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 DelaneyCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Rodney Davis Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer says Trump right on China but wrong on WHO; CDC issues new guidance for large gatherings The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what 'policing' means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight MORE (D-Md.) and Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellSwalwell: Barr has taken Michael Cohen's job as Trump's fixer The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Chris Christie says Trump team wasn't aggressive enough early in COVID-19 crisis; Tensions between White House, Fauci boil over Trump administration moves to formally withdraw US from WHO MORE (D-Calif.) to Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) and Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyPortland protesters clash with law enforcement for first time since federal presence diminished New York police confirm arrest of protester in unmarked van Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors MORE (D-Ore.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE (D-Minn.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Trump Spanish-language ad equates progressives, socialists Biden's tax plan may not add up 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 ClintonTrump vows challenge to Nevada bill expanding mail-in voting Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Juan Williams: The Trump Show grows tired 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.”