Attorney General Bob Ferguson
Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks at a press conference announcing he's proposing legislation to abolish executions (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

A right wing attempt to recall Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son has end­ed in fail­ure after a judge pre­dictably deter­mined that there was insuf­fi­cient evi­dence to sup­port bogus charges con­coct­ed against Fer­gu­son by the recall mea­sure’s cre­ators Scott Ban­nis­ter of Yelm and Matthew Mar­shall of Roy.

King Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge Bill Bow­man ruled that Ban­nis­ter and Mar­shall had not demon­strat­ed that Fer­gu­son had com­mit­ted an act of mis­fea­sance or malfea­sance while in office, which is the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly-imposed pre­req­ui­site for launch­ing a recall peti­tion. Con­se­quent­ly, there will be no recall.

(In oth­er states, includ­ing Ore­gon and Wis­con­sin, friv­o­lous or unjus­ti­fied recalls are allowed, but the Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion pro­hibits them.)

Giv­en that Bob Fer­gu­son was already due to face the vot­ers this year, it’s unclear why Ban­nis­ter and Mar­shall were both­er­ing with try­ing to recall Ferguson.

Even if a judge had allowed them to pro­ceed with a sig­na­ture dri­ve, and even if they man­aged to get the req­ui­site sig­na­tures (a tall order), they would still be wast­ing their ener­gy. The 2020 pres­i­den­tial cycle is upon us; the reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled elec­tions for statewide exec­u­tive posi­tions are about to be held. There is no point in try­ing to recall some­body who’s already due to face the voters.

Appar­ent­ly it has not occurred to Ban­nis­ter and Mar­shall that the eas­i­est way to get what they want (Fer­gu­son out of office) is sim­ply to take advan­tage of the oppor­tu­ni­ty to chal­lenge him in this year’s reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled elec­tion for AG. Log­ic, as we have seen, is not the strong suit of many right wing activists.

So far, two Repub­li­cans and one inde­pen­dent have lined up to chal­lenge Bob Fer­gu­son. Nei­ther of the Repub­li­cans have report­ed rais­ing any mon­ey yet, and their cam­paigns do not appear to be credible.

Inde­pen­dent Brett Rogers seems to be Fer­gu­son’s only some­what active oppo­nent. Rogers has raised just $18,517.67 and spent $14,777.59. Fer­gu­son, mean­while, has a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar cam­paign trea­sury at his disposal.

In 2016, Repub­li­cans failed to recruit any­one to chal­lenge Fer­gu­son and he end­ed up on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot with a Lib­er­tar­i­an oppo­nent, whom he over­whelm­ing­ly defeat­ed. Though Repub­li­cans fre­quent­ly dis­play con­tempt for Fer­gu­son, they have not dis­played a will­ing­ness or inter­est to take him on.

Maybe that will change and the Repub­li­cans will recruit some­one like Steve O’Ban to chal­lenge Fer­gu­son this cycle. Even if they do find some­body, though, Fer­gu­son will be dif­fi­cult to beat. He has a work eth­ic that is sec­ond to none and he’s one of the nicest, most pleas­ant peo­ple alive on Plan­et Earth right now.

Per­haps most impor­tant­ly of all, Fer­gu­son gets results.

He has a stel­lar track record against the Trump regime and against pow­er­ful enti­ties like the Gro­cery Man­u­fac­tur­ers Asso­ci­a­tion. But it’s not just inside the court­room where he has been effec­tive. He often secures wins for fam­i­lies and work­ers with­out going to court, such as through his high­ly suc­cess­ful “no poach” ini­tia­tive, which has ben­e­fit­ed work­ing peo­ple all over this country.

Though NPI does not endorse can­di­dates for any office, we’re guess­ing Wash­ing­to­ni­ans will be giv­ing Bob Fer­gu­son a ring­ing endorse­ment lat­er this year when they get their bal­lots. The major­i­ty of peo­ple in this state have every rea­son to want to keep Fer­gu­son on as their chief law enforce­ment officer.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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