Washington governor to make Iowa debut

Washington governor to make Iowa debut
© File Photo

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) will headline a fundraiser in Iowa next month, stoking speculation that he will consider a presidential bid in 2020.

Inslee, a former member of Congress serving his second term as governor, will headline the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Hall of Fame Celebration on June 23 in Altoona.

The Iowa Democratic Party cited Inslee’s progressive record in its announcement. Under Inslee, Washington state “has been a beacon of progress for the nation, expanding access to voting rights, taking steps to reduce gun violence, providing paid sick and the best paid family leave policies in the nation and raising the minimum wage,” the party said.

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Inslee joins a long list of potential presidential candidates who have headed to Iowa in recent months. Iowa Starting Line, a local political blog that tracks visits from potential candidates, has tallied visits by 15 current and former elected officials, ranging from Reps. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyWarren, Yang fight over automation divides experts The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Warren's surge brings new scrutiny to signature wealth tax MORE (D-Md.) and Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellMulvaney admission deals blow to White House impeachment defense Testimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Lawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump MORE (D-Calif.) to Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) and Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs Senate confirms Trump's Air Force secretary pick Democratic senators condemn Trump for calling on China to investigate Bidens MORE (D-Ore.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDeVos calls Democratic presidential hopeful's education plans 'crazy' Senate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on 'Medicare for All' Biden struggles to reverse fall MORE (D-Minn.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' Warren says she will unveil plan to finance 'Medicare for All' Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make MORE (I-Vt.).

Inslee, the head of the Democratic Governors Association, is ostensibly going to highlight the party’s gubernatorial candidates in Iowa. Three leading contenders — businessman Fred Hubbell (D), labor leader Cathy Glasson (D) and state Sen. Nate Boulton (D) — are vying for the right to face off against Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) in November.

But the chatter around Inslee’s potential national ambitions began long ago, with rumors he was under consideration to serve in Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton trolls Trump with mock letter from JFK to Khrushchev Trump-Graham relationship tested by week of public sparring Sunday shows — Mulvaney seeks to tamp down firestorm over quid pro quo comments, Doral decision MORE’s Cabinet had she won the White House. Inslee, who wrote a book on climate change and alternative energy while he was in Congress, has presented alternative energy projects as a jobs opportunity for rural parts of Washington state, a message he told The Hill could anchor a future run for an unspecified office.

“I’m excited about this message,” Inslee said in an interview last year. “It worked in my race, it’s now worked twice. So I’m very happy to run on this issue.”