Categories: Elections

Senator Manka Dhingra launches 2024 campaign for Attorney General

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.

Andrew Villeneuve

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