Chism Strategies has released a survey giving prognosticators an idea of what to expect in next year’s gubernatorial election in Washington State. The poll was conducted from March 8th to 10th among likely voters.
The poll finds that among Democrats, Attorney General Bob Ferguson has 24.6% support – eclipsing his closest rivals, King County Executive Dow Constantine (6.2%) and Public Land Commissioner Hilary Franz (1.8%).
Attorney General Ferguson has made his name in recent years as a vocal opponent of the Trump regime. He has consistently criticized former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and defended Washington’s growing marijuana industry against the failed war on drugs mentality still espoused by officials at the federal level.
The poll found 46.3% support for Republican Bill Bryant. Bryant isn’t currently running, but since no high profile Republican has declared yet, the pollster substituted Bryant in as a ‘generic’ Republican candidate. Bryant ran for governor in 2016 and was walloped, losing by almost 9% to Jay Inslee.
Inslee was not included in the poll.
Although Washington has no term limits for governor, Inslee has set his sights beyond Washington State. The two-term governor announced his bid for the presidency on March 1st, and has put off making a decision about seeking a third term as Washington’s chief executive. His presidential campaign is expressly focused on protecting the planet; as he argued recently on the Daily Show, “you can’t solve other problems unless you solve climate change”.
Washington Democrats have had great success in electing governors. The party boasts the longest winning streak in gubernatorial races in the country. Washington has not had a Republican governor in office since 1985.
Of course, Bob Ferguson is not necessarily a shoo-in; Washington uses a two-part general election system that pits every candidate against each other regardless of party affiliation in the first round and allows the top two vote-winners to progress to the general election – again, regardless of their party. This can result in unusual outcomes, like in 2016, when three Democrats running for Treasurer split the vote almost equally, allowing two Republicans to advance to the runoff.
Still, the conventional wisdom is that Ferguson is favored to win if he runs.