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Who's running to be governor of Washington? A look at the candidates

Democrats and Republicans have begun announcing their candidacies after Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he does not intend to seek reelection for a fourth term.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state will have a new political position up for grabs in 2024, as Gov. Jay Inslee announced at the beginning of May that he does not intend to seek reelection for a fourth term.

Inslee was last reelected in 2020, becoming the second governor in Washington state to be elected to a third consecutive term. After thinking "long and hard" about not running for reelection, the governor said he decided over the last week of April.

Inslee said he hasn't made any decisions about who he might endorse to follow him as governor.

First, a look at the Democratic contenders: 

Hilary Franz

Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz launched her campaign on May 10.

In a video announcing her candidacy, Franz highlighted her accomplishments with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and her top priorities if elected, which include climate change, housing and wages.

Franz has served as the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands since 2016 and is the second woman to be elected to that office.  During her time with DNR, she has introduced policies surrounding wildfire prevention, water and land protection and climate resiliency.

RELATED: Hilary Franz announces campaign for Washington governor

Bob Ferguson

Although he's not yet an official candidate, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced he has launched an exploratory committee as the first step to a possible run, shortly after Inslee said does not intend to seek reelection.

Ferguson, a Democrat, announced his exploratory launch with a video posted to YouTube and a website.

The exploratory campaign allows Ferguson to begin collecting campaign donations without formally entering the race for Governor.

Ferguson was first elected as Washington’s Attorney General in 2012. He previously served on the King County Council.

RELATED: Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson 'exploring' Governor's job

As far as Republicans, state party chair Caleb Heimlich said his party has a chance to reclaim the governor’s office.

No Republican has been Governor in Washington since John Spellman left office in 1985.

Mark Mullet

State Sen. Mark Mullet announced his candidacy for governor on June 1.

Mullet, D-Issaquah, has represented the 5th Legislative District since 2012. Originally from Tukwila, Mullet served on Issaquah's City Council from 2009-2013.

In his campaign announcement, Mullet said he is focused on education issues, affordable housing, ensuring streets and neighborhoods are safer and combating climate change.

RELATED: State Sen. Mark Mullet announces candidacy for Washington Governor

Here's a look at the Republican candidates:

Dave Reichert

Former U.S. Representative and King County Sheriff Dave Reichert said he is ready to return to public service as Washington’s governor.  

“I want to be there as a servant. I want to be a listener,” Reichert said. “We all say, ‘Government needs to be transparent and open.’ Nobody ever keeps their word with that.” 

In his first interview since filing for the office on June 30, Reichert said after leaving Congress in 2019, he has been frustrated with what he sees as partisanship and government becoming too powerful. 

Reichert is the biggest Republican name to enter the race so far. 

Reichert is best known for solving the Green River killings.

RELATED: Dave Reichert wants to be state’s ‘servant’ as governor

Misipati Semi Bird

Misipati Semi Bird, a Richmond School Board member, announced his candidacy in November.

Bird said in his announcement video that he is running for "safe communities, quality in education and economic opportunity for all." 

Other Republican candidates include James Daniel, Laurel Khan, Kristin Schuler, and Martin Wheeler. Yakima doctor Raul Garcia dropped out of the race in July.

WATCH: KING 5's state politics playlist on YouTube


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