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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz announces candidacy for Governor of Washington State

Mak­ing good on her promise last week to “watch this space,” Wash­ing­ton State’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz today entered the 2024 guber­na­to­r­i­al con­test with a press release, video, and cam­paign website.

Franz will be com­pet­ing with fel­low statewide office­hold­er Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son to suc­ceed cur­rent Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, who announced last week he’ll leave office when his third term is com­plete in Jan­u­ary 2025.

“I’m run­ning for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State,” said Franz.

“My office has been on the front lines of our chang­ing world. I know what it means to take bold risks to make big progress because there isn’t time to wait. We’re fac­ing many chal­lenges, but we can tack­le them, together.”

“My grand­par­ents were cat­tle ranch­ers in Pierce Coun­ty,” Franz explains on her cam­paign web­site. “My sis­ter and I grew up in Port­land, raised by a sin­gle father. My dad was a do-or-die union guy who took great pride in serv­ing the com­mu­ni­ty. After school, I would vis­it him at the fire sta­tion where he worked. It was there I learned about ded­i­ca­tion and pur­pose. These heroes taught me that progress comes from work­ing togeth­er and putting peo­ple first.”

In both her launch video and on her web­site, Franz specif­i­cal­ly men­tions the cli­mate cri­sis and the hous­ing cri­sis as top issues she’s focused on mak­ing progress. Franz has won praise and plau­dits from across the polit­i­cal spec­trum in secur­ing invest­ments for fight­ing wild­fires and obtain­ing bet­ter data to under­stand the threat of geo­log­i­cal haz­ards like tsunamis, earth­quakes, and lahars.

The word “edu­ca­tion” does­n’t appear on her “Meet Hilary” page, though Wash­ing­ton’s next gov­er­nor is almost cer­tain­ly going to be con­fronting a school fund­ing cri­sis too, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing that the 2023 Leg­is­la­ture and Gov­er­nor Inslee opt­ed not to cre­ate a bien­ni­al bud­get that pro­vides enough resources to pro­tect our school dis­tricts from destruc­tive cuts and aus­ter­i­ty measures.

Unlike Fer­gu­son, Franz did not unveil a lengthy list of ear­ly endorse­ments at the out­set of her cam­paign, though pre­sum­ably she will begin shar­ing endorse­ments down the road. She has an announce­ment event planned for next Monday.

Here’s her launch video, which is cen­tered on her max­im of “do epic”:

Fer­gu­son’s tenure in the exec­u­tive depart­ment (which con­sists of nine statewide elect­ed offi­cials) dates back to 2013, while Franz’s dates back to 2017.

Fer­gu­son pre­vailed over Repub­li­can Rea­gan Dunn to become Attor­ney Gen­er­al in 2012; Franz emerged out of a crowd­ed field for Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands in 2016 to win that posi­tion, defeat­ing Repub­li­can Steve McLaughlin.

Fer­gu­son faced no Repub­li­can oppo­si­tion in 2016, the first time he sought reelec­tion. In 2020, both Fer­gu­son and Franz chose to run for reelec­tion to their cur­rent posi­tions rather than run for gov­er­nor, after Jay Inslee switched from run­ning for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States to seek­ing a third term as the state’s chief exec­u­tive. Against Repub­li­can Matt Larkin, Fer­gu­son earned 56.43% of the vote. Against Repub­li­can Sue Kuehl Ped­er­son, Franz earned 56.69% of the vote.

Also in the 2024 race are Repub­li­cans Semi Bird and Raul Gar­cia, who have lit­tle name recog­ni­tion and face steep odds. Wash­ing­ton has­n’t elect­ed a Repub­li­can to the gov­er­nor’s office since 1980, an epoch ago in state and nation­al politics.

Gar­cia, a Yaki­ma doc­tor and 2020 guber­na­to­r­i­al con­tender who was eclipsed by Loren Culp, just filed cam­paign paper­work with the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Commission.

Not run­ning in 2024 are Coun­ty Exec­u­tives Bruce Dammeier and Dow Con­stan­tine. Dammeier, a Repub­li­can, is the cur­rent Exec­u­tive of Pierce Coun­ty, while Con­stan­tine, a Demo­c­rat, is the cur­rent Exec­u­tive of King County.

Dammeier and Con­stan­tine were part of a hypo­thet­i­cal guber­na­to­r­i­al field we polled on about two months ago in our win­ter statewide sur­vey. Dammeier was the only Repub­li­can in the poll and received 35%, which is the same as what Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler got in a the­o­ret­i­cal matchup against Maria Cantwell and what we believe in any Repub­li­can could get in a head-to-head contest.

Con­stan­tine got 7%, tying with Hilary Franz and trail­ing Fer­gu­son, who got 21%.

In a few weeks, our next statewide sea­son­al poll will go into the field, and we’ll be able to ask about an actu­al field of can­di­dates rather than a hypo­thet­i­cal one, which is excit­ing. The results of that sur­vey will be released right here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate. So, like Hilary Franz said last week… watch this space!

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One Ping

  1. […] (Franz is now run­ning for gov­er­nor, cre­at­ing an open­ing for a new Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands, but Rolfes has decid­ed she’d rather be a dif­fer­ent kind of Com­mis­sion­er — a mem­ber of Kit­sap Coun­ty’s leg­isla­tive branch.) […]

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