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May, 2nd 2011

Reichert to run for Governor?

– Liz Mair

On Friday night, he told KING5 he's looking at it:

Republican Congressman and former King County Sheriff Dave Reichert tells KING 5 News he may consider running for Governor.

Republicans expect Attorney General Rob McKenna will jump into the race, but Reichert says he's keeping all his options open too.

[...]

Reichert said he's considering both a run at the Senate, taking on Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell, but also the Governor's position back here in Washington state.

"It's pretty much the same answer, the senate race is out there, the Governor's race is out there, my race, is already in process," said Rep. Reichert.

Reichert says just because some Republicans have thrown support behind McKenna, that's not a reason to rule out his options.

"I've had calls, I've said, 'Look, I know Rob's the guy, and I think Rob would be an outstanding candidate,'" he said. "But he is so bright and so well-liked, I think he has a great chance of winning. But, no one knows."

My quick take: Were Reichert and McKenna to both run for the same office, it would turn into an intra-party fight in which I'm not sure I could take sides.  I'm a big fan of both of them, for entirely different reasons.

That being said, I suspect that Reichert has an easier time getting elected statewide, seeing as it's Washington, and not, say, a more purple state like New Mexico.  He does have a fairly conservative record, but also has demonstrated strength in some areas of interest to more liberal Seattle-area voters, in particular the environment (Reichert has a good record on conservation), and animal welfare issues (he's always prioritized this because he correctly sees cruel treatment of animals as a frequent precursor towards criminal, violent behavior towards humans and sadly, Washington has seen our share of serial killers, making us attuned to that as an issue for multiple, big reasons). 

McKenna, on the other hand, while fairly moderate, did join the suit against Obamacare, something that could prove a liability depending on how things shake out regarding that legislation.  True, I don't know many Evergreen State voters that like the individual mandate.  But as I've written before, in a match-up against Jay Inslee, health care could well become a dominant topic because of both candidates' records on the issue and that's something that, I suspect, does not benefit McKenna nearly as much as it does Inslee.  Washington has good health care infrastructure, compared to many states.  A lot of people who work in health care see it as opening up new opportunities, and not as a hindrance or an impediment.  

That being said, McKenna's skill set and previous experience looks more akin to what you expect to see in a gubernatorial candidate, whereas Reichert, having been a federal legislator for seven years now, would be more obviously suited to the Senate in some people's minds.  Inslee, who will presumably run for governor, is not, shall we say, widely regarded as having quite the demeanor many expect in a governor, and looks more easily beatable in a statewide contest than does Maria Cantwell.

The upshot?  I'd be tremendously happy to vote for either McKenna or Reichert for governor; Evergreen State moderates and conservatives should hope they get the chance to vote for them both for statewide offices, on different lines of the ballot, in the future. [intro]

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