Mark Mullet
Washington State Senator and gubernatorial hopeful Mark Mullet (Campaign photo)

For sev­er­al weeks now, it’s been rumored that State Sen­a­tor Mark Mul­let, the dean of East King Coun­ty’s del­e­ga­tion to the state’s upper cham­ber, was think­ing about run­ning for gov­er­nor in 2024 in the wake of Jay Inslee’s retire­ment announce­ment. Today, Mul­let made it offi­cial, con­firm­ing his inten­tions and unveil­ing a cam­paign web­site, ini­tial slate of endorse­ments, and priorities.

“There is no can­di­date for gov­er­nor at this point focused on the biggest chal­lenges fac­ing our state includ­ing afford­able hous­ing, reduc­ing home­less­ness, cre­at­ing jobs and mak­ing neigh­bor­hoods safe,” Mul­let said in a statement.

(It’s worth not­ing that Mul­let’s rivals, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son and Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz, did cite those same issues as con­cerns that they’d be focused on when they announced their cam­paigns last month.)

“Too many fam­i­lies can’t afford, even on good salaries, the ris­ing cost of liv­ing,” Mul­let con­tin­ued. “Too many fam­i­lies are wor­ried about the direc­tion of pub­lic safe­ty in our state, which is why we need dif­fer­ent lead­er­ship in Olympia.”

Mul­let’s Pri­or­i­ties page con­tains the fol­low­ing headings:

  • Make more afford­able hous­ing a reality
  • Invest in skills train­ing and manufacturing
  • Pri­or­i­tize safe streets and neighborhoods
  • Sup­port Wash­ing­ton farmers
  • We can’t tax our way out of every problem
  • A green econ­o­my is a strong economy

“As a proud Demo­c­rat, Mark will put the needs of the peo­ple at the fore­front, lead­ing Wash­ing­ton State towards a bet­ter future,” the page says.

But curi­ous­ly, the word “edu­ca­tion” does­n’t appear any­where on it.

Nor does the word “schools.” Not even in passing.

What an omis­sion! The Con­sti­tu­tion declares in Arti­cle IX that it is the state’s para­mount duty to amply pro­vide for the edu­ca­tion of all youth resid­ing with­in Wash­ing­ton’s bor­ders, and it is the gov­er­nor’s duty to pro­pose and sign into law bud­gets that meet this con­sti­tu­tion­al requirement.

Large majori­ties of vot­ers sur­veyed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for NPI say that Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic schools are under­fund­ed and we need to raise rev­enue to ful­ly fund them. Majori­ties also agree that the fis­cal dif­fi­cul­ties school dis­tricts are fac­ing are the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the Leg­is­la­ture (and gov­er­nor, by exten­sion) to fix.

How’d our K‑12 schools get over­looked as a pri­or­i­ty giv­en that their well-being the state’s para­mount duty? There is sim­ply no men­tion of Mul­let’s views on pro­vid­ing for the future of high­er edu­ca­tion, child care, or ear­ly learn­ing either.

Here’s a screen­shot of the entire page so you can see for yourself:

The initial Priorities page on Mark Mullet's campaign website
The ini­tial Pri­or­i­ties page on Mark Mul­let’s cam­paign web­site (Click to enlarge)

Mul­let mem­o­rably vot­ed against levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy to fund our schools two years ago — a tax that is now bring­ing in cru­cial­ly need­ed rev­enue for our kids and our schools. (He was only one of three Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors to do so — the oth­ers were Kevin Van De Wege and Steve Hobbs.) But he can’t expect to avoid the top­ic dur­ing the course of the campaign.

Our sus­pi­cion is this page gets updat­ed to say some­thing about edu­ca­tion, pos­si­bly as soon as some­one from Mul­let’s cam­paign reads this post.

The home page does say this:

Mark knows our pub­lic school sys­tem cre­ates the best lad­der avail­able to help raise peo­ple out of pover­ty – which is why expand­ing preschool access is a top pri­or­i­ty for him.

Mark has advo­cat­ed for the invest­ment of tens of bil­lions of addi­tion­al dol­lars in our pub­lic school sys­tem dur­ing his time in the Sen­ate. With edu­ca­tor reten­tion still a major chal­lenge, Mark will work towards solu­tions that involve new ideas that aren’t just about more dollars.

Of course, as men­tioned, the state’s cur­rent strat­e­gy for expand­ing preschool access is reliant on that cap­i­tal gains rev­enue that Mul­let vot­ed against levying.

Mul­let’s ini­tial endorse­ments are as follows:

  • Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs
  • Yaki­ma May­or Jan­ice Deccio
  • State Sen­a­tor Annette Cleveland
  • State Sen­a­tor John Lovick
  • State Sen­a­tor Kevin Van De Wege
  • For­mer Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Sharon K. Nelson
  • For­mer State Sen­a­tor Bri­an Hatfield
  • State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Amy Walen
  • State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mia Gregerson
  • Tuk­wila May­or Allan Ekberg
  • Yarrow Point May­or Katy Harris
  • Kent May­or Dana Ralph
  • Wood­inville May­or Mike Millman
  • Sno­qualmie May­or Kather­ine Ross
  • Seat­ac May­or Jake Simpson
  • Ren­ton May­or Armon­do Pavone
  • Maple Val­ley May­or Sean Kelly
  • Issaquah May­or Mary Lou Pauly
  • Car­na­tion City Coun­cil Mem­ber and Serv­ing May­or Jim Ribail
  • Cov­ing­ton May­or Jeff Wagner
  • Black Dia­mond May­or Car­ol Benson
  • Everett May­or Cassie Franklin
  • North Bend May­or Rob McFarland
  • Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Sara Nelson
  • Sno­homish Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Jared Mead
  • Sno­qualmie Val­ley School Board Direc­tor Car­olyn Simpson
  • Steve Hoop­er, Seat­tle Restau­rant Alliance
  • Ker­ri Lon­er­gan-Dreke, Lom­bardi’s Restau­rant Group
  • NW Chap­ter of the Nation­al Con­struc­tion Alliance
  • Inter­na­tion­al Union of Oper­at­ing Engi­neers Local 302
  • Tiffany Tuner, own­er of Adrift Hospitality

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, wide­ly con­sid­ered the fron­trun­ner in the con­test, “wel­comed” Mul­let to the race by releas­ing a video crit­i­ciz­ing his record as a state sen­a­tor. The video, titled, “Three Rea­sons,” can be seen below:


Three rea­sons why Mark Mul­let is the wrong choice for governor.

  • One — Mul­let was the only Demo­c­rat to vote against pro­tect­ing our repro­duc­tive health data. Pro-choice Wash­ing­ton strong­ly opposed his vote.
  • Two — Mul­let opposed the $15 min­i­mum wage for Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, includ­ing his own workers.
  • Three — Mullet’s bankrolled by big cor­po­ra­tions. Big Oil, Big Phar­ma, and Big Insurance.

Three rea­sons why Mark Mul­let is com­plete­ly out of touch, and the wrong choice for us.

Com­ment­ing on the video, The Stranger’s Rich Smith observed:

The video fails to men­tion his efforts to open up mul­ti-mil­lion-dol­lar tax loop­holes for big busi­ness­es, keep the state’s ban on affir­ma­tive action, gut a bill that end­ed the racist prac­tice of using cred­it scores to deter­mine car insur­ance amounts, lim­it col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing for teach­ers, block attempts to pass pro­gres­sive rev­enue, block mod­er­ate pro­pos­als to fight cli­mate change, and advo­cate for loos­en­ing indoor din­ing ahead of a major COVID spike in 2020. The video also did­n’t men­tion the $80,000 pool that he had installed in the back­yard of his McMan­sion dur­ing the pan­dem­ic (which, to be fair, seemed like a bad tim­ing thing), but there’s only so much you can shove in a 30-sec­ond spot, I guess.

Also not men­tioned in that video are Sen­a­tor Mul­let’s com­ments about Pres­i­dent Joe Biden from last year. Appear­ing on the late Dori Mon­son’s right wing talk radio show in April of 2022, Mul­let told Bran­di Kruse he was­n’t yet on board with Biden-Har­ris 2024 and was­n’t going to “make any promis­es now because I just want to see what the play­ing field looks like in two years.”

Hilary Franz’s cam­paign has not yet com­ment­ed on Mul­let’s entry into the race.

Mul­let is expect­ed to have the back­ing of pow­er­ful busi­ness inter­ests for his cam­paign, whether direct­ly or indi­rect­ly through inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures. The Real­tors, Build­ing Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton, and the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness are exam­ples of enti­ties that may be play­ers in sup­port of Mul­let’s 2024 cam­paign. Giv­en Repub­li­cans’ lack of com­pet­i­tive­ness in Wash­ing­ton, the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty has no incen­tive to invest in a Republican.

Mul­let, in their eyes, would be the next best choice.

For­mer Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Chris Vance, who left the Repub­li­can Par­ty after it began to wor­ship Don­ald Trump, has blunt­ly declared on many occa­sions — and as recent­ly as this week — that Repub­li­cans have no chance of win­ning the gov­er­nor­ship in Wash­ing­ton. And we agree with his assessment.

Repub­li­cans just aren’t com­pet­i­tive at the statewide lev­el here any­more. They hold no statewide offices and their bench is incred­i­bly thin. Repub­li­cans last won a guber­na­to­r­i­al race in Wash­ing­ton in 1980. Yes, 1980. It’s been that long!

Mul­let’s Sen­ate seat comes up in pres­i­den­tial years, so he has to give it up in order to run for gov­er­nor. State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bill Ramos declared this morn­ing that he is run­ning for that Sen­ate seat, which will open up his state House seat.

“I’m excit­ed for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to build on my record and bring my exper­tise to the State Sen­ate,” said Ramos.

“The 2024 elec­tions are going to be crit­i­cal for the future of our state and nation, and I’m eager to con­tin­ue work­ing for good jobs and infra­struc­ture invest­ments, safe­guard­ing health care rights, and mak­ing sure kids get the future they deserve– with good schools, safe com­mu­ni­ties, and action on cli­mate change.”

Ramos has the back­ing of his seat­mate, Lisa Callan, the 5th Dis­tric­t’s oth­er State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, a for­mer Issaquah school board member.

“Bill and I have a strong part­ner­ship in the House, which will con­tin­ue when he is in the Sen­ate,” said Callan. “Togeth­er we’ve deliv­ered for the com­mu­ni­ties we serve, and we can do even more in the com­ing years.”

“I’m hap­py to endorse his cam­paign for Sen­ate, and appre­ci­ate his sup­port for the lead­er­ship I’ll con­tin­ue show­ing in the State House.”

With Mul­let now a declared can­di­date, the field of cred­i­ble con­tenders on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side stands at three. King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine has decid­ed against run­ning in 2024 and won’t be a can­di­date, while Franz and Fer­gu­son have launched their cam­paigns and are busy fundrais­ing. On the Repub­li­can side, there’s Raul Gar­cia and Semi Bird. Gar­cia ran in 2020 and is try­ing again; Bird is an ultra MAGA can­di­date court­ing the par­ty’s extrem­ist base.

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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2 replies on “Washington State Senator Mark Mullet launches 2024 gubernatorial campaign”

  1. Mark Mul­let has cast every vote he could to enable and pro­mote char­ter schools and to con­tin­ue the drain of our tax dol­lars from pub­lic edu­ca­tion that goes to sup­port and main­tain them.

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