Inslee forms PAC for possible White House bid
Gov. Jay Inslee’s fledgling federal political-action committee on Thursday reported $112,500 in donations as he inched closer in an interview toward a possible run for president in 2020.
The governor’s Vision PAC reported about two dozen early contributors, including wealthy environmentalists and tech executives, in a filing with the Federal Election Commission. The cash will enable Inslee to explore his presidential viability and could pay for travel to early caucus and primary states including Iowa and New Hampshire.
In an interview with The Seattle Times and public radio’s Northwest News Network, Inslee stressed he has yet to make up his mind, but said he is “actively considering” a White House run – and made an argument for his viability as a candidate who’d make 2020 a referendum on fighting climate change.
The two-term Democratic governor would almost certainly start out as a long shot for his party’s nomination amid a thicket of better-known potential contenders, including Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
But Inslee pointed to the funeral this week for former President George H.W. Bush, noting two former presidents who sat in the front pew, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, “were pretty much unknown governors of small states” before they ran for president.
“So this is a wide-open field. No one has a lock on this. No one has a total crystal ball as to what the nation wants,” Inslee said. “But I’ve expressed a vision that is based on both a present recognition of an existential threat to our nation and a track record of economic success and vitality that is based on policies that we know work. Because I’ve done it.”
Inslee boasted of what he called “the Washington Way,” citing the state’s economic growth while raising wages and worker protections as a template for the nation.
On his central issue, the governor and his climateactivist allies have endured a rough couple of months. Washington voters in November rejected a carbonfee initiative he promoted. Rioters in France have opposed a national gas-tax increase. And scientists issued reports saying the impacts of global warming will be even than previously thought.
Inslee said retreat is not an option. He recently visited the scene of devastating fires in Paradise, California, comparing the scene to a World War II firebombing.
“We have to act now. There is no acting tomorrow. This is a today emergency, if you will. And it’s doubly so because we have a climate denier in the White House who is intent on ignoring hundreds of national scientists,” he said.
Inslee has moved gradually toward a potential presidential run over the past year, in part through making connections and raising his visibility as chair of the Democratic Governors Association. As that role wound down, with his term officially ending last week, Inslee has shifted more explicitly toward his own 2020 ambitions.
The establishment of his federal PAC in early October was among the most concrete signs to date of his intentions.
Inslee’s early PAC donations include support from longtime environmentalist donors, including Martha Wyckoff, a longtime board member with the Trust for Public Land, who gave the maximum allowed $5,000. Amazon’s general counsel, David Zapolsky, also gave $5,000. Travel guru Rick Steves donated $2,500.
Vision PAC also reported paying three longtime Inslee campaign consultants for work. Thursday’s FEC filing for Vision PAC covered the period between mid-October and Nov. 26.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s political action committee reported $112,500 in donations as he gears up for a possible presidential run.