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Updated: 4:52 p.m.
The eight-term Democrat from suburban Seattle had long been expected to run, and two Democrats have already announced their interest in the 1st district. A third will announce soon. The boundaries of the district will likely be altered in redistricting, especially with the state adding a 10th district through reapportionment.
Former state Rep. Laura Ruderman announced her candidacy June 1, and state Rep. Marko Liias announced in May that he was exploring a bid. Liias said he would not raise money until Inslee announced his decision.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D), in preparation for being drawn out of his Cleveland-area district, visited Inslee’s district in May as the Ohio lawmaker considers running for Congress in a different state.
Ruderman ran and lost her bid for Washington secretary of state in 2004, and she lost a bid for chairwoman of the state Democratic Party in 2006. She won her first term to the state House in 1998 after nearly five years at Microsoft Corp., which is in the 1st district.
She originally ran for the 1st district in 1998 until Inslee, then a former one-term Congressman, entered the race. She opted to run for the 45th legislative district instead.
A Democratic source in Washington state said a third candidate will get in the 1st district race the moment Inslee makes his announcement.
State Rep. Roger Goodman, who represents Ruderman’s former district, filed candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission in January to run in the 8th district. He filed in a neighboring district out of respect to Inslee but will amend the filing once Inslee is officially in the gubernatorial race.
Inslee has been re-elected with more than 55 percent of the vote since 2000, and in the past two presidential elections, the current 1st district voted 63 percent for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 56 percent for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004.
Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) announced last week that she would not seek a third term.