Pro-abortion Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington announced today she would not seek reelection in 2012.
Facing abysmal poll numbers (SurveyUSA) showing a mere 37% approval rating in a firmly Democratic state, Gregoire decided to forgo an intense reelection bid. In 2004, Gregoire controversially edged out a victory over pro-life Republican Dino Rossi in an election many Washingtonians still believe to be invalid. Judge John E. Bridges ultimately decided the election after heated ballot eligibility disputes and Gregoire was declared the winner by 129 votes.
In 2008, Gregoire once again faced Rossi but won reelection by a 53%-47% margin, riding a wave of popularity for Democrats. Polling for 2012 by SurveyUSA showed Gregoire losing reelection to popular Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna by 13 points.
Attorney General McKenna announced his candidacy last week. Easily Washington’s most popular Republican, McKenna’s entrance into the race is a positive development for Republicans hoping to put one of their own in the Governor’s Mansion for the first time since the 1980’s.
Unfortunately, McKenna does not represent the pro-life plank of the Republican Party platform. Fighting off attacks by pro-abortion attorney general opponent John Ladenburg, McKenna responded, “I am pro-choice, and I’m on the record as being pro-choice.”
In a state with little protection for unborn children and where assisted suicide is legal, it is not surprising to find a Republican abandoning the pro-life position. However, Dino Rossi came within a hair defeating Gregoire with a strongly pro-life position. Rossi also managed to give pro-abortion Sen. Patty Murray a run for her money in 2010 despite Washington’s generally pro-abortion electorate. McKenna’s position may prove to be a stumbling block for the Republican base.
To McKenna’s credit, he does support parental consent for minors seeking abortions, according to an interview with TVW’s Inside Olympia. McKenna also opposes Obamacare, which provides for massive abortion funding and promises to ration care to the elderly and those with disabilities.
McKenna joined with Republican Attorneys General in a multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Obama healthcare law. On Obamacare, McKenna released the following statement:
“I believe this new federal health care measure unconstitutionally imposes new requirements on our state and on its citizens. This unprecedented federal mandate, requiring all Washingtonians to purchase health insurance, violates the Commerce Clause and the 10th amendment of the US Constitution.”
While Democrats may have lost Gregoire, they may recruit pro-abortion Rep. Jay Inslee to run for governor. Unlike McKenna, Inslee does not support any restrictions on abortion and voted for the Obama healthcare law. Inslee even voted against the common sense ban on partial-birth abortion. A Governor McKenna would hardly be a pro-life victory but a Governor Inslee would maintain the radically pro-abortion status quo of Washington’s executive branch.
In its May rankings of governors races, POLITICO ranked the Washington race as the second most competitive in the country. SurveyUSA polling shows McKenna with a hypothetical 7-point lead over Inslee.