Rantz: Progressives shred Bob Ferguson for Governor endorsement

May 28, 2023, 5:59 PM | Updated: 6:59 pm

AG neglect case...

The settlement announced Monday is on top of more than $300,000 in penalties levied by a judge against Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office for wrongful withholding of evidence. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

The Bob Ferguson for Governor campaign is off to a rocky start, already alienating Seattle activists after bragging about a police chief’s endorsement on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death. 

On May 25, Ferguson tweeted that he was “grateful to have the support” of Carmen Best, former Seattle Police chief. But Seattle’s far-left activist community noted the date the endorsement was made. George Floyd was killed May 25, 2020, setting off a torrent of violent police clashes with activists, Antifa terrorism, and riots in downtown Seattle.

The violent movement, which led to the insurrection that created the deadly Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, was supported by the active Seattle voting base Ferguson needs to back his campaign. 

Bob Ferguson for Governor campaign steps on anti-police landmine

Raging left-wing activists ratioed the tweet, offering a bevy of critical responses rather than supportive “likes” and retweets. They have been critical of Best because she didn’t allow Antifa and their enablers to easily take over the East Precinct in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. She supported her officers and defiantly resigned as the city council vowed to defund the department by 50%.

The backlash was so harsh that Ferguson responded two days later to clarify why he was proud of her endorsement. He didn’t want to connect himself to her police decisions during the Black Lives Matter riots, rallies, and protests. Instead, he credited her for supporting his assault weapons ban. Even though the weapons banned are rarely used in gun violence across the state, it was an oft-targeted symbol of the left’s war on the Second Amendment, and it helped establish Ferguson’s progressive bona fides. 


Political consequences

Thanks to the endorsement, there are some potentially serious political consequences for the Bob Ferguson for Governor campaign.

If Ferguson is challenged by someone farther to the Left, that candidate will likely earn the support of the vocal activist class in Seattle. Though they’re smaller in numbers when compared to the voters-at-large, these are activists who engage in grassroots efforts on behalf of their preferred candidate. They rally the troops, and they are reliable voters. They could push their support to someone far to the Left or lose their enthusiasm for Ferguson. If he’s in a tough race against another Democrat, and he’s just another straight white guy (an enemy to Seattle progressives), it could favor his opponents during the primary.

It’s unclear what campaign strategy opponent Hilary Franz will adopt. As Public Lands Commissioner, she’s been mostly out of the spotlight and has carte blanche to define her political views in this campaign rather than be tied to political decisions in office. She could try to be a more progressive and female alternative to Ferguson.

If it’s a race between Ferguson and a moderate Democrat, a lack of excitement from the far-left base could also sting.

State Senator Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) is rumored to be readying an announcement. He’s very much a liberal, but on the issues that matter to most voters (crime, homelessness, drug use, taxes), he’s eschewed far-left demands and has voted reasonably. That Ferguson can’t endorse Best’s actions as police chief should alienate moderate Seattle and King County voters who actually support enforcing the law against criminals. And if Ferguson is forced to criticize police to placate the irascible progressive Seattle base, Mullet has a clear opening. He can use it to assuage Democrat voters unhappy with the state’s direction thanks to the extremist ideas coming from the base Ferguson may try to win back.

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Rantz: Progressives shred Bob Ferguson for Governor endorsement