He’s not on the ballot but Inslee is campaigning like it

Republicans may find votes in making the election a referendum of the Democratic governor’s agenda.

  • Thursday, October 4, 2018 1:30pm
  • Opinion
Jerry Cornfield

Jerry Cornfield

Gov. Jay Inslee’s name isn’t on the ballot in November.

But he is raising and spending more money than just about everyone who is vying for a state office.

Inslee hauled in $388,411 in contributions between early March, when lawmakers adjourned and the freeze on fundraising ended, and Aug. 31. He spent $305,887 in the same time frame, according to reports filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

“It’s a lot of work to manage his political operation,” said Jamal Raad, a campaign spokesman.

Records show that each month Inslee pays $7,500 to AK Consulting of Seattle, the firm of his campaign manager Aisling Kerins, and $7,500 to Trilogy, a digital media consulting firm in California that also manages his campaign website.

Another $7,500 goes to Newman Partners in Seattle for fundraising fees and $4,000 to JR Consulting Inc. of Seattle, which is Raad’s firm. There are varying sums expended on other staff, fundraising events, travel and advertising.

Basically, it’s everything you would expect of a candidate running for office. None of it covers expenses incurred by Inslee in his duties as chairman of the Democratic Governor’s Association, Raad said.

“This is a bigger year,” Raad said, referencing elections in Washington. “We are building a team to not only help his political future but also to do all we can to elect Democrats up and down the ballot and pass the initiatives important to him.”

Inslee’s plans in 2020 are a subject of as much speculating as he can stir: Will he go for a third term? Maybe. A bid for the White House on a presidential ticket? Possibly. A seat in the cabinet of a Democratic president? Probably.

But this year isn’t a mystery. Democrats are poised to build upon their majorities in the House and Senate. Inslee is out and about because the allies he gains in the Legislature can only help him to advance his agenda.

Which should get Republicans thinking harder about making this fall’s legislative elections a referendum on Inslee. While polling shows he is generally liked by voters, not all of the policies he’s doggedly pursued the past six years are popular ones.

On Wednesday, Sept. 26, a bunch of GOP candidates for House and Senate seats gathered outside Seattle City Hall to unveil a set of shared positions they’ve dubbed “Commitment to Washington.”

Topping the list is “Oppose a tax on energy,” which is shorthand for any proposal to impose new fees or taxes on carbon emissions.

This has been and remains Inslee’s most sought-after policy. He has repeatedly proposed ways to make oil refiners, utility firms and a few select corporations pay for pollution they generate. He’s been unable to get anything passed. Now, he’s backing Initiative 1631 to get it done.

Another of the Republican commitments is opposing a capital gains tax. That too has been on Inslee’s things to-do list and might be again if voters elect a few more fans of the idea.

In the meantime, if a Democratic candidate is concerned the governor may be sucking up dollars from their potential donors, they are staying silent.

It’s all about winning elections at this point and Inslee has proven he can do that.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

More in Opinion

Offer your input at city council budget hearing on Oct. 16 / Letters

With all the local government spending to end homelessness, why is there… Continue reading

Kavanaugh should be rejected / Letters

I find Republican caviling at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings baffling. For just… Continue reading

Trump should stand up for public lands / Letter

When Donald Trump was elected president, sportsmen had high hopes that the… Continue reading

I am going all in on Initiative 1631 / Guest column

By Mark Vossler, MD Guest Column As a physician, few things are… Continue reading

Funding sources for Downtown Park | Letter

n the environment that we are living in, all too often truth… Continue reading

Sammamish River Trail deserves attention | Letter

I have to add my agreement to the letter last month from… Continue reading

He’s not on the ballot but Inslee is campaigning like it

Republicans may find votes in making the election a referendum of the Democratic governor’s agenda.

A group of F3 members perform “Handslap Merkins” as they wait for the other group to return from a run around the parking lot. Photo Courtesy of Brian “Dilfer” Gawthrop
F3 brings local men together for fitness, fellowship and faith

Reporter Kailan Manadic participates in a morning workout with the local men’s fitness group and is nicknamed after a well-known crime dog.

Back to School and Back to Basics for Recycling

The season of freshly sharpened pencils, new backpacks and crisp sneakers is… Continue reading

Rumbling and rambling on the way to November | The Petri Dish

Republicans have to worry about Trump. Meanwhile, big money is flowing into initiative campaigns.

The default in our own stories | Editorial

Senior editor Samantha Pak reflects on what representation in media means to her.

No excuse for fake news rhetoric | Editorial

Journalists are being tossed into the anti-media waters being chummed by President Trump and others.