gregggg.jpg
No 3rd term
UPDATED , 10:20 a.m.: Chris Gregoire, who spent most of her second term on a forced march of budget slashing, won't try

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Gov. Gregoire Bows Out, Won't Seek a Third Term, Likely Pitting Inslee Against McKenna

gregggg.jpg
No 3rd term
UPDATED, 10:20 a.m.: Chris Gregoire, who spent most of her second term on a forced march of budget slashing, won't try for a third, she announced today. "It's time for me to go on and do something else," she said at a press conference on the gubernatorial mansion steps in Olympia, joined by her family. After 40 years of government service, Gregoire, 64, said she had no immediate plans for the future other than to serve out her final 18 months seeking to turn around the state's slumping economy and "look forward to the opportunity to know my husband again."

Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna has already announced his gubernatorial candidacy and Democratic congressman Jay Inslee has reportedly been waiting for Gregoire to decide her future before announcing any bid. In a statement, Inslee, who is 0-1 in gubernatorial elections, said "Today is her day. I will make my intentions on the governor's race known shortly."

Gregoire, the pride of Auburn and daughter of a short-order cook, graduated from the University of Washington and got her law degree from Gonzaga. She started as an assistant attorney general under Republican Slade Gorton, and later won election as AG. She defeated Dino Rossi in the two-recount 2004 gubernatorial election and then beat him easily in a 2008 rematch.

She told the media today she'd been "blessed" by her supporters and family--her mother-in-law celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday. Gregoire shared the mansion steps with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her daughter's boyfriend. She hopes for a grandchild one day, Gregoire said, nodding to her daughters--adding with a laugh, "No pressure intended."

Inslee, 60, who also has a law degree, was a Yakima state legislator from 1988 until 1992, when he was elected to congress from the 4th District. He lost re-election to Republican Doc Hastings in the 1994 Republican Revolution.

He relocated to Bainbridge Island, lost the 1996 gubernatorial primary to Gary Locke, then beat two-term incumbent Rick White to return to congress in 1998 from the 1st District. He was the first Democratic candidate to run TV ads attacking Republicans for impeaching Bill Clinton.

McKenna, 48, in his second term as AG, is a former King County council member. He got his gubernatorial campaign off to a stumbling--or was it strategic?--start last week by deciding not to allow a writer from The Stranger to cover his kick-off press conference. David (Goldy) Goldstein, founder of the liberal blog HorsesAss, says he was told his paper was purposely uninvited.

McKenna later went out of his way to fuel the dispute, telling another Stranger writer Goldstein is "a hack. He's a partisan hack. He's just there to parrot points from the other [Democrat] side." The candidate didn't explain why he opted to pick a press fight on opening day.

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