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.

Friday, July 7th, 2023

Raul Garcia exits gubernatorial race in favor of Dave Reichert, will run for U.S. Senate

Yaki­ma physi­cian Raul Gar­cia today revealed he is end­ing his guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign in favor of fel­low Repub­li­can Dave Reichert and will be switch­ing to run for Unit­ed States Sen­ate against Maria Cantwell instead.

”I think it would be fis­cal­ly irre­spon­si­ble… for all my donors and for all of Dave’s donors for that mat­ter to get in a 12-round heavy­weight dog fight with him… when we share so many ideals and so many val­ues of the same,” Gar­cia said in remarks broad­cast by KING5, which was invit­ed to observe the film­ing of an endorse­ment video in which Gar­cia urges sup­port for Reichert.

Last month, NPI’s research showed that Gar­cia was the ear­ly Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner. He gar­nered 17% in response to a ques­tion about vot­ers’ pref­er­ences for gov­er­nor, sec­ond to Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, who led the field with 25%. Anoth­er Repub­li­can, Semi Bird, got 10% in the survey.

Then Dave Reichert entered the pic­ture.

Reciehrt, a for­mer con­gress­man, had con­sid­ered run­ning for gov­er­nor twice before, in 2016 and 2020, but decid­ed against it each time.

With Jay Inslee pass­ing the torch, Reichert con­clud­ed that it was now or nev­er, and he is now launch­ing his 2024 guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign. He filed the paper­work to run a week ago and is now doing media inter­views after keep­ing a low profile.

”Not often in life do you have the chance to do some­thing for the ben­e­fit of the whole,” Gar­cia said, reflect­ing on the moves he’s choos­ing to make. “And I look at the future and I think this deci­sion is for that ben­e­fit of the whole.”

It cer­tain­ly is a log­i­cal move that oth­er Repub­li­cans will applaud.

(Semi Bird, mean­while, has said he’ll stay in the guber­na­to­r­i­al race.)

The Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty has been with­out a chal­lenger to Maria Cantwell for a whole quar­ter of the cycle. By this point two years ago, they had recruit­ed Tiffany Smi­ley to run against Pat­ty Mur­ray and she had begun fundrais­ing in earnest. Gar­ci­a’s defer­ring to Reichert gives the par­ty two front run­ners it can ral­ly around for the two most impor­tant statewide offices.

With the WSRP hav­ing failed to recruit a chal­lenger to Cantwell before now, NPI has been test­ing for­mer Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler as a hypo­thet­i­cal oppo­nent, and twice found Cantwell with a robust lead.

Gar­cia will face steep odds against the four-term sen­a­tor, who has been very busy this Fourth of July recess. On Tues­day, Cantwell made an annu­al appear­ance at the Seat­tle Cen­ter’s nat­u­ral­iza­tion cer­e­mo­ny. On Wednes­day, she par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Wash­ing­ton State Space Sum­mit that her office orga­nized. Yes­ter­day, she was in Kit­sap Coun­ty with Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Pete Buttigieg on an infra­struc­ture invest­ments tour stop. And today, she and Gov­er­nor Inslee are meet­ing with inci­dent com­mand lead­ers of the Tun­nel 5 wild­fire in the Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge.

Sen­a­tor Cantwell’s pre­vi­ous Repub­li­can gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nents for U.S. Sen­ate were for­mer KIRO TV anchor and ex-state par­ty chair Susan Hutchi­son (2018), Michael Baum­gart­ner, a for­mer state sen­a­tor who is now Spokane Coun­ty Trea­sur­er (2012), insur­ance indus­try exec­u­tive Mike McGav­ick (2006), and, of course, her pre­de­ces­sor Slade Gor­ton (2000). Cantwell’s only close race was that ini­tial run against Gor­ton, in which she pre­vailed by less than 3,000 votes.

Since then, she has had no prob­lem dis­patch­ing Repub­li­can oppo­nents, who have failed to make the case that they would offer bet­ter rep­re­sen­ta­tion than Cantwell.

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One Ping

  1. […] 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% […]

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