Snohomish County, particularly from Seattle and the Eastside suburbs.
In any event, Reardon appears to have an advantage heading toward next month’s election. In August’s primary, Reardon won 52.1 percent of the vote to Hope’s 47.6 percent. At last check, Reardon had $283,000 in campaign cash and had only spent about $87,000. Hope, by contrast, had raised a little over $142,000 and spent all but about $2,000 of that.
Both men say they are most concerned with local jobs and the economy.
On Tuesday, Hope, who has served as a Marine Corps reservist, launched what he called an “assault on unemployment” and made a call to stay focused on “creating sustainable jobs.” He dramatized the message by riding around downtown Edmonds in a Pinzgauer, an off-road military vehicle originally developed in Austria. Hope planned to repeat the stunt in downtown Everett at noon today.
Reardon’s job pitch has focused on convincing the Boeing Co. to manufacture the new version of its 737 jet in Snohomish County.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, email@example.com.