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Apil 4th, 2024                   Len’s Political Note #633 Washington Governor Bob Ferguson

2024                                      General Election

Most commentators describe this race as lean or likely Democratic.  Washington’s last Republican governor was defeated for reelection in 1984.  Since then, there have been five Democratic governors.  State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is planning on being the sixth.

Bob Ferguson’s great-grandparents were homesteaders on a plot near the Skagit River in eastern Washington.  Not everyone in the family stayed on the farm. Some went to the big city.   Bob Ferguson was born in Seattle, went to Catholic schools and graduated from Bishop Blanchet High School.  From there he went to the University of Washington where he did what many aspiring politicians do.  He got himself elected student body president.

Bob Ferguson remained connected with the farm – or at least with the nature that surrounds it.  More of a loner than most politicians, he is an avid hiker and mountain climber.  Competitive, he plays chess.  Bob Ferguson is good at it.  Not necessarily of international quality, he nevertheless, has twice been the state of Washington’s best player.

Like the more earnest prospective politicians, Bob Ferguson wants and wanted to do good.  After graduation from college he joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest and, for a year, ran an emergency services office.  Then he went to law school – away.  He left for New York and New York University’s law school.  While at law school, he continued his quest to do good – providing the legal services that a law school student could for members of the Yaqui tribe in Guadalupe, Arizona.

Finished with law school, Bob Ferguson returned to Washington for a federal court clerkship in Spokane and then an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals clerkship in the Midwest.  Down to regular work, he served as a litigator for a Seattle law firm working on cases as disparate as those associated with a major league team’s baseball field to software piracy (This is Seattle, after all.). Sustaining his commitment to good works, much more than the average big firm attorney, he committed time to pro bono representation of non-profits.

Bob Ferguson sustained his interests in politics.  In 2003, he was elected to the County Council, ousting a 20-year veteran by 500 votes.  He remained on the County Council until 2012, when he was elected Attorney General. He is proud of his three term record.  He can claim an important role in suing the companies that created the opioid epidemic.  It took a few years of litigation, but he won a consumer protection lawsuit against a florist who refused, on religious grounds,  to provide flowers to a long-time customer for his wedding to another man.  He won a $3 million settlement against a gun shop owner who continued to sell high capacity ammunition magazines.  He won a case against a health provider organization for violating the state’s charity care law. And he won a price-fixing case against chicken producers and tuna companies.

Bob Ferguson had some losses as Attorney General.  He lost to Native Americans who sued to get the state to install and maintain culverts that would protect salmon spawning areas. The estimated cost to the state was more than $7 billion.  He lost a case involving the state’s placing a mentally disabled woman into a home.  The judge was critical of the attorney general’s office and described it as recklessly ignoring discovery requirements.

Bob Ferguson’s probable opponent is former Congressman Dave Reichert.  Dave Reichert announced his retirement from Congress in the midst of the Congressional battles about passage of the Affordable Care Act.  Because she was worried that her Congressman would vote against that legislation, pediatrician Kim Schreier announced her run for Congress.  Dave Reichert announced his retirement and eventually voted for the law’s passage.  Kim Schreier was elected to Congress and is still there.

Dave Reichert had a career of more than thirty years in law enforcement.  He joined the King’s County sheriff’s office in 1972, became sheriff in in 1997, and served in that role until he was elected to Congress in 2004. Particularly worth mentioning are a life saving act in his second year on the force which endangered his life and his authoring a book about his “20 year quest to capture the Green River killer.”  His principal focus as a candidate is on crime – arguing that the State of Washington has become “a haven for crime, drugs, homelessness, human trafficking, and other serious problems”. Using his experience in law enforcement, he would “make you and your family feel safe again.”

Republicans don’t like Bob Ferguson much.  They claim he cuts corners.  That’s rich from people whose party is led by Donald Trump.  You can see in a recent complaint what they are after.  Bob Ferguson had over $1 million remaining in his Attorney General campaign fund that he transferred to his gubernatorial campaign.  Critics demanded he disclose the donors of that money.  That is not so easy with money which is fungible and he resisted.  Eventually, acquiescing to the state Public Disclosure Commission, he obtained permission from donors and listed them and the amount of their donation, thereby ensuring the previous donations would be counted against the state’s donation limits.

His modest financial misjudgment should not be enough to dissuade.  I urge you to DONATE TO BOB FERGUSON.  He is a man whose campaign issues begin with protecting reproductive freedom and end with protecting the constitution.  That is different from the Republican candidate whose alpha is crime and omega is accountability.

Other competitive northwest races

Oregon 05 State Rep Janelle Bynum to defeat Incumbent Lori Chavez-DeRemer Janelle Bynum has defeated her twice, both times for the State Rep position she now holds.  She was in Taiwan on 9/11 working for General Motors.  After that, she and her husband bought out her mother-in-law’s McDonald’s franchises.  Active in the community, she was elected an open seat in the Oregon House.  There are no polls.  On December 31, she had less than $250,000 to Chavez-DeRemer’s $1.6 million.  She is the likely nominee and getting a lot of support.  You can help, too DONATE TO JANCELLE BYNUM.  See Len’s Political Note #618

Oregon 06 Incumbent Andrea Salinus to defeat ex candidate Mike Erickson.  Andrea Salinas is the incumbent for this district which is southwest of Portland and includes the city of Salem. Daughter of a Mexican immigrant, she graduated from Berkeley and went to Washington where she lobbied on behalf of the treasury employees’ union, served as a staffer for Members of Congress and returned to Oregon as a political consultant.  She is opposed by Businessman Mike Erickson who she defeated in 2022.  There are no polls for this race.  As of December 31, she had $1.1 million to Erickson’s $70.  DONATE TO ANDREA SALINUS. Make this contest appear hopeless to Erickson and the Republicans. See Len’s Political Note #548

 Washington 03. Incumbent Marie Gluesenkamp Perez intends to defeat extreme right -winger Joe Kent again in this district in the southwest of Washington.  She is a graduate of Reed College who opened and ran an automobile repair garage.  She has found a way to be appropriately conservative for this conservative leaning district.  Kent has a following. He ended 2023 with $500,000.  Marie Gluesenkamp is protecting herself.  She ended 2023 with $2.2 million for the campaign.  DONATE TO MARIE GLUESENKAMP.  This could be a big money campaign.  See Len’s Political Note #543

Other Governor races

Indiana. Ex Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick to defeat the probable Republican nominee US Senator Mike Braun.  Jennifer McCormick is a former school superintendent and former Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction who pressed for tougher student assessments and better quality schools.  Mike Braun is a one term Senator who opposes the Affordable Care Act, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, all abortions, and same sex immigrants.  DONATE TO JENNIFER MCCORMICK.  See Len’s political Note #590

Missouri. House Minority Leader Crystal Quade to defeat either Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft or Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe. There are no polls for this race.  Crystal Quade is the minority leader in the Missouri House of Representatives where she fought to repeal the state’s total ban on abortions and for provisions that would protect family farms from Chinese or Russian purchasers.  DONATE TO CRYSTAL QUADE.  An early March poll showed Crystal Quade trailing Secretary of State John Ashcroft 53-36.  Give her some help.

Montana. Gun safety activist Ryan Busse to defeat Incumbent Greg Gianforte.  Once an arms manufacturing executive, Ryan Busse became convinced of the need for gun safety legislation.  Gianforte, a transplant from New Jersey, made his multimillions with RightNow Technologies when it was acquired by Oracle. He has used his money to promote creationist theology as an alternative to evolution and to support his conservative political efforts.  Famously, he assaulted a reporter before he was to give a speech.  Donald Trump praised him for the assault. A mid-February polls showed Ryan Busse trailing the incumbent 52-30.   During the period from January 1 to March 15, without using any of his own money, Gianforte raised $1.2 million.  Ryan Busse raised $400,000.  DONATE TO RYAN BUSSE.  If he can come close to the funds Gianforte raises, he could surprise in this election.  See Len’s Political Note #604

New Hampshire. Mayor Joyce Craig to defeat probable Republican nominee Ex US Senator Kelly Ayotte.  There are no polls for this race.  Joyce Craig has been mayor of Manchester since 2018.  She reports that she attracted hundreds of millions of business investments to her city and reduced crime by 38%.  She proposes to protect abortion rights and to increase affordable housing in the state.  Kelly Ayotte has served as Attorney General for the state and one term as US Senator.  In 2016, when Ayotte lost her race for reelection as US Senator, she said she could not vote for Donald Trump after his lewd comments on the Access Hollywood tapes became public.  She lost her race.  He won his.  In a world where Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican Party, we need every Democratic governor we can get.  DONATE TO JOYCE CRAIG.

North Carolina. Attorney General Josh Stein to defeat Lt. Governor Mark Robinson. I don’t want to normalize extremist Mark Robinson.  He is as anti-Semitic as they come and as willing to disregard the constitution or the truth as anyone in public life.  He leads a ticket of extremists.  Josh Stein is an appealing moderate to progressive Democrat who was popular as Attorney General.  Two March polls show Stein leading by 2 points; one shows Robinson leading by 5.  In late January, before the March 5 primary, Josh Stein reported he had raised $5.7 million and spent $2.1 million.  Robinson reported he had raised $3.4 million and spent $2.3 million DONATE TO JOSH STEIN. See Len’s Political Note #574

Washington. Attorney General Bob Ferguson to defeat Ex Congressman David Reichert. Bob Ferguson is an earnest three term attorney general; Dave Reichert is a former sheriff and a law and order guy.   A mid-February poll showed Bob Ferguson leading Dave Reichert in the General Election (Neither has much competition for the top-two primary) by a 46-42 margin. The Public Disclosure Commission reported recently that Bob Ferguson had raised $6 million and spent $1.5 million.  They reported that Dave Reichert had raised $2.1 million and spent $1.3 million.  DONATE TO BOB FERGUSON.  Keep him in the lead in the financial race and the popular race.

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As we look toward November, 2024, Help sustain the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaign. National head to head polls between March 24 and March 26 include one poll that is even between Biden and Trump, 5 polls with Trump leading by 1 to 4 points and 2 polls with Biden leading by 1 to 3 points.  Every donation, large or small, makes a difference.  Larger donations mean more money for the campaign.  But large numbers of small donations are a measure of enthusiasm for the candidate.  Make a small donation if you cannot afford a large one.   DONATE TO JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS.  See Len’s Political Note #605
#15 in the Stephenson County, IL list of Biden accomplishments: Gave Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices through the Inflation Reducation Act while also reducing government health spending.