Delegates cheer at 2024 Washington State Republican Convention
Most delegates at the Washington State Republican Party Convention rose and cheered as Semi Bird took the stage. Bird was later endorsed for governor. (Jerry Cornfield/Washington State Standard, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

Yes­ter­day, the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty wrapped up its 2024 con­ven­tion in Spokane. While it’s been wide­ly report­ed that Semi Bird received the par­ty’s endorse­ment for gov­er­nor, the full list of the par­ty’s endorse­ments for statewide office has­n’t been as wide­ly dis­sem­i­nat­ed. Here’s a run­down of who the del­e­gates endorsed and the posi­tions that they are run­ning for, accord­ing to par­ty chair Jim Walsh.

Governor

For gov­er­nor, the par­ty endorsed insur­gent Semi Bird, who is far behind fron­trun­ner Dave Reichert accord­ing to NPI’s pub­lic opin­ion research. Bird received 72% support.

My analy­sis of this endorse­ment vote is avail­able here.

United States Senate

For Sen­ate, the par­ty endorsed Raul Gar­cia, who ran for gov­er­nor for a few weeks before drop­ping out in favor of Reichert.

Gar­cia switched to run­ning for Sen­ate a few days lat­er and seems to have been accept­ed by the par­ty’s ultra MAGA base despite hav­ing the back­ing of the Main­stream Repub­li­cans of Wash­ing­ton State. Gar­cia received 73% support.

Gar­cia is like­ly to be Sen­a­tor Cantwell’s gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent. Our research sug­gests that he isn’t putting Wash­ing­ton into play for Repub­li­cans — Cantwell is lead­ing him by six­teen points. His fundrais­ing has also been mediocre. 

Secretary of State

For Sec­re­tary of State, the par­ty endorsed Dale Whitak­er, pass­ing on Bob Hag­glu­nd and State Sen­a­tor Phil For­tu­na­to. Whitak­er received 64% support. 

All three Repub­li­cans are chal­leng­ing incum­bent Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs. Hobbs is the first Demo­c­rat to serve as Sec­re­tary of State in over a century. 

Hag­glu­nd is one of the Repub­li­cans who split the Repub­li­can vote for this office in 2022, lead­ing to Repub­li­cans being locked out of hav­ing a name on the gen­er­al elec­tion ballot. 

Attorney General

For Attor­ney Gen­er­al, the par­ty endorsed Pete Ser­ra­no, who has no Repub­li­can rival for the posi­tion. Ser­ra­no had a plu­ral­i­ty lead in our Feb­ru­ary statewide research poll, since Democ­rats have two strong can­di­dates for the posi­tion who many Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers haven’t yet decid­ed between: Man­ka Dhin­gra (a North­west Pro­gres­sive Foun­da­tion board­mem­ber) and Nick Brown. Ser­ra­no effec­tive­ly received 100% of the vote.

Commissioner of Public Lands

For Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands, the par­ty endorsed Sue Kuehl Ped­er­sen, who was Hilary Franz’s unsuc­cess­ful chal­lenger in 2020. 

Kuehl Ped­er­sen is now mak­ing anoth­er bid for the office, but she has strong com­pe­ti­tion this go-round in Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, the for­mer Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al District. 

Her­rera Beut­ler has led in our polling, but is dis­liked by par­ty diehards because she coura­geous­ly vot­ed to impeach Don­ald Trump in 2021 after the Jan­u­ary 6th insurrection. 

Kuehl Ped­er­sen received 86% support.

Democ­rats have three active can­di­dates for this posi­tion: King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Dave Upthe­grove, State Sen­a­tor Kevin Van De Wege, and DNR trib­al liai­son Patrick DePoe. Incum­bent Franz is run­ning for Con­gress in the 6th Con­gres­sion­al District. 

Auditor

For Audi­tor, the par­ty endorsed Matt Hawkins, who is run­ning against Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent Pat McCarthy, a for­mer Pierce Coun­ty Executive. 

Hawkins received almost 99% support. 

Hawkins has not yet filed paper­work with the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion for his can­di­da­cy. He’ll need to rem­e­dy that quick­ly or he could soon be in vio­la­tion of Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws. 

Superintendent of Public Instruction

For OSPI (a non­par­ti­san race), the par­ty endorsed David Olson, who is one of the many chal­lengers that have filed against incum­bent Chris Reyk­dal. Reyk­dal was first elect­ed to the post in 2016. He was reelect­ed in 2020, defeat­ing Maia Espinoza, and is now seek­ing a third term. Olson received 57% support. 

Walsh referred to this race as hav­ing “a crowd­ed field” because Repub­li­cans Chad Magen­danz and Brad Klip­pert are also vying to chal­lenge Reyk­dal. Both are for­mer mem­bers of the Wash­ing­ton State House of Representatives. 

No endorsement for three of the nine executive offices

Although it is Wal­sh’s aspi­ra­tion to field a com­plete tick­et in this high-stakes pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year, the par­ty did not make endorse­ments for the fol­low­ing statewide offices because he has­n’t yet recruit­ed a candidate:

  • Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor (Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent Den­ny Heck is seek­ing reelection)
  • Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er (Open seat: Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er is run­ning; Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent Mike Krei­dler is retiring)
  • Trea­sur­er (Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent Mike Pel­lic­ciot­ti is seek­ing reelection)

Democ­rats cur­rent­ly hold all nine posi­tions in the state’s exec­u­tive depart­ment as well as both U.S. Sen­ate seats. If Democ­rats run the table, which they well might, then this will be the first pres­i­den­tial cycle in eons that yields a shutout in statewide races. 

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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