OLYMPIA — Seattle City Councilor Lorena González on Thursday announced she’s running for attorney general, the latest candidate in a growing Democratic field seeking to succeed incumbent Attorney General Bob Ferguson if he runs for governor.
In video announcing her campaign, González cited her experience as a second-term at-large member of the city council and her previous work as a civil rights attorney. Gonzalez, who grew up in central Washington, said she was running so that all of Washington’s residents know “there will be a woman in the attorney general’s office, a daughter of two migrant farmworkers, who will stand up for you.”
Ferguson has indicated interest in running for governor next year and he is one of a handful of candidates who are in a holding pattern awaiting a decision from Gov. Jay Inslee, who has not taken seeking reelection to a third term off the table. Inslee, who is currently in the midst of a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has not given a timeframe on when he’ll make that decision.
“I’m announcing now because I think it’s really important for us as Democrats to make sure we start the process to make sure we have someone in the strongest position possible if Bob decides to run for governor,” González said in a phone interview Thursday. Republicans have not yet put forth a candidate, but González said Democrats should assume a Republican challenger will join the race if it becomes an open seat.
“I don’t think we can rest on our laurels,” she said.
Unlike other potential attorney general candidates who have already established campaign committees but say they won’t run if Ferguson ends up seeking reelection to his current post, González said she wanted to establish an active campaign early on in case he does end up running for governor. But like the other Democratic candidates, she said Thursday that she won’t challenge Ferguson if he decides to run for a third term.
“The reality is right now there are a variety of moving pieces and we don’t know who is going to engage in the shuffle and I think it’s really important that we have somebody in position to take on and build on his legacy if he decides to run for the position of governor,” she said. “I really have a huge amount of respect for Bob, he’s done a tremendous job.”
In April, Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell announced the formation of his campaign committee and has raised more than $238,000 thus far but said he won’t run if Ferguson, who is his boss, seeks reelection. And Democratic state Rep. Drew Hansen, a trial attorney, announced his plans to run for attorney general in June, with the same caveat. Ferguson has already raised more than $1.4 million for his potential attorney general reelection bid, according to data on the Public Disclosure Commission’s website.
With other candidates likely to jump in the race in the coming weeks and months, Ferguson said earlier this week that he’s not frustrated or calling the governor to ask when he’ll make a decision. He notes that it’s just August 2019 and that “next year’s election is a long ways away.”
“The governor’s earned the right to run for president, and I’m glad he’s doing it,” he said Wednesday. “He has a right to make a decision on his timeline.”
And if Inslee ultimately decides to run for governor again, Ferguson said: “If the voters will have me back, I will be seeking a third term.”