Gregoire expected to announce she won’t seek third term

  • Jerry Cornfield
  • Monday, June 13, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire will announce this morning she will not seek a third term, according to the Associated Press.

Gregoire will reveal her future plans at a 10 a.m. news conference at the executive mansion.

Gregoire said last week that she hoped to make a decision before departing later this week for the Paris Air Show.

If she doesn’t run, as many have long expected, it will likely mean U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., will enter the race.

Meanwhile, Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna announced his candidacy for the office June 8.

Gregoire entered office under a cloud of uncertainty following the closest gubernatorial race in state history.

She defeated Republican Dino Rossi by just 129 votes after a hand recount of 2.8 million votes.

As she took the oath of office in January 2005, a lawsuit filed by Republicans challenging the results was making its way through the courts. A Chelan County Superior Court judge upheld the outcome in June 2005.

During the 2004 election, a sour economy had then Democratic Gov. Gary Locke proposing tax hikes to help bridge an anticipated deficit.

But then the real estate market heated up and the economy boomed, pouring billions of dollars into the state’s general fund. Soon, the state had one of its largest ever surpluses and Gregoire made the most of the opportunity by steering billions of dollars into public schools, colleges and health care and human service programs.

But it’s been a different story in her second term as the worst recession in state history has forced her to trim or eliminate many of those same programs.

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