New PAC makes ‘Inslee 2020’ presidential run almost a sure thing

OLYMPIA, Wash. — It’s looking more likely that Governor Jay Inslee will run for president in 2020.

On Monday, Q13 News confirmed a report that Inslee created a federal political action committee (PAC); a committee used to solicit money for travel and expenses, usually associated with a campaign.

The governor formed the committee, called Vision PAC,  in October as his role of Democratic Governors Association Chair winded down, Inslee spokesperson Jamal Raad said.

The PAC came into being because the governor wanted “a vehicle for his federal political activism,” Raad said.  He’s concerned with making climate change a focus of the 2020 election cycle and wanted a federal PAC to “house those efforts.”

Inslee has previously skirted the question of is he running for president. Raad did not say definitely either way, but that Inslee “has not ruled out” a presidential run.

Q13 News Political Analyst C.R. Douglas says Inslee’s PAC makes a run for president almost a sure thing.

“Inslee’s move to formally establish a PAC means it’s extremely likely that he will indeed run for president in 2020,” Douglas said. “While some have formed such committees in the past and then backed out, that’s rare. It can look weak to create a presidential PAC and then not follow through.

Douglas believes Inslee will officially jump into the race soon, probably early next year.

Gearing for a run

Speculation on Inslee challenging President Donald Trump in 2020 has been growing for more than a year.

In 2015, a Crosscut editorial suggested he should run in 2016. Last year, Inslee was elected chair of the Democratic Governors Association. The position is noteworthy not only in its influence on gubernatorial elections, but also in deciding Democratic talking points among governors. Bill Clinton was a former chair, and the institution played a role in helping him win the 1992 election.

During the 2018 campaign season, Inslee spent a lot of time on the road. Inslee barnstormed in several states, including Iowa, Florida and Michigan.

Inslee has been asked countless times on if he is running, but has declined to answer.

Could he win?

Since President Carter, four occupants of the Oval Office have been Governors, and only one a Senator. He's been a strong proponent of curbing climate change, and he believes the issue will be at the forefront of the 2020 presidential campaign.

He said the ideal Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 will make sure climate change is recognized as a "front-burner issue."

But Inslee would face a stocked field. A recent Washington Post article doesn't even list him among the top 15 contenders, with household names like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former vice president Joe Biden leading the way.