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, November 10th, 2023

Hilary Franz exits gubernatorial contest to run for Congress in WA-06, with Kilmer’s support

Hilary Franz con­firmed today that she’s pulling the plug on her six-month old guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign in favor of launch­ing a bid for Con­gress. The two-term Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands is now run­ning to suc­ceed out­go­ing Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Derek Kilmer in the 6th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict with his sup­port and that of a num­ber of oth­er local lead­ers in Pierce and Kit­sap counties.

“I’ve talked to vot­ers in every cor­ner of Wash­ing­ton and heard the same con­cerns – ris­ing prices for neces­si­ties like hous­ing push­ing fam­i­lies out of the mid­dle class, pro­tect­ing repro­duc­tive free­dom and women’s rights, safe­guard­ing our democ­ra­cy, sup­port­ing our vet­er­ans and mil­i­tary fam­i­lies, and the cli­mate cri­sis bear­ing down on us,” Franz said in a pre­pared state­ment. “The chal­lenges we face extend beyond the bor­ders of Wash­ing­ton, and so must our solutions.”

“I am run­ning for Con­gress to bring my vision for bold, trans­for­ma­tive action to our nation’s cap­i­tal and keep fight­ing for fam­i­lies across our region.”

Franz’s updat­ed web­site,, has the same hero image of Franz and near­ly the same cam­paign logo as before, but it now reads “Hilary Franz for Con­gress” instead of “Hilary Franz for Governor.”

Hilary Franz for Congress

Hilary Franz’s new cam­paign logo

Franz’s endorse­ments at launch include:

  • U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Derek Kilmer, WA-06
  • May­or of Taco­ma Vic­to­ria Woodards
  • Kit­sap Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Chris­tine Rolfes
  • Taco­ma Port Com­mis­sion­er Kristin Ang
  • Taco­ma City Coun­cilmem­ber Olgy Diaz
  • Pouls­bo May­or Becky Erickson
  • Aberdeen May­or Pete Schave
  • Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Chap­man, 24th Leg­isla­tive District
  • Pierce Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Ryan Mello
  • Pouls­bo City Coun­cilmem­ber Ed Stern

As of press time, Franz’s cam­paign paper­work had not yet land­ed at the Fed­er­al Elec­tions Com­mis­sion (NPI staff searched the to check). It assured­ly will soon. Franz is already accept­ing dona­tions for her con­gres­sion­al bid with ActBlue.

Franz began her pub­lic ser­vice on the Bain­bridge Island City Coun­cil many years ago and has roots in the dis­trict. (Bain­bridge, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s beloved home, was once part of Wash­ing­ton’s 1st, but nowa­days it’s in the 6th.)

Franz has a home in Mag­no­lia, a neigh­bor­hood in Seat­tle, and had been reg­is­tered to vote there, but says she now resides in Grays Har­bor County.

That’s one of the rur­al coastal coun­ties that has his­tor­i­cal­ly backed Democ­rats, but has begun vot­ing for Repub­li­cans in recent years. It includes com­mu­ni­ties like Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Cos­mopo­lis, Ocean Shores, and Westport.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Wash­ing­ton State Sen­a­tor Emi­ly Ran­dall is also con­tem­plat­ing a run. Ran­dall just got reelect­ed to a four year term last year and could cam­paign for the U.S. House with­out giv­ing up her seat in the state Senate.

On the Repub­li­can side, State Sen­a­tor Drew MacEwen is inter­est­ed. He’s in the same boat as Ran­dall, hav­ing just been elect­ed to a four-year term, and can run for the House with­out jeop­ar­diz­ing his seat in the Legislature.

Franz’s deci­sion to get out of the guber­na­to­r­i­al race and run for Con­gress win­nows the Demo­c­ra­t­ic field down to two can­di­dates: Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son (the fron­trun­ner) and State Sen­a­tor Mark Mul­let. Mul­let is giv­ing up his Sen­ate seat to run because it comes up in pres­i­den­tial years.

It remains to be seen where Franz’s guber­na­to­r­i­al endorsers will land. It’s not incon­ceiv­able that Fer­gu­son and Mul­let will split them. But a lot of key names have already lined up behind Fer­gu­son, pass­ing over Mul­let. Even before this week’s devel­op­ments, Fer­gu­son had received the sup­port of Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine, and U.S. Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell.

Franz now has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pur­sue Fer­gu­son endorsers for her con­gres­sion­al cam­paign, adding to the sup­port she’s already announced, which notably includes Kilmer. If she and Fer­gu­son are suc­cess­ful in the Top Two, they will be on the 2024 tick­et togeth­er, just as they were in 2020 and 2016 when they ran for down­bal­lot posi­tions in Wash­ing­ton’s exec­u­tive department.

Repub­li­cans have their own set of rival guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­dates who are rais­ing seri­ous mon­ey and col­lect­ing endorse­ments: Semi Bird and Dave Reichert.

Bird, an unapolo­getic ultra MAGA can­di­date, was recent­ly recalled from his perch on the Rich­land School Board. Reichert is a for­mer con­gress­man who con­sid­ered run­ning for gov­er­nor against Jay Inslee in 2016 and 2020, but passed both times.

If Franz (or Ran­dall) win and no oth­er incum­bent mem­bers of Con­gress lose in 2024, Wash­ing­ton’s con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion would become three-fourths female as of the begin­ning of the next Con­gress. Take a look (exist­ing mem­bers of Con­gress who iden­ti­fy as female are list­ed in bold­face along with Franz/Randall):

  1. Suzan Del­Bene
  2. Rick Larsen
  3. Marie Glue­senkamp Perez
  4. Dan New­house
  5. Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers
  6. Derek Kilmer > Hilary Franz or Emi­ly Randall
  7. Prami­la Jayapal
  8. Kim Schri­er
  9. Adam Smith
  10. Mar­i­lyn Strickland
  11. Maria Cantwell
  12. Pat­ty Murray

The 6th had a Cook Par­ti­san Vot­ing Index of D+6, mean­ing the dis­trict recent­ly per­formed an aver­age of six points more Demo­c­ra­t­ic than the nation as a whole.

The 6th was for many years rep­re­sent­ed by the leg­endary Norm Dicks before he retired. Repub­li­cans notably failed to pick it up in the “Repub­li­can Rev­o­lu­tion” of 1994 or in 2010, and it isn’t a dis­trict that we think will be a good pick­up oppor­tu­ni­ty for them. It includes many places that reli­ably vote for Democ­rats in top of the tick­et races, includ­ing Kit­sap Coun­ty and por­tions of Pierce County.

While State Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Jim Walsh might see an oppor­tu­ni­ty in Kilmer’s retire­ment to tar­get the dis­trict, nation­al Repub­li­cans are like­ly to remain more inter­est­ed in WA-03, which is now rep­re­sent­ed by Marie Glue­senkamp Perez.

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One Ping

  1. […] Mul­let has shed two per­cent­age points since our last sur­vey in June, and that is despite Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz’s recent depar­ture from the guber­na­to­r­…, which some observers spec­u­lat­ed might ben­e­fit Mul­let by leav­ing him as […]

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