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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Camden: Will Inslee try to go 4 for 4?

By Jim Camden
Published: May 19, 2021, 6:01am

May 2021 is a bit early to talk seriously of the 2022 elections, let alone those in 2024, so take the following with a grain of salt.

Gov. Jay Inslee is signaling he will try to do something no other governor in Washington has done — and we’re not talking about telling people when they do or don’t need to wear face masks or stay home from work.

Inslee has filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission as a potential candidate to run in 2024 for a fourth term. This is not an official notification of running, because many candidates file with the PDC at the end of one election cycle to account for the money that continues to flow in after the ballots are all counted.

Lt. Gov. Denny Heck, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and lands commissioner Hilary Franz have also filed their PDC paperwork for 2024. The big difference is that, while they have relatively modest expenditures, Inslee’s files show some $781,000 in spending this year, for such things as advertising, fundraising fees, strategy consulting and digital media consulting, which are things one is more apt to see from a candidate in the spring of an election year than an incumbent in the first five months of a new term.

If Inslee runs and is elected he’d be the first to be elected to four terms. But he would not be the first person to run for the office in four consecutive elections.

Arthur Langlie ran four times in a row, from 1940 to 1952. He lost his first reelection campaign in 1944, but came back for a rematch with Mon Wallgren in 1948 and won, and was reelected in 1952. He was on the ballot in 1956, but not for governor. He ran for the U.S. Senate, but was steamrollered by Warren G. Magnuson.

Speaking of elections

Inslee’s Republican opponent in last year’s election, Loren Culp, continues to take occasional shots at the governor, even though he has set his sights on a different office, Central Washington’s 4th District Congressional seat, in next year’s election.

That likely means running against Rep. Dan Newhouse, the incumbent and fellow Republican who, like Culp, has his paperwork in to the Federal Elections Commission. Because Newhouse was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Donald Trump earlier this year, he’s expected to face a challenge from the MAGA wing of the party.

Of the three GOP challengers, Culp could lay claim to being the Trumpiest, considering he campaigned for governor much like the former president campaigned for the White House, including the frequent use of rallies and sales of merch. He has a large Twitter following that he often stirs with jabs at President Joe Biden, Democrats and Republicans with whom he has issues, such as Wyman and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

Like Trump, he also challenged the results of his 2020 loss by alleging widespread irregularities and fraud, although he backed out of the lawsuit in the face of possible sanctions for making what the state contended were baseless claims.

The 4th is a predominantly Republican district and it’s possible that two GOP candidates could survive the primary, although less likely if they split the vote four ways and the Democrats only come up with a single candidate.

A Culp-Newhouse matchup in the general election might be good for political reporters, but tough on the GOP.

A parting thought

Sports fans are waiting eagerly for the start of the 2021 NHL season and the debut of the new hockey team, the Seattle Kraken. Teams have all manner of sponsorships and branding deals, so it wasn’t a surprise when social media feeds began to fill up with ads proclaiming an official beer of the Seattle Kraken. The surprise was that the official beer is, um, Coors Light.

Seriously? In a state that has roughly one microbrewery for every 25 adults and that grows much of the nation’s boutique hop varieties, the new hockey team is linked to a light beer based in Colorado?