MYNORTHWEST POLITICS

3 Bob Fergusons have entered the race to be Washington’s next governor

May 11, 2024, 1:27 PM

Image: Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is seen, April 27, 2023, at the University of Washi...

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is seen, April 27, 2023, at the University of Washington's Hans Rosling Center for Population Health in Seattle. (File photo: Lindsey Wasson, AP)

(File photo: Lindsey Wasson, AP)

Washingtonians now know who will be running for all offices in the state this election season and the number of Bob Fergusons running to become the state’s governor jumped to three Friday.

According to votewa.org, the state’s voter registration and ballot management portal, 182 candidates running for 88 offices submitted paperwork ahead of Friday’s filing deadline. Of those 182, 30 are running for governor, including known high-profile candidates such as Republicans Dave Reichert and Semi Bird and Democrat Mark Mullet.

Washington GOP convention: Semi Bird wins endorsement for governor from state Republicans

Now three of them are also named Bob Ferguson.

It was already known current Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is running to be the state’s next governor as he announced the formation of an exploratory campaign in May of last year. Current Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also publicly endorsed Ferguson early last fall, over a year before the November election.

Key endorsement: Sen. Patty Murray endorses Bob Ferguson for Washington governor

What was not known until Friday is that two additional Fergusons would be entering the race. They both are Democrats and registered within an hour of each other Friday with the same mailing address in Olympia, which traces back to a UPS Store mailbox.

Conservative Republican activist Glen Morgan confirmed Friday on Facebook through his own profile and the profile of his company, We The Governed, that he is the “volunteer campaign manager” for the two Bob Fergusons running who aren’t the current attorney general.

According to the Washington State Standard, Morgan said this had been in the works for some time as he reached out to some of the 53 Washington residents named Bob Ferguson.

“Not every one of them wants their name associated with the guy running for governor,” Morgan said, the Standard reported. Deciding to file on their behalf “was pretty impulsive” and he said he had to scramble to raise money to cover the filing fee of $1,982.57 for each of the two Fergusons.

Morgan provided few details about the individuals, the Standard said. There is a Bob Ferguson from Yakima who is a retired state worker and the other who filed Friday is from Graham and is a military veteran, he said. Neither is politically experienced but both share a distaste for the state executive with the same name, Morgan said.

Democratic response to the filings

Ferguson, the attorney general, has not yet officially commented about the filings. But in a post on his on his X account, @BobFergusonAG, Saturday Ferguson made reference to the political operation after watching his daughter take part in an athletic event.

“Nothing soothes an attack on democracy like watching your daughter set a personal best in the 100 meters,” the post on X, formerly known, as Twitter, states. The post also links to The Seattle Times’ coverage of the Ferguson filings.

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On Friday, Ferguson posted a statement on the @BobFergusonAG X account from former Democratic Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, who served from 2005-13 before Inslee took office, panning the maneuver.

“There’s no doubt this last-minute filing by two unknown ‘Bob Fergusons’ is an effort to deliberately confuse Washington voters,” Gregoire’s statement reads, in part. “It’s nothing less than an attack on our democracy.”

The Cascadia Advocate, a publication of the Northwest Progressive Institute, called the move an “ostensible con,” adding, “This is merely the latest in a long and rapidly growing list of Republican dirty tricks.” The publication also suggested these filings are against the law, citing RCW 29A.84.320 from the Washington State Legislature.

Morgan responds to early attacks

Morgan returned to Facebook Saturday morning with another post promising “aggressive and extensive legal action against any individuals or organizations involved in current efforts to subvert the 2024 elections in our state …”

According to The Seattle Times, Morgan says he thinks “a lot of people” are upset about the attorney general “trying to pretend that he cares about public safety when he’s done everything to look the other way and avoid solving any of the problems and almost every activity he’s done as the attorney general has actually made it a lot worse.”

Additional details about the election process

Under state law, if two or more candidates file for the same office with names similar enough to confuse voters, information can be added on the ballot to help differentiate them, the Standard noted in its coverage. Secretary of State Steve Hobbs must decide what extra wording to add. A decision is expected late Monday, after the deadline for candidates to withdraw.

Adding another layer to this new development, state election officials set the ballot order for the primary Friday through the random number drawing. The Bob Fergusons who filed Friday will be listed second and third on the ballot. The current attorney general sits in Spot No. 13. (A PDF of the ballot order released by the secretary of state’s office can be viewed here.)

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here.

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3 Bob Fergusons have entered the race to be Washington’s next governor