NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Tuesday, June 27th, 2023

Is Dave Reichert getting ready to run for governor in 2024? It sure looks that way

For­mer Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and King Coun­ty Sher­iff Dave Reichert, a Repub­li­can, appears to be on the verge of join­ing the increas­ing­ly crowd­ed field of can­di­dates run­ning for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State next year, if recent state­ments from Repub­li­can state leg­is­la­tors are any indication.

We don’t pub­lish much in the way of rumors, spec­u­la­tion, or gos­sip here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate — it’s just not our thing. But our team has noticed that an increas­ing num­ber of Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors and oth­er promi­nent local Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials are pub­licly stat­ing on Twit­ter that they’ve had great con­ver­sa­tions with Reichert and will glad­ly be sup­port­ing him if he runs for gov­er­nor, which seem to be part of a coor­di­nat­ed ramp-up for Reichert.

That sug­gests an announce­ment is immi­nent. Reichert is run­ning.

Reichert, sev­en­ty-two, was the King Coun­ty Sher­iff for many years before seek­ing high­er office. He served sev­er­al terms in Con­gress rep­re­sent­ing the 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict. He won the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for Con­gress in 2004, defeat­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent Dave Ross in the gen­er­al elec­tion, and took over for long­time rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jen­nifer Dunn in Jan­u­ary 2005.

A few weeks lat­er, Reichert held a “town hall” in Belle­vue, which fea­tured rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Wash­ing­ton Pol­i­cy Cen­ter and the Bush admin­is­tra­tion try­ing to sell the pri­va­ti­za­tion of Social Secu­ri­ty to East­side vot­ers. We report­ed on the event here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate; the post is still avail­able from our archives. Reichert, who appeared vis­i­bly uncom­fort­able through­out that event, nev­er held anoth­er in-per­son town hall dur­ing the rest of his time in Congress.

He did man­age to pre­vail over Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lengers Dar­cy Burn­er and Suzan Del­Bene to secure reelec­tion in 2006, 2008, and 2010, after which point Democ­rats basi­cal­ly gave up on try­ing to unseat him.

Reichert opt­ed to leave Con­gress after Don­ald Trump got installed in the White House by the Elec­toral Col­lege, and Democ­rats prompt­ly mount­ed a huge effort to take the 8th (a sub­ur­ban-exur­ban-rur­al dis­trict), which was successful.

Reichert’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic suc­ces­sor Kim Schri­er has, like Reichert, been able to beat back repeat­ed chal­lenges from the oppo­si­tion, and con­tin­ues to hold the seat.

Reichert pri­vate­ly and pub­licly con­tem­plat­ed run­ning against Jay Inslee for gov­er­nor in 2016 and 2020, but he decid­ed against it each time.

In 2016, he said: “Like so many of you, I have been extreme­ly dis­ap­point­ed in the deci­sions com­ing out of the Governor’s Office — regard­ing our schools, the health of our chil­dren, and most recent­ly a deci­sion to give the Green Riv­er ser­i­al killer a chance to enjoy life in a nicer prison. We deserve better.”

“Yet, I believe I can bet­ter serve you now, today, in anoth­er Wash­ing­ton where politi­cians are more inter­est­ed in fight­ing each oth­er than fight­ing for Amer­i­ca; where lead­er­ship has been in retreat, and courage has been on recess.”

In 2020, he said: “I am hon­ored and hum­bled to have recent­ly been asked to con­sid­er run­ning for Gov­er­nor in 2020. After much thought­ful prayer and dis­cus­sion with fam­i­ly and friends, I have decid­ed not to run.”

Now, how­ev­er, with Jay Inslee retir­ing and the state’s top job open for the first time in twelve years, Reichert seems to be in and ready to run.

Con­sid­er these tweets:

As some may know I was con­sid­er­ing a run for Gov- I recent­ly spoke w/ Dave Reichert and he is active­ly explor­ing a run. With that in mind I am ful­ly endors­ing him as he is the right per­son for the job. Dave can restore bal­ance to WA!

Drew MacEwen, Repub­li­can state sen­a­tor from the 35th Leg­isla­tive District

I had a great con­ver­sa­tion with Dave Reichert about his vision for WA. He is solu­tions focused, proven leader, & will deliv­er the bal­ance we need after gen­er­a­tions of 1‑party rule. When Dave Reichert announces his 2024 Guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign, he’ll have my sup­port & endorsement.

Peter Abbarno, Repub­li­can state rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the 20th Leg­isla­tive District

Spoke with Dave Reichert today, and we had a great con­ver­sa­tion about his vision for WA. Our state is in cri­sis, and we need an expe­ri­enced leader to bring much need­ed bal­ance back to our great state. When he announces his run for Gov­er­nor, he will have my support!

Travis Cou­ture, Repub­li­can state rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the 35th Leg­isla­tive District

I had a great chat with Dave Reichert today. If he choos­es to run, it would be my hon­or to sup­port him for the job of gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton. ‘The right per­son at the right time for Wash­ing­ton state.

Cyn­dy Jacob­son, Repub­li­can state rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the 25th Leg­isla­tive District

Crime Fight­er. Air Force Vet­er­an. Fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive. Fam­i­ly man. That’s Dave Reichert & I hope he runs for Gov­er­nor. We need a leader who is expe­ri­enced, firm, and fair-mind­ed. He’s been King Co Sher­iff, an effec­tive leader in Con­gress, & he’s tough enough to lead our state!

Bruce Dammeier, Repub­li­can Pierce Coun­ty Executive

That last one is par­tic­u­lar­ly notable — it’s from Bruce Dammeier, the exec­u­tive of the sec­ond largest coun­ty in Wash­ing­ton State, and a for­mer state leg­is­la­tor rather than a cur­rent­ly-serv­ing one. Dammeier was part of the hypo­thet­i­cal field of guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­dates that we test­ed in our March 2023 statewide poll along with Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz, and King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Constantine.

After the results were released, Dammeier reit­er­at­ed he would not be run­ning for gov­er­nor. (He had said so before, but we want­ed a cred­i­ble Repub­li­can to put up in the sur­vey along with the three Demo­c­ra­t­ic pos­si­bil­i­ties, and chose him.) Con­stan­tine fol­lowed suit with­in hours, say­ing he would­n’t run either.

Weeks lat­er, Gov­er­nor Inslee announced his retire­ment. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son prompt­ly launched a guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign and Hilary Franz did like­wise sev­er­al days lat­er. Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Sen­a­tor Mark Mul­let has since jumped in too, along with Yaki­ma physi­cian Raul Garcia.

Those four plus ultra MAGA con­tender Semi Bird met the cri­te­ria we estab­lished for inclu­sion in our June 2023 statewide guber­na­to­r­i­al poll ques­tion. As an unde­clared can­di­date, Reichert did not meet our cri­te­ria. How­ev­er, if he enters the con­test, he will be includ­ed in our next sea­son­al statewide survey.

A Reichert can­di­da­cy would real­ly shake up the cur­rent guber­na­to­r­i­al field. Reichert is well known and would be very well posi­tioned to secure one of those top two spots next year along with Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, who cur­rent­ly leads the field accord­ing to our June elec­toral research.

While a Reichert can­di­da­cy prob­a­bly would­n’t faze Fer­gu­son’s cam­paign, it seems like it would be a huge, show­stop­ping prob­lem for the oth­er high­er-pro­file guber­na­to­r­i­al hope­fuls — Franz, Mul­let, Gar­cia, and Bird, all of whom are hop­ing to get through to the gen­er­al elec­tion along with Ferguson.

Mul­let, in par­tic­u­lar, is bet­ting that he can win with a coali­tion of Demo­c­ra­t­ic, inde­pen­dent, and Repub­li­can vot­ers as an alter­na­tive to Fer­gu­son. But that plan will only work if Mul­let can get through the Top Two election.

Raul Gar­cia is in a sim­i­lar predicament.

If Reichert does­n’t run, Gar­cia stands a decent chance of unit­ing enough Repub­li­can vot­ers behind his can­di­da­cy (and per­haps also attract­ing some inde­pen­dents) to get through to the gen­er­al elec­tion. Gar­cia came in sec­ond in our poll ear­li­er this month and has had a good start to his 2024 bid.

On the oth­er hand, if Reichert gets in, he’s the instant Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner in the eyes of a lot of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans. He will have lit­tle dif­fi­cul­ty rais­ing mon­ey or col­lect­ing endorse­ments. Plen­ty of Repub­li­cans hun­gry for a break­through in Wash­ing­ton will see him as their best chance in a long time to win the gov­er­nor’s office, which they last man­aged to do in 1980 with John Spellman.

Even if he locks down one of the top two spots and gets to the gen­er­al elec­tion,. how­ev­er, Reichert will almost cer­tain­ly have to share a tick­et with the likes of Don­ald Trump, Ron DeSan­tis, or anoth­er ultra MAGA Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, which will make cam­paign­ing rather dif­fi­cult and uncomfortable.

This is part of what I imag­ine deterred him from run­ning last time around.

It also does­n’t help Reichert’s chances that he is opposed to repro­duc­tive rights. That stance is not a prob­lem as far as Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­cans are con­cerned, but most Wash­ing­to­ni­ans sup­port abor­tion care and Reichert’s posi­tion will be an anvil around his cam­paign, espe­cial­ly giv­en the Dobbs decision.

Adjacent posts

  • Enjoyed what you just read? Make a donation

    Thank you for read­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s jour­nal of world, nation­al, and local politics.

    Found­ed in March of 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate has been help­ing peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond make sense of cur­rent events with rig­or­ous analy­sis and thought-pro­vok­ing com­men­tary for more than fif­teen years. The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is fund­ed by read­ers like you and trust­ed spon­sors. We don’t run ads or pub­lish con­tent in exchange for money.

    Help us keep The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate edi­to­ri­al­ly inde­pen­dent and freely avail­able to all by becom­ing a mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute today. Or make a dona­tion to sus­tain our essen­tial research and advo­ca­cy journalism.

    Your con­tri­bu­tion will allow us to con­tin­ue bring­ing you fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, live cov­er­age of events like Net­roots Nation or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, and reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films.

    Become an NPI mem­ber Make a one-time donation


  1. If you run for gov­er­nor I would like to vol­un­teer to help. We live in Chelan.

    # by Claudia Gahard :: June 28th, 2023 at 7:02 AM
  2. Doing the math…if all 3 Repub­li­cans run…no one will get to the gen­er­al… tact­ful­ly… how do we (and when I say we… I mean the entire state of Repub­li­cans) get Bird and Gar­cia to back down?

    # by Dave Desmarais :: June 28th, 2023 at 4:45 PM
  3. I think Mr. Reichert has earned a retire­ment, he is from a bygone era and we need new

    # by Mike Barer :: July 1st, 2023 at 8:05 AM

2 Pings

  1. […] NPI report­ed on Reichert’s expect­ed entry into the race ear­li­er this week. […]

  2. […] Then Dave Reichert entered the picture. […]

  • NPI’s essential research and advocacy is sponsored by: