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[POLITICS] More on Gary Locke

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  • chiayuan25
    THE NATION Washington s Governor Bows Out of 2004 Race Gary Locke is popular with state voters and national Democrats. Republicans take heart from his decision
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 22, 2003
      Washington's Governor Bows Out of 2004 Race
      Gary Locke is popular with state voters and national Democrats.
      Republicans take heart from his decision to step aside after two
      By Tomas Alex Tizon, LA Times Staff Writer

      SEATTLE — Washington Gov. Gary Locke, who has managed to remain
      popular in his home state despite its economic woes, announced Monday
      that he would not seek a third term — leaving the 2004 governor's
      race wide open.

      The country's first Chinese American governor and chairman of the
      Democratic Governors' Assn., Locke, 53, said in an interview that he
      and his wife had been "going back and forth" for weeks, and finally
      made the decision in the last few days.

      "In the end, it came down to what was best for the family," Locke
      said, and they decided that was "living as normal a life as possible."

      The couple have a 6-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. The
      governor said the family would move back to its Seattle residence
      from Olympia, the state capital, when his term ends in 18 months.

      But until then, he said, he intends to "push the pedal to the metal."

      Paul Berendt, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said he
      was "bitterly disappointed" by Locke's announcement, because he and
      other local political observers believed the governor would have been
      a shoo-in for a third term. Locke already had raised nearly $500,000
      for his reelection campaign, dwarfing the war chest of his declared
      Democratic rival, former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge.

      Within minutes of Locke's announcement Monday, state Atty. Gen.
      Christine Gregoire, also a Democrat, announced her candidacy for
      governor. Locke and Gregoire, who are friends, had been talking in
      the last couple of months about the 2004 election. Locke said
      Gregoire had decided she would run only if he stepped down.

      Local Republicans were heartened by the governor's announcement,
      seeing an opportunity in the next election.

      "The Democratic Party just lost their best candidate," said Chris
      Vance, chairman of the state Republican Party.

      Washington's last GOP governor was John Spellman, who lost a
      reelection bid in 1984. So far, no Republican has announced a
      gubernatorial run, but Vance said the party intends to take over the
      top spot next year.

      "The state of Washington has huge problems, and it needs a change,"
      Vance said, citing a high unemployment rate, a congested road system
      and a neglected rural economy.

      Locke, who was the national Democratic Party's choice to rebut
      President Bush's State of the Union address in January, said he would
      spend the rest of his term focusing on education, jobs, health care
      and the environment.

      Asked what his next career move would be, Locke was vague. Although
      there's been talk that he could serve as a foundation or university
      president — or work for one of the region's corporate giants, such as
      Microsoft Corp. or the Boeing Co. — he said it's all just

      "I haven't given it any thought yet," Locke said.

      When Locke completes his second term in January 2005, he will have
      been in the public sector for 27 years, starting as a deputy King
      County prosecutor. It's been a lifetime of achievement for the second
      of five children of Chinese immigrants. Locke grew up in a public
      housing project in Seattle, and went on to earn degrees from Yale and
      Boston University. He was a longtime state legislator and also served
      as King County executive.

      Berendt said it would be premature "to write Gary Locke's political

      The Democratic Party chairman described Locke as "a young guy" with a
      lot of potential to return to the political scene. He said he could
      envision Locke running for the U.S. Senate down the road; and if the
      Democrats retake the White House, Berendt said, "he would be on top
      of many lists for a Cabinet post or an ambassadorship."

      Locke laughed at the mention of these possibilities, saying: "I
      haven't received a single phone call yet."

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