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Hello all! And welcome to the first of 50 columns we will be writing. OnexOne.com is much like 535.com in a sense of getting the American public to know its representatives. While 535 takes an in-depth look at the legislative branch and members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, OnexOne takes a look at the executive branch and the 50 governors of each of the 50 states in this great country. And unlike 535, we don't use local journalists to write about the topic, but rather a close confidant of the topic themselves. Today, we'll be starting off with Governor Alex Nolan of Washington State, and writing up about him is a close friend of his, the young and bright Andrew Howard. Howard is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Tom Grissom, and is is friends with Governor Nolan from way back. Andrew, take it away.
Thanks guys! And I'd just like to say I'm proud to become part of this great quest OnexOne has taken on. Not to mention, I'd like to thank them for the honor of being the first one to write for the site. Now, to business! I have a long standing relationship with Governor Nolan mainly because, as many of you know, my father is Blake Howard, Washington's governor from 2000-2008. And Alex was my father's chief-of-staff for that period of time. My father left office with approval ratings in the high 60s, and endorsed Alex without so much of a blink of an eye. And the rest, as we say, is history.
Governor: Alex Nolan
Political Party: Democrat
Nolan, as mentioned, has been a long time friend of my family. But before then, he did many things to raise his profile. His family is a famed one in Seattle as they own Nolan Fishing Works, a large fishing company that grew back in the early 1900s to prominence. After graduating from University of Seattle, he joined the family business. He worked his way through the ranks, as he didn't want any signs of nepotism as he planned on taking over the business one day. But fate had a different plan for dear ol' "Uncle Alex." During a business meeting in 1993 in San Francisco, he met several big shot members of the democratic party, including Leo McGarry, Roland Pierce, and then-new senator, Justine Avery. He suddenly began growing an interest in politics, and took part in several rallies over the course of the next few years.
Soon after, he met my father in 1998 at a rally for then candidate for the Presidency, William Wiley. Both were ardent Wiley supporters, but my father was also the Mayor of Seattle. After becoming fast friends, Nolan left his business in the care of his eldest son and joined my father as his chief-of-staff. Two years later, they continued this pairing as my father won the governorship. Those two did a lot of good together, and became even better friends. After 8 years, with my father term limited, it came time for Nolan to decide what more he wanted to do.
After a long period of discussion, Nolan announced his candidacy for Governor in late 2007. And he had a lot of work to do to get to the place where his best friend sat for the past 7 years. He faced two big names in the primary, lieutenant governor, Cora Helms, who never particularly liked my father and his administration, and former Rep. Gore Mendy, whom I replaced in a special election. Both of whom were strongly seen ahead of Nolan, Mendy holding the lead, with Helms right behind, and Nolan in a distant third. Then he started using his assets. Endorsements from my father and Sentor Wiley helped, although Mendy balanced it out with one from Tom Grissom, soon Helms was forced out of the race and Nolan and Mendy fought tooth and nail over the nomination. Eventually, the edge went to Nolan when President Bartlet came to the state and endorsed him.
Then in the general campaign, in a year bad for the democrats, Nolan faced competition, although not the strongest. Former State Treasurer Landon Morris ran on a far-right campaign in the liberal pacific state, and lost in a somewhat easy race. Nolan won 57-43, and has been very popular ever since.
Nolan faces reelection in two years time, and while the race is generally a safe democratic hold, other factors are now in play. In April, Jeff Haffley announced he was retiring from the House, but also refused to rule out a run for governor. Causing many to believe that he would seek it in 2012. Haffley, the former Speaker of the House and Presidential candidate, has been looking for a way to redefine himself since his glory days as Speaker. They haven't been appearing as easily as he'd like, and perhaps a run for the governor's mansion is in order. Either way, he'll have an uphill battle to climb if he decides to do so. Nolan is polling in the low-60s approval rating wise, and doesn't seem likely to lose that anytime soon.