When the self-styled climate change candidate couldn’t qualify for the climate change debate, the writing was on the wall for Jay Inslee’s flailing presidential campaign. Last night on The Rachel Maddow Show, Inslee surprised exactly no one when he finally admitted “I’m not going to become president.” Despite making it crystal clear that he’d rather be pontificating than governing, Inslee wasted no time in finding a consolation prize – a run for a third term as governor.
While Inslee struggled to gain traction with the national media, he’s gotten the wrong kind of attention from the press corps in his home state, with multiple editorial boards excoriating him for sticking the taxpayers with the bill for his political travel outside the state.
Earlier this month, The Seattle Times and Northwest News Network public radio teamed up for a major investigation into Inslee’s absentee governorship, finding:
- “Between March 1 and the end of July, Inslee was on the road for all or parts of 90 days out of 153, or nearly 60 percent”
- “In June, his peak travel month, Inslee was on the road for all or parts of 24 days.”
- “Even while home, Inslee, who is paid $182,000 a year as governor, has divided his time between official duties and working on his presidential campaign.”
- “The governor’s frequent cross-country treks have continued to cost Washington state taxpayers, with his State Patrol security detail racking up travel and overtime expenses totaling more than $580,000 between March and June, according to new figures released by the agency.”
- “The security unit was expanded this year, at a cost estimated at nearly $4 million over two years”
Inslee “previously has brushed off criticism…of his travel, saying he ‘can do this work anywhere there is a cellphone,'” but in the Seattle Times/Northwest News Network analysis, his chief of staff “acknowledged the governor’s out-of-state travel has cut into his availability for outreach visits with communities around the state and for constituents seeking meetings in Olympia.” Apparently Inslee doesn’t think meeting with constituents is part of the “work” of a governor.
“Now that Jay Inslee has thrown in the towel on his quixotic presidential run, he’s got some explaining to do to the Washington State voters who have taken a backseat to his national ambitions,” said RGA Communications Director Amelia Chassé Alcivar. “After sticking his constituents with his travel bills and bragging about governing by cellphone, it’s clear that to Jay Inslee, Washington State is just a consolation prize.”