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Phil Fortunato, guns, schools, teachers
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State Sen. Phil Fortunato weighs possible run for Washington governor

(AP)

Last Friday, rumors circulated around a Snohomish County Republican Lincoln Day dinner that Washington State Sen. Phil Fortunato was running for governor in 2020. Without an official announcement, press release, or Facebook post, though, it was clear that there were some conflicting reports.

KTTH’s Jason Rantz chatted with Sen. Fortunato on Monday, in hopes of getting to the bottom of this mystery.

To start, Fortunato confirmed right off the bat:

“I haven’t actually announced,” he said.

Even so, that doesn’t mean that a run for governor is completely out of the question for the Auburn lawmaker.

“We’re looking at it,” he clarified. “The mission now is to see if the grassroots are excited about this.”

Sen. Fortunato cited a need to figure out if there would be enough support for a possible run at the grassroots level of the Republican Party in Washington state.

More than that, he’s making an effort to test the waters at various state dinners, and find out once and for all if there’s enough momentum from the average voter to make a campaign possible.

That in turn leads to the obvious question of whether he’s actually going to run.

“I am definitely leaning in that direction,” he answered, hoping to gather enough facts and information to make a decision by September of this year.

Fortunato has frequently made headlines in Olympia. Back in January, he proposed a law that would require any legislator crafting a gun-related bill to go through mandatory firearm training. A month later, he called for arming teachers in Washington’s schools.

Most recently, he garnered attention for a letter he issued to current governor Jay Inslee, asking that Inslee reimburse taxpayers for security costs incurred by his 2020 presidential campaign.

Speaking to Rantz on Monday, he touted plans of his own on a variety of issues, from transportation to education.

“I’m the only one that actually has a plan to finance transportation without raising taxes,” he claimed.

For now, supporters have a website up backing a potential bid for governor from Fortunato, and identifying themselves as “a group of Washington residents that would like to see real change in Olympia.”

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