Former Sen. Mona Das and Rep. Dave Reichert join crowded WA races

Statewide elections are experiencing a surge in candidates for high-profile open seats such as commissioner of public lands and governor.

Pictures of former U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, and former state Sen. Mona Das, who are making bids for statewide office in Washington.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert is exploring a run for governor, while former Democratic state Sen. Mona Das has announced a bid for state public lands commissioner. (Photos courtesy of the candidates)

More candidates are stepping forward to run for Washington governor and other statewide races, including former Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert and former Democratic state Sen. Mona Das.

On Thursday morning, Das announced she will run for public lands commissioner, a position set to be open as Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz pursues a bid for governor. Reichert has filed paperwork for a potential governor’s race.

First elected in 2018 to the 47th Legislative District in southeastern King County, Das chose not to run for reelection in 2022. Among her work as senator, she passed a law, Senate Bill 5022, intended to reduce plastic pollution.

“Our next commissioner of public lands must recognize the challenges so many Washingtonians face, and lead an agency prepared to fight hard for the next generation,” Das said in a news release. “Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time and we need a bold leader in this office to fight for the future. From firefighters to forest industry leaders, protected lands to recreational services, our state needs a proven coalition builder and change-maker equipped to meet all the needs we face at this time.”

Das joins current Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Port Angeles, in the race for lands commissioner. King County Metropolitan Council Chair Dave Upthegrove has also said he’s leaning toward a bid for the office.

Meanwhile, Reichert, a seven-term U.S. congressman from Washington’s Eighth Congressional District, has filed paperwork to begin raising money for a gubernatorial bid. Before that, Reichert served as King County Sheriff – known for his role in apprehending the Green River Killer – but opted not to run in 2018 for another term in Congress. Democratic Kim Schrier won that autumn and has been elected to the seat ever since.

An email to a Reichert campaign address seeking comment wasn’t returned. As of Thursday, Reichert’s candidate filing with the state Public Disclosure Commission doesn’t report any money being raised.

After Gov. Jay Inslee announced this spring he wouldn’t try for an unprecedented fourth term, the potential field for governor is quickly filling up. Candidates won’t officially file until next May.

Already, two statewide-elected Democrats – Franz and Attorney General Bob Ferguson – are pursuing gubernatorial bids. Ferguson and Franz had been expected to run in 2020, before Inslee declared for a third term. Sen. Mark Mullet, a moderate Democrat from Issaquah, has also declared a bid.

On the Republican side, Reichert joins Raul Garcia, an emergency room physician from Yakima who briefly ran in 2020. Also running is Richland School Board member Semi Bird.


An earlier version of this story misstated where Republican candidate Raul Garcia is from. 

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