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Why Dow Constantine will not run to be Washington's next governor

caption: King County Executive Dow Constantine talks to reporters, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, during a news conference in Seattle.
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King County Executive Dow Constantine talks to reporters, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, during a news conference in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

King County Executive Dow Constantine will not run to be Washington state's next governor in the 2024 gubernatorial election.

According to a Friday email from Constantine:

"Not infrequently, people kindly ask whether I would run for Governor in 2024 if Gov. Jay Inslee chooses not to seek re-election. Governor is an important office, and Jay is doing great work, day-in and day-out, for Washington State — and leading the nation on the critical issue of climate. While I hope he is willing to continue, he should be given the grace to make his own decision on his own timeline.

But I've made my decision. Having given it thorough consideration, I have concluded that the answer is no, I would not run. I'm not willing to set aside all that we're achieving right now the full-time work that I'm passionate about — in favor of full-time fundraising and campaigning. I am grateful to serve as Executive of one of the nation’s largest, most progressive, most innovative jurisdictions, and I'm committed to seeing my many local, regional, and national initiatives through."

Constantine's statement also notes that the county has a range of challenges ahead, with an "ambitious agenda" that includes securing a budget, modernizing Harborview Medical Center, helping to build Sound Transit 3, and dealing with ongoing issues of mental health. He argues that he would rather put his energy into such challenges than into fundraising for a gubernatorial campaign.

Gov. Inslee's term ends in 2025, meaning the 2024 election season is just around the corner. He is currently serving a rare third term as governor.

Constantine's announcement comes shortly after the results of a poll by the Northwest Progressive Institute, which stated the King County executive got 7% of support from those polled.

The institute asked a pool of 874 likely voters who they would favor out of a "hypothetical field" of 2024 candidates. The poll found that Republican Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier led the pack (35%), with Democrat votes split between state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (21%), Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz (7%), and Constantine (7%). A total of 30% of likely voters weren't sure who they would pick.

The above mentioned names were the only options offered in the poll, therefore only one Republican option was given. Together, the Democrat candidates add up to match Dammeier's 35%.

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