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 calls for creation of presidential crimes commission to investigate Trump when he leaves office 'This already exists': Democrats seize on potential Trump executive order on preexisting conditions Swalwell: Barr has taken Michael Cohen's job as Trump's fixer MORE (D-Calif.) to Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) and Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response Oregon senator says Trump's blame on 'forest management' for wildfires is 'just a big and devastating lie' MORE (D-Ore.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSocial media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates MORE (D-Minn.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersOutrage erupts over Breonna Taylor grand jury ruling Dimon: Wealth tax 'almost impossible to do' Grand jury charges no officers in Breonna Taylor death 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 ClintonDemocratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida The Hill's Campaign Report: Presidential polls tighten weeks out from Election Day More than 50 Latino faith leaders endorse Biden 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.”