Gregoire calls special election to replace Inslee

Jay Inslee

Credit: Robert Mak / KING

A special election is necessary because Jay Inslee resigned from Congress last month to focus his energies on his gubernatorial bid.

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by Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on April 2, 2012 at 4:31 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state will hold a special election in November to replace former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee for just one month -- an election expected to be confusing for voters, burdensome for candidates and costly for the state.

Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire and Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed said Monday that the state is required to hold a vote to fill a vacant seat under the U.S. Constitution. Inslee resigned from his seat last month to run for governor.

The November election will be particularly confusing to voters because Congress is also transitioning to its new district boundaries. The special election will be focused on the old 1st District boundaries that Inslee represented. Voters will also be deciding who will represent the new 1st District.

Gregoire and Reed said they had explored the possibility of having a special election under the new 1st District boundaries to keep things more simple. But that would have meant some residents would briefly have two representatives in Congress while others would have none.

The candidate who is chosen to replace Inslee will serve just one month until the new person is seated in January. Reed's office says it will cost the state an extra $770,000 that will be sent to the counties.

Reed said the state will work on educating voters about the confusing ballot. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 8 while the final vote would take place during the regular general election in November.

The filing fee for the race is about $1,700.

Gregoire said the election will also be difficult for candidates. A candidate who wants to run for both 1st District slots would have to manage separate campaigns to collect donations and account for spending.

"Wow. That's a challenge," Gregoire said.

Inslee represented the 1st District, which currently includes Seattle's northern suburbs, starting in 1999.
 

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