WA attorney general candidates clash in debate over job history, state’s future

Oct 1, 2020, 12:17 PM

Washington Attorney General candidates incumbent Bob Ferguson and challenger Matt Larkin met with The Columbian’s Editorial Board virtually last week.

How many days until Election Day? A guide to important election deadlines

Ferguson (D) has served as the state’s attorney general for eight years, after starting his legal career in Spokane serving as a law clerk for two federal judges and then as an attorney, according to his statement in the voters’ guide.

Larkin (R) writes that he is “not a career politician,” which he says allows him to “bring a fresh perspective” to the office. He is a veteran attorney licensed to practice law in Washington and Oregon.

“I’m running because, like a lot of people in this state, I’m frustrated,” Larkin said in the virtual debate. “I got into this race because I just feel like I don’t recognize this state anymore.”

Larkin says he has four young kids and wants them to grow up in a state that’s “heading in the right direction.”

He cites a concerning increase in crime statewide, adding that as attorney general, he would want to drive those numbers down and put an emphasis on criminal law.

“I want my kids to be as proud of this state as I am, because I am proud of this state,” he said.

While admitting that these are big challenges and there’s a lot of work to do, he thinks the attorney general’s office can refocus and work to make the state a better place.

Ferguson said he’s running for reelection with two key focuses:

“Number one, to continue to running an independent law firm on behalf of people in the state of Washington. And number two, to continue the focus I’ve brought to the office on the work we do directly on behalf of the people as the people’s law firm,” he said.

Ferugson says he set the tone on day one by keeping everyone in office after he took over from former attorney general Rob McKenna. The political party preferences of the staff, he says, did not concern him, and he knew they had a reputation for running an independent law firm, which is why he kept them on and many of them are still there.

“A key part of [the attorney general’s] job is defending and enforcing all Washington state laws whether you personally agree with those or not,” Ferguson said. “We’ve done that and done that well.”

Ferguson says before he was attorney general, the office did not do civil rights work on behalf of the people. He created a civil rights division that is now “the best in the country,” he said.

Watch the video of the full discussion between the two candidates above, or find it online here.

Election 2020

Ballot drop box King County, elections even year...
MyNorthwest Staff

Where to find a ballot drop box ahead of Tuesday night deadline

You can find a ballot drop box near you up until 8 p.m. on Election Day, when voting is officially closed.
1 year ago
elections, recount...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County Elections certifies hand recount for 5th Legislative District seat

King County Elections is declaring Mark Mullet the winner of Washington's 5th Legislative District seat for the state Senate after a hand recount.
2 years ago
voter turnout, ballots...
MyNorthwest Staff

Voter turnout in Washington reaches 84.1%, just below all-time record

There were a record number of voters participating in the Nov. 3 election in Washington, but the state did not set a record for overall turnout percentage.
2 years ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Local politicians react to Biden, Harris presidential win

State and local politicians, including Gov. Inslee, took to social media Saturday to congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their win.
2 years ago
mark mullet...
Dori Monson Show

Democrat state Senator Mark Mullet credits his slim lead to Republicans

Dem State Senator Mark Mullet credits his slim lead to Republicans, and says there's a movement to push out moderate Democrats in Washington state government.
2 years ago
Election 2020...
Jacob Rummel

The KIRO rundown: UW professor offers theory as to why polls were so wrong

While we wait for votes to continue being tallied in the presidential election, here are the latest reactions from KIRO Radio hosts.
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
WA attorney general candidates clash in debate over job history, state’s future