Political consultant weighs in on growing Washington governor’s race

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It’s official, Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced his bid for governor. The current Washington Attorney General joins a slew of others throwing their hats in the ring, including several other high-profile names like the current Public Lands Commissioner, Hilary Franz.

We reached out to Crystal Fincher, founder of political consulting firm, Fincher Consulting to weigh in on the latest candidate announcement. Fincher said it’s no surprise the number of candidates so far is in the double digits. It’s because Governor Jay Inslee isn’t running.

“The world today is a lot different than it was 10 years ago. I think the people want a chance to weigh in on the direction the state should go or continue to go,” Fincher said.

Attorney General had the campaign kickoff event in Washington Hall, hoping to fill the seat of his biggest endorser, current Governor Jay Inslee.

“Let’s give it up for the next governor of the state of Washington, Bob Ferguson,” said Governor Inslee while on stage at the event.

Fincher said the endorsement helps with visibility but campaigning is still ultimately up to Ferguson.

“It’s a coveted endorsement to be sure. This is the most visible democrat with the biggest platform in this state at this point in time,” said Fincher.

As of now, Ballotpedia lists 10 other gubernatorial candidates. Four Democrats, four Republicans, one Independent, and one Constitutional Party. Fincher said the GOP has more than an uphill battle to win the Governor’s seat. The last time Washingtonians voted in a Republican for the state’s top job was in 1981.

“Many people are looking at the Republican front runners in this race as Dave Reichert former congressperson, former sheriff. He has a profile that’s been known across the state and he’s been known in the past as one of the old-style Republicans that used to be able to get elected in Washington but the Republican party of today is a lot different,” Fincher explained.

A.G. Ferguson said at his event that he’s focusing his campaign on seven issues surrounding things like the opioid epidemic, affordable housing, and homelessness, and said the state needs more police.

“Washington literally ranks 50th per capita for having law enforcement officers,” said the Attorney General.

“Things like behavior health treatment and addressing root causes of the problems has to be a part of the overall formula,” Fincher said.

She added those also need to be considered when addressing public safety and policing.

One issue Fincher said crosses party lines, that candidates haven’t been so vocal about is the cost of childcare.

“The cost of childcare is now more expensive than the cost of college. Boy, if you’re a parent you’re feeling it. If you’re an employer you have your workers feeling that,” Fincher said.

The deadline to file for candidacy is in May.