The last time Gov. Jay Inslee ran for re-election was in 2020, and he defeated Republican Loren Culp by over 545,000 votes.
One would think that Republicans might be hesitant to make him a target this time. But this is more about making Inslee the target to get other Republican candidates elected.
The Republicans’ strategy appears to be to identify Inslee and President Joe Biden as the sources for anyone who is unhappy about anything. They might add Attorney General Bob Ferguson to the list because Ferguson recently prevailed with the state Supreme Court on a legally meritless allegation of widespread voter fraud.
The goal is to win the state House and force Democrats to defend Inslee. The sanctions were the latest defeat for the “stop the steal” movement stoked by former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen from him. The Washington Election Integrity Coalition United was ordered to pay nearly $9,600, and its attorney was ordered to pay $18,800 for suing Inslee. In the latest case, the election integrity coalition had petitioned the court in October, seeking a ruling that Inslee had violated his constitutional duties by allowing the state Department of Licensing to register non-citizens to vote. The court dismissed the case earlier this year, but followed up by granting the state’s motion to impose sanctions over its frivolous nature.
Ferguson defended his position and said he will continue fighting to protect our elections from baseless lawsuits that push “the big lie.” Inslee proposed controversial legislation this year that would have criminalized some lies about elections, but it died in the state Senate.
The public will hear a lot about the election system being flawed and Inslee trying to stuff the ballot box. It should be written off as politics between the two parties. The coalition is led by Tamborine Borrelli, who has filed to run as a Republican for Secretary Of State this year. Her group has also filed several lawsuits against county election officials seeking audits of the 2020 election, with similar claims of widespread conspiracy and electronic manipulation. Republican congressional candidates Joe Kent and Doug Basler have signed on as plaintiffs.
Six of those lawsuits are still pending in District Court for Western Washington and could result in additional sanctions against the coalition or its attorney. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s office has filed a motion asking a federal judge to order the plaintiffs to cover the county’s legal costs for filing frivolous conspiracy-laden complaints alleging that the King County Elections Director “engaged in a nefarious plot to rig the 2020 election.”
Whichever way you vote, it will be exciting this fall. And pay attention to the allegations — most are politically motivated.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.