Jaime Herrera Beutler, the Battle Ground Republican who represented Washington’s 3rd Congressional District from 2012 to earlier this year, is planning a run for Washington state commissioner of public lands, the Seattle Times first reported Monday.
Herrera Beutler announced her plans at a Monday meeting with supporters of conservative group Future 42, according to the Times, which said its source was a meeting participant that the article did not name.
A spokesperson for Herrera Beutler did not confirm the news, but said the former congresswoman will announce her future plans this morning.
Through the Department of Natural Resources, the commissioner of public lands manages nearly 6 million acres of public lands and enforces laws related to logging practices, reforestation requirements and extraction of natural resources, according to the state’s website. The commissioner also oversees the DNR’s wildfire protection and suppression programs.
So far, six individuals have announced their candidacy, the Washington State Standard reported last week, including five Democrats and one Republican.
Commissioner Hilary Franz, a Democrat who has held the position since 2017, announced in May she would not seek a third term and instead launched her 2024 campaign for governor after incumbent Jay Inslee said he would step aside.
All nine of Washington’s statewide elected positions currently are filled by Democrats. If elected, Herrera Beutler would be the first Republican to occupy the seat in 14 years, according to Ballotpedia.
Herrera Beutler began her political career in 2007 when she was appointed to the state House of Representatives representing Clark County’s 18th Legislative District. In 2010, she was elected to the first of six consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
She was defeated in the August 2022 primary, finishing third behind Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and Republican Joe Kent.
Since leaving Congress, Herrera Beutler has worked as a strategic consultant to the Children’s Hospital Association and as a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics.
In July, The Dispatch reported that Herrera Beutler was considering a run for governor in an effort to stay relevant in Washington politics.