Speaking of 2012, if you thought this year’s election was intriguing, just wait for the fun we have in store, when a depleted political bench vies for a smorgasbord of tantalizing open seats over the next few years.
Let’s start at the top, where every indication is that Gov. Chris Gregoire will most definitely not run for a third term, setting up the long anticipated showdown between Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee and Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna. Other incumbents considering abandoning their offices for a shot at the governor’s mansion include Democratic state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, and nominally Democratic State Auditor Brian Sonntag, but Inslee and McKenna are just about sure things.
That of course leaves their seats open, which at this point has the AG’s race looking like a runoff between two King County Council members, Democrat Bob Ferguson and Republican Reagan Dunn, the winner of which leaves his seat open for the taking. As for Inslee’s 1st CD seat, depending on its boundaries after redistricting, that might be an attractive target for Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, and any number of legislative and council incumbents of both parties.
And speaking of congressional seats, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect at least one or two more to come open in 2012. No doubt 74-year-old Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-07) was rejuvenated by a stint in the majority these past four years, but nobody would be surprised to hear him announce his retirement… an announcement that itself could open up more than a few legislative seats amongst the horde of Congressional wannabes. Meanwhile, Rep. Dave Reichert very well may find his Auburn home outside the borders of a redrawn 8th CD, perhaps pulling Dunn from an AG run, and/or perhaps setting off further musical chairs down ticket. And don’t forget the newly created WA-10.
So in 2012 alone we could see competitive races for open seats for Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor, WA-01, WA-07, WA-08 and WA-10, not to mention a half dozen or so legislative seats opening up due to incumbents looking to advance. And this in turn will likely open up some council and/or executive seats for 2013. Throw US Sen. Maria Cantwell and President Barack Obama into the 2012 mix, and it’s gonna be a heck of a few years.