Reed hasn’t given up hope for a Republican governor | In Our Opinion | May 14

Sam Reed has a noticeable twinkle in his eyes these days, at least he did Wednesday when he spoke at the Bainbridge Island Republican Women’s luncheon at Wing Point Golf & Country Club.

Now 10 years into his run as Washington’s secretary of state, Reed sees a light at the end of the dark tunnel in which his party currently resides. Democrats have had their way lately, as suggested by the fact Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna are the Republican Party’s only current statewide elected officials.

It’s not surprising that Reed, a congenial, eternal optimist from Eastern Washington, is probably destined to remain in office as long as he wishes when considering the position’s history. Republicans have been secretary of state since Lud Kramer was elected in 1964, followed by Bruce Chapman in 1975, Bainbridge Island’s Ralph Munro in 1981 and now Reed.

Reed can’t explain it, but with 32 years of political experience he’s not hesitant to pontificate about the state’s political landscape. Of course, this week’s hottest rumor involves Gov. Christine Gregoire replacing Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as U.S. solicitor general. Nothing official has emerged yet from Olympia or Washington, D.C., concerning this scenario, but Reed sees a glimmer of Republican hope if President Obama and the governor hook up.

It goes like this: Lt. Gov. Brad Owen would replace Gregoire, but for how long would depend on when she would leave office. If it happens this month, there would be a primary and then a new governor would come out of the November election. If not, the process would become murkier, depending on whether she left before or after Oct. 3.

If Dino Rossi decides to challenge U.S. Sen. Patty Murray for her seat, rather than again seeking the governorship, Reed thinks his good friend, Rob McKenna, may very well be Gregoire’s replacement.

“Democrats are panicky to have Rob run for governor because he’s done a great job and people respect him,” Reed said.

He can only hope, since it’s been 25 years since Washington has had a Republican governor.

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