Washington State's Capitol Campus in Olympia, from the air
An aerial view of Washington State's Capitol Campus in Olympia, with the distinctive Legislative Building in the center (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

It might be hard to believe, but 2023 is already half over. With 2024 fast approach­ing, In Wash­ing­ton State, next year will be much more than a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year. In addi­tion to con­gres­sion­al and state leg­isla­tive offices, many of which are con­test­ed every two years, Ever­green State vot­ers will have the respon­si­bil­i­ty of decid­ing who sits in the state’s nine-mem­ber exec­u­tive depart­ment, which con­sists of the fol­low­ing posi­tions, all elect­ed statewide for four-year terms:

  1. Gov­er­nor
  2. Lieu­tenant Governor
  3. Sec­re­tary of State
  4. Attor­ney General
  5. Trea­sur­er
  6. Audi­tor
  7. Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands
  8. Insur­ance Commissioner
  9. Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruction

Let’s take a look at who’s cur­rent­ly run­ning for each of these positions.


Twen­ty-two peo­ple have filed paper­work to run for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State in 2024. Incum­bent Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee is one of them, but he’s not actu­al­ly run­ning; he announced in May that he was ready to pass the torch to a suc­ces­sor when his cur­rent term ends in Jan­u­ary 2025. Of the con­tenders for the seat Inslee is vacat­ing, there are five can­di­dates who have raised seri­ous mon­ey or have pre­vi­ous­ly raised seri­ous mon­ey in a state or fed­er­al lev­el campaign:

  • Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son (D)
  • For­mer Con­gress­man Dave Reichert (R)
  • Rich­land school board mem­ber Semi Bird (R)
  • Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz (D)
  • State Sen­a­tor Mark Mul­let (D)

NPI asked like­ly vot­ers about this field of guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­dates last month, minus Reichert and with physi­cian Raul Gar­cia in the mix (Gar­cia is now run­ning against Maria Cantwell). We found that 25% pre­ferred Fer­gu­son, 17% pre­ferred Gar­cia, 10% pre­ferred Bird, 9% pre­ferred Franz, and 7% pre­ferred Mullet.

Read our poll find­ing here. At this point, the field looks pret­ty well formed, and it seems unlike­ly we’ll see oth­er cred­i­ble can­di­dates get in.

More on the candidates:

Lieutenant Governor

The role: The Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor serves as the Pres­i­dent of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, fills in for the Gov­er­nor when they are away, and serves as a vital link between state gov­ern­ment and the for­eign min­istries of oth­er coun­tries, many of which have con­sulates in Wash­ing­ton State or on the West Coast.

Incum­bent Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Den­ny Heck, who pre­vailed over fel­low Demo­c­rat Marko Liias in 2020, recent­ly announced that he has decid­ed to seek a new term.

“As much time as I have spent in the pri­vate sec­tor, pub­lic ser­vice is just in my blood. I love the oppor­tu­ni­ty to serve my state and to make a dif­fer­ence. It is a real priv­i­lege,” said Heck in a state­ment announc­ing his can­di­da­cy on May 24th.

Espe­cial­ly giv­en the oth­er open­ings in the exec­u­tive depart­ment, Heck will prob­a­bly not face much com­pe­ti­tion in his bid for a sec­ond term.

Inde­pen­dent Fredrick E Pow­ell has also filed for the posi­tion and has yet to report rais­ing any mon­ey or mak­ing any expenditures.

Attorney General

The role: The Attor­ney Gen­er­al is the state’s chief legal offi­cer and heads up what has been called “the largest law firm in the state.” The office has a long list of respon­si­bil­i­ties; they include bring­ing actions in the name of the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton and defend­ing the state when it is sued.

Incum­bent Bob Fer­gu­son is run­ning for gov­er­nor, so the con­test for AG in 2024 is wide open. Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhin­gra, a North­west Pro­gres­sive Foun­da­tion board­mem­ber, has declared her can­di­da­cy. The for­mer U.S. Attor­ney for West­ern Wash­ing­ton, Nick Brown, is said to be think­ing about jump­ing into the race as a Demo­c­rat, but has­n’t com­ment­ed on his plans pub­licly. Brown rejoined Paci­fi­ca Law Group last month after leav­ing the Depart­ment of Justice.

No can­di­dates have emerged yet on the Repub­li­can side.

“Wash­ing­ton has nev­er had an Attor­ney Gen­er­al of Wash­ing­ton with deep expe­ri­ence in crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion,” said Dhin­gra in a statement.

“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 brought this expe­ri­ence to the State Sen­ate to find bipar­ti­san com­mon ground to improve behav­ioral health inter­ven­tions, pro­tect seniors and kids from online preda­tors, and pro­tect sur­vivors of gen­der based violence.”

Secretary of State

The role: The Sec­re­tary of State is the cus­to­di­an of the state’s records and chief elec­tions offi­cer. In addi­tion to elec­tions, the office’s port­fo­lio of respon­si­bil­i­ties includes the state library, archives, apos­tilles pro­gram, and over­sight of cor­po­ra­tions and char­i­ties based with­in Wash­ing­ton State. 

Incum­bent Steve Hobbs was retained by the vot­ers in a spe­cial elec­tion last year after being appoint­ed to fill the vacan­cy left by Kim Wyman when she resigned to join the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. Hobbs defeat­ed Pierce Coun­ty Audi­tor Julie Ander­son to keep the job. He’s run­ning again in 2024 for a full term.

Hobbs does not yet have any opponents.

“We ran a cam­paign that focused on pri­or­i­ties rel­e­vant to all Wash­ing­to­ni­ans: enhanc­ing our cyber­se­cu­ri­ty, fight­ing dan­ger­ous elec­tion mis­in­for­ma­tion, and enfran­chis­ing under­served eli­gi­ble vot­ers. I’m proud of our issues-focused and pos­i­tive cam­paign,” Hobbs said after last year’s vic­to­ry.

“Thanks to your sup­port, I’ll remain hard at work keep­ing our elec­tions secure and acces­si­ble, pre­serv­ing our state’s rich her­itage, fos­ter­ing civic engage­ment, pre­serv­ing and shar­ing Washington’s sto­ries, and pro­vid­ing essen­tial busi­ness and char­i­ta­ble infor­ma­tion to the public.”


The role: The Trea­sur­er man­ages the state’s mon­ey. This includes the state’s cash flow — which the office says was more than $350 bil­lion in Fis­cal Year 2021 — and the state’s debt, which it also issues. The Trea­sur­er addi­tion­al­ly chairs the State Finance Com­mit­tee and the Pub­lic Deposit Pro­tec­tion Commission. 

Incum­bent Mike Pel­lic­ciot­ti was the only Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger to defeat a statewide Repub­li­can office­hold­er in 2020. Since oust­ing Duane David­son, Pel­lic­ciot­ti has active­ly worked with leg­is­la­tors on inno­v­a­tive ways to improve Wash­ing­ton’s finan­cial posi­tion and help the state’s res­i­dents invest in the future. He’s run­ning for anoth­er term and is unlike­ly to face much opposition.

Pel­lic­ciot­ti is also unop­posed at this juncture.

“We are doing big things in the office,” Pel­lic­ciot­ti said in an April 29th email update. That mes­sage not­ed he is cur­rent­ly work­ing on agency request leg­is­la­tion to cre­ate “baby bonds,” also known as the Wash­ing­ton Future Fund.

“This year it is becom­ing the nation­al mod­el to ensure that all chil­dren being born today have the cap­i­tal need­ed to achieve their dreams,” he said.

“With your sup­port, we are show­ing how we can take on the big issues fac­ing our state today. We’re just get­ting started!”


The role: The Audi­tor is the watch­dog of Wash­ing­ton State gov­ern­ment. The agency works to ensure the peo­ple’s mon­ey is being effec­tive­ly invest­ed in the essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices that keep Wash­ing­ton’s com­mu­ni­ties and busi­ness­es strong, con­duct­ing both fis­cal audits and per­for­mance audits. 

Incum­bent Pat McCarthy has filed for reelec­tion, but has not raised much mon­ey, which will undoubt­ed­ly fuel spec­u­la­tion that she plans to retire.

McCarthy, a Demo­c­rat, was elect­ed in 2016 and suc­ceed­ed the scan­dal-plagued Troy Kel­ley, who was con­vict­ed short­ly after leav­ing office of mul­ti­ple counts of pos­ses­sion of stolen prop­er­ty, mak­ing false dec­la­ra­tions in a court pro­ceed­ing, and tax fraud. Kel­ley served a one year prison sen­tence begin­ning in late 2021.

For­tu­nate­ly for Wash­ing­ton, McCarthy’s tenure has been rel­a­tive­ly smooth, with­out the neg­a­tive pub­lic­i­ty the office had to endure dur­ing the Kel­ley years. McCarthy was for­mer­ly the exec­u­tive of Pierce Coun­ty and its audi­tor before that.

McCarthy does not yet have any opponents.

Commissioner of Public Lands

The role: The Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands is respon­si­ble for the stew­ard­ship of the forests, aquat­ic lands, and oth­er nat­ur­al resources owned by the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton. The Com­mis­sion­er heads the Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources, which man­ages parks and tim­ber har­vests, fights wild­fires, and con­ducts geo­log­ic haz­ards research, to name a few of its key functions. 

Incum­bent Com­mis­sion­er Hilary Franz has decid­ed to run for gov­er­nor in 2024, leav­ing an open seat. A large num­ber of can­di­dates have stepped for­ward to run or are explor­ing the idea, includ­ing five Democ­rats and one Repub­li­can. They are:

  • King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Kei­th Scully
  • State Sen­a­tor Kevin Van De Wege of the 24th Leg­isla­tive District
  • For­mer State Sen­a­tor Mona Das of the 47th Leg­isla­tive District
  • Shore­line City Coun­cilmem­ber Kei­th Scully
  • Repub­li­can activist Sue Kuehl Ped­er­sen, Franz’s 2016 opponent

None of them have yet report­ed rais­ing any sig­nif­i­cant amounts of money.

Scul­ly has yet to file a C1. The oth­ers have, but not all have pub­lished announce­ments say­ing they’re run­ning for the office.

Van De Wege and Das have put up websites.

Insurance Commissioner

The role: The Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er enforces state reg­u­la­tions on the insur­ance indus­try and sets rules to gov­ern their busi­ness prac­tices. They’re the indus­try ref­er­ee. “We make sure insur­ance com­pa­nies fol­low the rules and peo­ple get the cov­er­age they’ve paid for,” the office says. As part of this work, they inves­ti­gate thou­sands of com­plaints lodged against insur­ance com­pa­nies every year. This is the only statewide office that is not pro­vid­ed for in the Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion; it was cre­at­ed by statute first enact­ed in 1947

Incum­bent Mike Krei­dler is retir­ing after more than two decades in the job. His last few years have been rocky, with alle­ga­tions of improp­er behav­ior lev­eled against him. Leg­isla­tive lead­ers and oth­er mem­bers of the exec­u­tive depart­ment called on him to resign, but he refused. How­ev­er, he’s not run­ning again, so the office is set to begin a new era under dif­fer­ent lead­er­ship in a year and a half.

Wash­ing­ton State Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er (D‑48th Dis­trict), who rep­re­sents NPI’s home­town of Red­mond along with fel­low statewide hope­ful Man­ka Dhin­gra, is present­ly the only declared can­di­date for the office. She already has lots of endorse­ments for her cam­paign and may not face much competition.

“The issue of insur­ance is deeply per­son­al for Pat­ty Kud­er­er,” her web­site explains. “When her daugh­ter was born and crit­i­cal­ly ill at 1lb 13 oz in the NICU, her insur­ance com­pa­ny tried to deny her daughter’s care by claim­ing the treat­ment her doc­tor was attempt­ing to imple­ment was experimental.”

“After rais­ing hell, the insur­ance com­pa­ny final­ly paid for the life sav­ing care. Then when her daugh­ter was five months old, the insur­ance com­pa­ny tried to say she had already reached her life­time cap. Pat­ty was thank­ful­ly able to advo­cate for her daughter’s care, but the expe­ri­ence left a last­ing impact on Patty’s life and has shaped much of the work she has done as a legislator.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction

The role: The Super­in­ten­dent is the admin­is­tra­tor of Wash­ing­ton’s K‑12 pub­lic school sys­tem. “Work­ing with the state’s 295 pub­lic school dis­tricts and 6 state-trib­al edu­ca­tion com­pact schools, OSPI allo­cates fund­ing and pro­vides tools, resources, and tech­ni­cal assis­tance so every stu­dent in Wash­ing­ton is pro­vid­ed a high-qual­i­ty pub­lic edu­ca­tion,” the agency says. The posi­tion is the only one with­in the exec­u­tive depart­ment that has a non­par­ti­san des­ig­na­tion, mean­ing vot­ers don’t see any par­ty labels next to the can­di­dates’ names on the ballot.

Incum­bent Chris Reyk­dal, first elect­ed in 2016, is run­ning for a third term.

“As I have reflect­ed on the last six years, I am struck by how much progress we have made, despite fac­ing a glob­al pan­dem­ic and a ridicu­lous cul­ture war tar­get­ing pub­lic edu­ca­tion,” Reyk­dal said in a June 12th announcement.

“Our enroll­ments are grow­ing, assess­ment scores are ris­ing, and our grad­u­a­tion rate remains near a record high. I put a very aggres­sive bud­get request in front of the Leg­is­la­ture this year, and they expand­ed sup­ports for stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties, free school meals for 90,000 addi­tion­al stu­dents, and $400 mil­lion more in direct stu­dent sup­ports and men­tal health over the next two years.”

“Unlike Flori­da, Texas, Okla­homa, and else­where, in Wash­ing­ton State, we pro­tect the civ­il rights of our stu­dents, we don’t ban books, and we don’t vil­i­fy teach­ers to ush­er in reli­gious pri­vate school vouch­ers,” Reyk­dal observed.

“In fact, we just secured $1.3 bil­lion in addi­tion­al fund­ing to ensure all of our edu­ca­tors retain com­pet­i­tive salaries and ben­e­fits. From class­rooms to play­grounds, from cafe­te­rias to school bus­es, every staff mem­ber plays a role in the health, safe­ty, and learn­ing of our stu­dents, and they deserve every ounce of respect that comes with com­pen­sa­tion dig­ni­ty. It might feel that the nation is com­ing apart, but in Wash­ing­ton State, we just stay focused on stu­dent success.”

Reyk­dal’s only declared oppo­nent so far, for­mer state Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Brad Klip­pert, is an ultra MAGA Repub­li­can who favors school pri­va­ti­za­tion and would bring DeSan­tis-style attacks on pub­lic schools to Wash­ing­ton if he were elected.

Klip­pert left the Leg­is­la­ture to chal­lenge Dan New­house for Con­gress last year, charg­ing he was insuf­fi­cient­ly loy­al to Don­ald Trump and the ultra MAGA agen­da. But he failed to get through the Top Two elec­tion. After that, he ran for Sec­re­tary of State as a write-in can­di­date. He did­n’t come close to win­ning, but he did play a piv­otal role in thwart­ing Julie Ander­son­’s hopes of unseat­ing Steve Hobbs.

And there you have it!

That’s who’s run­ning so far for statewide office in Wash­ing­ton in 2024.

We may repeat this fea­ture here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate on a sea­son­al basis since the fields of can­di­dates are bound to change.

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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