May 11, 2023 - Politics

The 2024 races for governor and attorney general are heating up

A photo montage of Raul Garcia, Hilary Franz and Bob Ferguson, all in suit jackets or blazers and smiling.

From left: Raul Garcia, Hilary Franz and Bob Ferguson. Courtesy of candidate campaigns

The race for Washington governor is becoming more crowded, with the state's lands commissioner, Hilary Franz, formally announcing her candidacy Wednesday to become the state's top executive.

Why it matters: Washington's governorship is coming open for the first time in 12 years, now that Democrat Jay Inslee has decided not to seek re-election. That's creating opportunities for candidates up and down the ballot.

Latest: Franz, who leads the state Department of Natural Resources, is the second prominent Democrat to jump into the governor's race after state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced he was exploring a run last week.

  • Over the course of about a week, Ferguson's gubernatorial campaign committee raised more than $1.5 million, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.
  • On the Republican side, Raul Garcia, a Yakima physician who ran for governor in 2020 and lost in the primary, also formed a campaign committee this week and is planning a 2024 gubernatorial run.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Mark Mullet, an Issaquah Democrat, is weighing a run for governor, and Semi Bird, a Richland School board member, has filed to run as a Republican.

Plus: State Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) announced she will run to replace Ferguson as attorney general in 2024. That race, too, is expected to attract many candidates, as it hasn't been open since 2012.

Between the lines: Some candidates who were interested in running for statewide office four years ago have yet to declare their intentions.

  • State solicitor general Noah Purcell, who explored running for attorney general in 2019, told Axios he is waiting to see if Nick Brown, the U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, decides to seek the job. Purcell said he won't run if Brown, "a longtime friend," chooses to run.
  • Brown told Axios Wednesday he didn't have any comment on the attorney general's race at the moment.

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