Yesterday afternoon, Dave Reichert confirmed rumors that he’s running for governor next year by filing a declaration of candidacy with the Public Disclosure Commission — known as a C1 form. Reichert’s personal website has yet to be updated to say he’s running for governor, but some sort of formal launch is clearly imminent, and will probably occur after the long Fourth of July weekend.
Reichert’s filing turned the heads of Seattle’s local news producers. Both KING5 and KIRO7 led off evening newscasts with news of Reichert’s filing, using archival B‑roll footage to reintroduce him to their audiences while they talked about his looming entry into the gubernatorial contest, which already includes more than a dozen candidates, including Democratic hopefuls Bob Ferguson, Hilary Franz, and Mark Mullet, along with Republicans Raul Garcia and Semi Bird.
Late Friday, Bob Ferguson’s campaign responded to Reichert’s C1 filing, warning that his candidacy is a threat to reproductive rights in Washington.
“Dave Reichert represents a profound threat to reproductive freedom,” Ferguson said in an emailed statement. “Reichert’s anti-choice record is deeply concerning in the face of attacks from anti-choice extremists seeking to eliminate access to abortion in every state, including Washington. Washingtonians need a governor that will fight for their freedom to choose.”
Ferguson’s statement then reproduced and linked to a Democratic Party press release from the 2010s outlining Reichert’s woeful record on reproductive rights.
NPI’s research last year found that a supermajority of likely Washington voters opposed the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. Even more said they supported a state constitutional amendment to protect reproductive rights. And a whopping 76% said earlier this year that they supported a reproductive data privacy bill — the My Health, My Data Act — to be enacted into law, which it was.
In 2006, the Seattle Times described Reichert as “walking a tightrope” on abortion care when he faced Democratic challenger Darcy Burner. Reichert has admitted he opposes abortion care in all but a few circumstances.
Even if he were to be elected, Reichert would not be able to unilaterally outlaw abortion care in Washington State — he’d need a Republican-controlled Legislature to have the opportunity to sign legislation rolling back reproductive rights.
However, he’d definitely have the opportunity to appoint right wing judges and maybe even state Supreme Court justices to fill any vacancies, and he could install people hostile to reproductive rights in key positions at state agencies like the Department of Health. Reichert would also be able to thwart the enactment of any new legislation protecting reproductive rights by a Democratic-controlled Legislature for at least four years (the length of a single gubernatorial term).
Washingtonians have not elected a Republican to be governor since John Spellman in 1980. At that time, the landmark Roe v. Wade decision was only seven years old. Evergreen State Republicans own the longest current gubernatorial losing streak in the country. It’s hard to see how they break it with Reichert. The party discovered last year with Tiffany Smiley that slick, nonstop television ads and an attempt to downplay Smiley’s opposition to reproductive rights did not move the needle with the statewide electorate.
Reichert will probably focus on crime and public safety in his forthcoming campaign. He may not want to talk about reproductive rights. But trying to dodge the issue isn’t going to work. Voters will want to hear what his position is.