Breaking News
More () »

Jay Inslee is the 9th NW politician ever to run for president

Only eight serious candidates before Inslee have ever come from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or Montana.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced he's running for president on Friday, becoming one of the rare breed of Northwest politicians to seek the national spotlight.

In the history of the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or Montana, only eight before Inslee have ever made a dent on the presidential stage.

The last notable Washingtonian to run for president, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, in 1976. He tried for the Democratic nomination, but he only won 4 states and 6 percent of the vote.

One of his opponents that year, Idaho Senator Frank Church, who won 5 states and 5 percent of the popular vote.

Both men lost to Jimmy Carter.

Jackson also ran in '72, but didn't win any states. George McGovern won that primary but lost to Richard Nixon.

Rewind another 12 years and you'll find Oregon's most recent candidate, Senator Wayne Morse ran as a Democrat in 1960. 

He was only on the ballot in a handful of states, losing all of them. John F. Kennedy won the nomination that year, even taking Oregon, Morse's home turf.

To find the first serious Republican candidate from the Northwest, we have to go all the way back to 1940, and Senator Charles McNary.

He won Oregon and no other states, but he got several votes at the convention, and ultimately ended up being chosen the vice presidential nominee for the GOP that year.

His ticket lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1936 was the furthest a northwest candidate has ever gotten. Republican Senator William Borah of Idaho won the most primary states and primary votes of any candidate that year.

But since actual primary elections only started to matter fairly recently, he didn't get the nomination. The party chose Kansas's Alf Landon over him, who would go on to lose handily to FDR.

In 1932, J. Hamilton Lewis saw some Democratic primary success. He was a representative from Washington before moving to Illinois. He lost to FDR.

Montana Senator Thomas Walsh racked up 8 percent of voters in the 1928 Democratic primary, but he won no states. The nominee would be Al Smith, who lost to Herbert Hoover.

And finally, a big jump all the way back to 1860. At this point, Oregon had only been a state for a year, and the rest of the northwest was still a territory.

Joseph Lane, one of the state's first two senators (and before that, the first governor of the Oregon Territory), got several votes at the Democratic convention.

He didn't win, but he did become the VP nominee for a new pro-slavery Southern Democrats party. His ticket lost to Abraham Lincoln.

So if history is any guide, Inslee has an uphill battle ahead of him as a politician from the Northwest trying to become president. And he'll have to leave his mark in a crowded field in which his polling numbers are next to nothing.

Before You Leave, Check This Out