Gregoire begs off solicitor general list

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire called the White House today and took herself out of the running to replace Elena Kagan as solicitor general.

Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis said that she told officials that the time wasn’t right for her or the state, but that she was “humbled she may have been considered.”

Kagan was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. An Obama administration official previously said that Gregoire was among those being considered to replace Kagan, sparking much speculation on the political chaos that could ensue if she had indeed been offered and had taken the job.

If Gregoire became solicitor general, Democrat Lt. Gov. Brad Owen would become governor until a special election was held, though depending on the timing, he could also serve until the 2012 elections. There also could have been a special winner-take-all election held in November.

Gregoire previously said that she didn’t know what she would do if President Barack Obama offered her the job, but on Friday, she said she was going to take the weekend to talk with her family and think about whether or not to remove herself from consideration.

Several former Washington state officials currently work in Washington, D.C., including former King County Executive Ron Sims, who was sworn in last year as deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; former Gov. Gary Locke was tapped as commerce secretary last year; and former Seattle Chief Gil Kerlikowske, who is Obama’s drug czar.

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