Attorney General Ferguson announces exploratory campaign for Governor

May 2, 2023, 7:11 AM | Updated: 9:12 am

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Washington state Governor Jay Inslee (left) and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (right) are pictured before speaking to media. (Photo by Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced at 6:55 a.m. Tuesday morning that he was launching an exploratory campaign for the 2024 Washington state Gubernatorial election, less than 24 hours after current Gov. Jay Inslee announced he would not run again.

Inslee has been the governor of Washington since 2013 and is the second elected official to serve three consecutive terms as the executive of the state’s government.

Who’s next for WA Governor? Top candidates to follow a decade of Inslee

An exploratory campaign is not the same as officially running for governor, but it is the first step.

Potential candidates usually make such an announcement to signal to donors and others they’re seriously testing the waters for a run without officially declaring their candidacy.

Ferguson says he’ll be going on a “listening tour” across the state.

“I’ve never been afraid to take on big fights. From the Trump Admin & gun lobby to anti-abortion extremists & corporate interests, I’ve taken on powerful adversaries and won,” Ferguson said in the announcement. “That’s just the start. I’m proud to announce my exploratory campaign for WA Gov.”

Ferguson is Washington’s 18th Attorney General, graduating from New York University law school. Some of his more notable work came from filing multiple legal actions against the U.S. Department of Energy regarding the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Both of his lawsuits led to successful outcomes.

Governor Jay Inslee spoke to Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien on Seattle’s Morning News about Ferguson’s recent announcement, saying while he respected Ferguson, he is not ready to endorse any candidates yet.

“I haven’t thought about those electoral issues. I have tremendous respect for Bob, he has been a tremendous Attorney General,” Inslee said. “He won something like 42 out of 41 cases when the Trump administration was trying to put their hands on the great state of Washington, so I do have a lot of respect for him. I haven’t thought through the electoral part of this.”

This is a developing story, check back in for updates

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Attorney General Ferguson announces exploratory campaign for Governor