SEATTLE - Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is being considered to join the Obama Administration as Solicitor General, according to an administration official.
That position would open up if current Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who is Pres. Barack Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, is confirmed by the Senate.
Karina Shagren, a spokesperson for Gregoire, says the governor has not heard anything directly from the White House about this. Shagren says while Gregoire would be flattered to be considered, she plans to finish out her current term as governor.
Before serving as governor, Gregoire was Washington state's attorney general. According to the Everett Herald, Gregoire and Kagan have known each other for some time and worked together on a national tobacco case when Kagan was working for Pres. Bill Clinton.
The Wall Street Journal law blog says Associate White House Counsel Don Verrilli is the early favorite for the job. Another name being reported is Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal.
If Gregoire were to take the position, she would be the fourth prominent Washington state figure to join the administration. Former Gov. Gary Locke is the Secretary of Commerce; former King County Executive Ron Sims is the Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske is the Director of the National Office of Drug Control Policy, commonly referred to as the "Drug Czar."
If Gregorie resigns, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen would take over as governor. As for when a new gubernatorial election would happen, the Secretary of State's Office says it all depends on when Gregoire were to step down:
- Before May 31 – there would be a primary and a general election this year
- June 1 - Oct 3 – there would just be a general election this year, with every candidate featured on the ballot
- After Oct. 3 – Owen would serve out the rest of Gregoire's term until the 2012 election. His vacant position as lieutenant governor would appear on the 2011 ballot.