Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has doubled the amount of money he’s raised for a potential presidential run, but still has not announced whether he will enter the 2020 political arena.
Inslee’s political action committee registered more than $242,000 in contributions in its most recent filing, released at the beginning of February. This money was raised between October and the end of last year; among the nearly 30 individual donors are Rick Steves, ACTBLUE, and the Swinomish Tribal Community.
A previous filing report from the Federal Election Commission showed that Inslee’s Vision PAC had raised around $112,000 between early October and Nov. 26. Inslee still has not announced whether he will run in the 2020 election, even as several other Democratic contenders have already filed. If Inslee decides to run, he will form an exploratory committee.
In comments made to The Atlantic as well as Meet the Press Daily, he showed interest in running. If he does, it is likely he will make the environment a centerpiece of his campaign. Columnist Jerry Cornfield wrote last year that Inslee’s record during this year’s state legislative session will likely influence whether he decides to run or not. If he is successful in pushing his ideas, it could give him political clout on the presidential campaign trail. In his 2019–21 budget, he proposed a new capital-gains tax on the sale of stocks, bonds, and other assets as well as other tax increases, including changing the state’s real-estate excise tax from a regressive flat rate to a graduated rate to lower the property tax on less-valuable properties.
He also hopes to reduce emissions in the state’s building sector and promote clean-energy projects and research as well as modernizing the electricity grid. He hopes to see some $273 million in green-energy spending reforms in total. Yet despite his green stances in Washington state, two attempts at carbon pricing on Inslee’s watch have failed to gain enough support among voters, and carbon emissions continue to rise.
If Inslee runs, he will be competing with fellow Democratic hopefuls Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), among several others. Other notable potential candidates include popular Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Inslee could be in a better position than other candidates who have filed, and who have come under fire for past political stances, as the Democratic voter base pulls its politicians and platforms to the left. As noted in The New York Times, examples include Harris’ criticism of progressive prison reform while a prosecutor, Biden’s tough-on-crime legislation from the 1990s which disproportionately harmed youth of color, Warren’s DNA-test fiasco, and allegations of discrimination against Sanders by some of his campaign staffers. Inslee could suffer similar blowback from progressives as, like Biden, he voted in support of the 1994 Violent Crime Prevention Act. However, unlike Biden who in 2002 voted in support of the Iraq War, Inslee did not.