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Special Election to Replace Rep. Inslee Cost Taxpayers $719,000

Special elections to replace Inslee cost $719,000
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

When then-Democratic Representative Jay Inslee resigned to campaign for governor against Rob McKenna, it cost Washington residents.

Inslee, who was serving in the 1st Congressional District, resigned to run for governor in 2012, and even though the district had its boundaries re-drawn, federal rules required the “old” boundaries had to be used in the special election.

This resulted in two special elections having to be held. One, to fill his original district, and a second to select someone to serve a two-year term in the “new” district. Suzanne DelBene won both races. She served a dual role, filling out the rest of Inslee’s term while also beginning the two-year term in the new district.

While the redistricting issue was not anyone’s fault, some critics are asking if anyone is going to foot the bill?

Washington state election officials are having to reimburse Snohomish, King and Kitsap Counties a total of $719,000 for the cost of those elections.

While it may be unfair to pin this on Inslee, he is inevitably tied to the issue.

Critics say he and his staff had to be aware of how changing the boundaries of the 1st Congressional District could result in a thorny situation.

Other say it’s simply an unfortunate circumstance; politicians often resign from office before their term is up, for a wide variety of reasons.

Given the debate over state government spending, budgets and taxes, the $719,000 bill is an even bigger issue than it might be in other years.

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