Democratic State Senator Manka Dhingra (D‑45th District: Redmond, Kirkland, Sammamish, Duvall), a Northwest Progressive Foundation boardmember, today became the first major candidate to jump into the 2024 contest for Attorney General of Washington State, which will be open next year due to incumbent Bob Ferguson’s decision to run for governor after Jay Inslee announced his retirement.
“Washington has never had an Attorney General of Washington with deep experience in criminal prosecution,” said Dhingra, who was first elected to the Legislature in 2017 in an expensive special election in the 45th District and has easily secured reelection twice since then (in 2018 and 2022).
“I began my legal career in the State Attorney General’s Office assisting with Sexually Violent Predator cases, and went on to a two decade career as a King County Deputy Prosecutor. I’ve put domestic abusers and child predators behind bars, prosecuted gun crimes, and confronted the blind spots in our justice system to improve accountability and reduce crime.”
“I’ve spent my career in the courtroom and State Senate speaking out for people who too often have no voice,” she added. “I’ve led reforms to create veterans and mental health courts to make sure people get the treatment they need.”
“I’ve written, sponsored, and passed laws to address gun violence, ban assault weapons and ghost guns. I’ve strengthened protection order laws so victims of abuse and their families can find solace and recovery. I’ve also secured the nation’s strongest privacy protections for sensitive reproductive and health care data.” (NPI worked with Senator Dhingra to pass many of these bills.)
“I’m excited to take this next step in my legal and advocacy career, continuing to work for all the people of Washington State as we confront national challenges to voting and access to reproductive rights. I’ll lead nationally on laws that safeguard worker rights, hold polluters accountable, and address the epidemic of gun violence.”
Most of Dhingra’s Democratic colleagues in the Washington State Senate are supporting her candidacy. Twenty fellow Democratic senators — which is most of the caucus — have already endorsed her. Former state party chair Tina Podlodowski is a supporter, along with King County Councilmembers Sarah Perry and Claudia Balducci, who represent the Eastside at the county level.
In 2020, State Representative Drew Hansen and then Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez also considered running for Attorney General along with Dhingra, but neither is presently making moves to enter the 2024 race. Nick Brown, the U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, is said to be contemplating a run, but has declined to comment when asked reporters about his plans. Brown is good friends with Washington State Solicitor General Noah Purcell, who has also previously weighed running for AG. (If Brown does run, Purcell told Jerry Cornfield he won’t.)
Republicans have not yet put forth a candidate. They could try to field a county prosecuting attorney, as they hold some of those offices.
Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison is reportedly interested in running, but she has previously flopped as a statewide candidate, and if she runs for AG as a Republican, she’ll have to pander to the militant, extreme, Trump-adoring Republican base throughout the state, which could significantly damage her standing among Seattle voters, destroying any hope of reelection in 2025.
Incumbent Bob Ferguson will be leaving behind some mighty big shoes. Ferguson has had an incredible run as AG, with an impressive record in the legal arena, the legislative arena, and the electoral arena. He and his team have secured crucial victories at every level for a long list of progressive causes: environmental justice, reproductive rights, worker and immigrant protections, and health freedom, to name a few. He fearlessly took on the Trump regime, early and often.
Ferguson has also vigorously enforced Washington State’s public disclosure laws, holding bad actors like Tim Eyman and the Grocery Manufacturers accountable.
No one in modern times has done more with the office. But Ferguson would be the first to say there’s always more to do. If Dhingra is his successor, he’ll be followed by someone who is extremely passionate about securing progress and getting results. Senator Dhingra has consistently demonstrated a first-rate work ethic since she joined the Senate, and our staff has no doubt she’d work very hard as Attorney General to get justice for Washingtonians every day.
NPI does not endorse candidates for office or engage in electioneering for or against any candidate, but we will be covering this race over the next year and a half, and polling on it as well. We’ll be keeping an eye on the field as it grows!
Updated May 9th, 2023 with information about other candidates in the race.