Gov. Gregoire’s D.C. Trip Fuels Commerce Speculation

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) canceled a Tuesday lunch appearance with the Associated Press late Monday and two Washington State sources confirmed to The Hill she is in Washington, D.C. The governor’s actions over the last 24 hours have triggered a wave of speculation in the Evergreen State that Gregoire could replace New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) as President-elect Obama’s Commerce Secretary-designate.

Gregoire was reportedly on a plane Sunday, and multiple sources confirm she was in the nation’s capital as late as Monday. A Gregoire spokesman vehemently denied she was set to take a position in Obama’s cabinet, and said she was not still in D.C. late Monday night “as far as I know.”

Her office refused to confirm Gregoire’s whereabouts all day Monday, according to Seattle media outlets. Top Washington state Democrats in D.C. and the Evergreen State said Monday night they had not been informed of any pending appointments.

Local reports said a special press conference has been set for Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. Pacific time for an unspecified announcement, further fueling speculation.

By Monday night, the possibility of Gregoire heading to the other Washington was the subject of rampant rumors in Washington state Democratic political circles.

Gregoire endorsed Obama for the Democratic nomination the day before the Washington caucus in February. Obama defeated Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in Washington by more than a 2-to-1-margin.

If tapped, she would replace Richardson, who bowed out of the Commerce slot over the weekend amid reports an investigation into a California company that had business in his state.

Should Gregoire accept the Commerce post or any position in the administration, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen (D) would take her place. Gregoire just won a second four-year term, defeating former State Sen. Dino Rossi (R) by six percentage points. In 2004, Gregoire defeated Rossi by a mere 129 votes after several recounts.

UPDATE: Gregoire has reserved satellite television time at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, according to a top aide to a member of the Washington congressional delegation.

-Reid Wilson

Tags Candidate Position Christine Gregoire Christine Gregoire Dino Rossi Gregoire Person Career Person Location Person Travel Political Endorsement Political Relationship Politics Quotation State governments of the United States Voting Result Washington

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