Gubernatorial candidate Dave Reichert
Gubernatorial candidate Dave Reichert (Campaign photo)

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.

NPI report­ed on Reichert’s expect­ed entry into the race ear­li­er this week.

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.

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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