Since he lost his bid for a third term as Seattle mayor in 2009, Greg Nickels has spent time at a Harvard fellowship, served as a public...
Since he lost his bid for a third term as Seattle mayor in 2009, Greg Nickels has spent time at a Harvard fellowship, served as a public delegate to the United Nations and even advised mayors in Ukraine.
But local politics has always been in Nickels’ blood, and now he’s considering getting back in the game — by running for secretary of state.
“I’ve enjoyed all those experiences,” Nickels said of his roles since being mayor. “But I come back to the fact that public service has been really my life. I’ve always been a local person. This is the place I love.”
As someone who has been involved in politics since he was 16, Nickels said he “has a reverence for the electoral process” and would be interested the office’s primary job of administering elections. He also likes the office’s roles in managing the state historical archives and registering small businesses. Nickels said the secretary of state race was not on his radar screen until just before the holidays when state Democratic Party chairman Dwight Pelz called, “and suggested I throw my hat in the ring.”
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While he’s made no decision, Nickels said the thought intrigues him and he’s taking a serious look.
“I’m not necessarily saying it’s a sure bet, but it is interesting,” Nickels said. For now, he’s talking about the idea with possible supporters, and “if it feels like the right fit that would put me over the top.”
As a student of history, Nickels said he’s aware this would be an upstream fight in a couple of ways.
No Democrat has been elected secretary of state since 1960, he noted. And no Seattle mayor has moved on to a higher office since Republican Art Langlie was elected governor in 1940. (Former Seattle mayors Norm Rice and Charles Royer both ran for higher office but were rebuffed.)
Nickels said he’ll probably make a decision by the end of the month.
The current secretary of state, Sam Reed, a Republican, is retiring and several would-be successors have already started running to succeed him. They include Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman, a Republican; Democratic state lawmakers Zach Hudgins and James Kastama, and former Democratic state lawmaker Kathleen Drew.
To reach a Seattle Times political editor, call 206-464-2204.