MYNORTHWEST POLITICS

Both duplicate Bob Fergusons withdraw from governors race

May 13, 2024, 12:05 PM | Updated: 5:28 pm

bob ferguson...

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Both duplicate Bob Fergusons withdrew their name Monday afternoon from the ballot following a run against Attorney General (AG) Bob Ferguson. The Fergusons who dropped out were Robert Benjamin Ferguson from Graham and Robert Arthur Ferguson in Yakima.

It has been confirmed by the Secretary of State that only AG Bob Ferguson will be on the ballot.

The Attorney General’s campaign said it sent cease-and-desist letters to Robert Benjamin Ferguson and Robert Arthur Ferguson in an effort to remove their names from the August primary ballot. During a press conference Monday morning, AG Ferguson said the two letters were left on their porches.

In the letters, he explained the legal implications of deceptive election and asked that they withdraw their names before 5 p.m. Monday, the deadline to legally withdraw names from consideration.

Robert Benjamin Ferguson was the first to rescind his name. Little is known about him but according to a statement on his campaign website, Robert Benjamin Ferguson was in the U.S. Army for 20 years and was proud to defend his country.

“The greatest threat to my family and myself would come from another that also carries my name,” said the statement. “I was faced with harassment and legal action if I did not withdraw from the race. I was publicly labeled a ‘threat to democracy’ by another candidate and his supporters. It is unfair to my family, friends and supporters to deal with bullish behavior by someone that is too afraid to stand toe-to-toe with me. For that reason, I rescind my candidacy.”

A couple of hours later, Robert Arthur Ferguson withdrew his name.

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AG Bob Ferguson was accompanied by former King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg in denouncing the efforts of Republican activist Glenn Morgan who reportedly recruited the two other Robert Ferguson’s to file to run for governor.

The goal is clear, according to Ferguson.

“(This is) to mislead voters and split my supporters three ways to depress my vote total and keep me from moving into the top two in the general election,” Ferguson said at a press conference Monday. “This is not an attack on me. It’s an attack on our election system. It’s an attack on our democracy. It’s an attack on the people to say to Washington to have a clear choice and to know who they’re voting for.”

Satterberg outlined the criminal penalties the two other Fergusons could face if a county prosecutor believes they intentionally filed for governor to mislead voters and split the vote — helping any republican challenger coinciding.

State law states misleading voters is a Class B felony that’s been on the books for 80 years.

“This is vandalism to the ballot, it’s a theft of the real Bob Ferguson’s reputation,” Satterberg said.

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Ferguson also said his campaign sent a 19-page letter (view the PDF here) to Secretary of State Steve Hobbs asking him to use the wide discretion his office has to make elections easier for voters to understand. He asked the secretary of state to list the occupations of each Ferguson next to their names and to list each candidate’s middle name or middle initial on the ballot.

Ferguson wants to group all the Fergusons together on the ballot — which may be the Attorney General’s most important ballot request.

Ferguson also called out the Republican challenger former Congressman Dave Reichert for not denouncing the move.

“He has not uttered a word about this. A man who seems to care about enforcing the law, he seems to only care about enforcing the law in certain situations if it benefits him politically,” Ferguson said.

KIRO Newsradio asked Glenn Morgan before the Ferguson news conference for an on-the-record interview about his next move. He said he would call us back later.

A spokesman for the Secretary of State office said Steve Hobbs would reserve comment until after the 5 p.m. withdrawal deadline had passed.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Matt Markovich is an analyst and reporter who often covers the state legislature and public policy for KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of Matt’s stories here. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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