Who’s running for office in Washington state this year?

Just over a thousand people statewide declared their candidacies in the 2024 elections as filing week ended. Here are the races to watch.

A picture of a stack of envelopes that hold ballots in a yellow box.

Ballots going through the counting process at King County Elections Office in Renton on Monday, October 30, 2023. (Amanda Snyder/Cascade PBS) 

About a thousand people filed to run for office in Washington this year, as election season officially kicks off.

Voters will decide on eight statewide races: governor, attorney general, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, commissioner of public lands, superintendent of public instruction and insurance commissioner; all seats in the Washington House of Representatives; and about half of the seats in the state Senate, plus some judges, ballot items and local races. 

Washington will also vote on the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Sen. Maria Cantwell and on all 10 of Washington’s Congressional seats, including wide-open races for Washington’s 5th and 6th Congressional Districts. 

Most of the races are slated to first appear on the Aug. 6 primary ballot, with the top two vote-getters in each contest proceeding to the general election on Nov. 5. 

Here are a few highlights from filing week:


Primary voters in August will see 28 candidates for the open seat of governor on the ballot.

Democrat Bob Ferguson, the current attorney general, has been running for the seat since last September He has raised $6.9 million and currently leads all Washington gubernatorial candidates in fundraising. Ferguson emerged as a top contender after Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would not run for a fourth term.

Other high-profile candidates for governor include former Congressman Dave Reichert, a Republican, who is in second place in raising money for the gubernatorial campaign; and Semi Bird, a former Richland School Board member whom voters recalled last year from that seat and who was endorsed by the Washington State Republican Party at its convention last month. Washington State Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, is currently in third place in fundraising for this race, with more than $1 million in campaign contributions.

Originally, two other Bob Fergusons, also listed as Democrats, had been recruited to run by conservative activist Glen Morgan, the Washington State Standard reported over the weekend. The Secretary of State’s Office must come up with an identifier to differentiate the three Fergusons, the news site reported.

But by Monday evening, the other two Bob Fergusons had withdrawn their names from the ballot, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, which is in charge of statewide elections.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson held a press conference Monday, announcing that his campaign had asked the other two to withdraw from the race and for the Secretary of State’s Office to highlight the differences. Former King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg also addressed the press, saying the last-minute Bob Ferguson filings violated state law, citing a clause against filing with “the intent to confuse and mislead” voters.

“We all kind of laughed about it, it was a prank, it was a meme, but it’s not funny. It is also a crime,” Satterberg said.

“Any serious candidate for any serious office should understand that they too could be the victim of such a fraud,” Satterberg said. 

Ferguson also said his campaign sent cease-and-desist letters to the other two Bob Fergusons urging them to withdraw from the ballot, and that his campaign would urge local authorities to prosecute if they do not.

Ferguson also asked Secretary of State Steve Hobbs to list the other two as “Robert Ferguson” with their middle initials or middle names; to list candidate occupations alongside their names; and also to list the three Ferguson candidates next to each other on the ballot.

“If the ballot order remains unchanged, there is no question that thousands of Washingtonians will think they’re voting for me and they’re really voting for one of these other two individuals,” Ferguson said. “That is a fact. That is going to happen. The only question is how many thousands, how many voters will essentially be disenfranchised.”

Asked if there was a possibility that the other two were serious candidates, Ferguson demurred.

“Glen Morgan even said in the press he tried to recruit more Bob Fergusons to run. Like, respectfully, give me a break,” Ferguson said.

“Steve Hobbs has a duty here because if he does not take the steps we’ve outlined, this will be the new normal in your politics, take it to the bank,” Ferguson said.

But by Monday evening, Hobbs confirmed that the other two Fergusons had withdrawn by the deadline. Hobbs also said in a statement that his office has policies in place to mitigate voter confusion when multiple candidates have similar names.

“Instances of people filing for office with names similar to well-known officeholders go back nearly a century in Washington and other states,” Hobbs’ statement said. “That is nothing new. We know how to address such issues as elections officials.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Two former Republican lawmakers who had previously announced plans to run against Chris Reykdal, the incumbent superintendent of public instruction, ultimately did not end up challenging him. Chad Magendanz and Brad Klippert suspended their campaigns after the Washington State Republican Party endorsed David Olson, a member of the Peninsula School Board in Gig Harbor last month. While the party made an endorsement, the position is nonpartisan. Magendanz is now running for his old state Senate seat in Legislative District 5 against Democrat Bill Ramos for the seat vacated by Mark Mullet, who is running for governor. (According to state law, a person can appear on the ballot for only one race at a time.)

Remaining in the race along with Reykdal, a former Democratic state lawmaker running for his third term as superintendent, and Olson, is Reid Saaris, a founder of Seattle nonprofit Equal Opportunity Schools and a substitute IB teacher at Rainier Beach High School. Saaris is the current fundraising leader in the race to run Washington’s public schools, with more than $258,000 in campaign contributions. The fourth candidate in the race is John Patterson Blair, a former Vashon School Board member who has run for the seat before.

Other state races 

With current Attorney General Bob Ferguson running for governor, Washington voters will have a wide-open race to replace him. Three people filed to run for this office: two Democrats, Nick Brown, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, and state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond; and Republican Pete Serrano, the mayor of Pasco. 

Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is seeking a Congressional seat and seven people are running for that open seat, including former U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican ousted from her 3rd Congressional District seat in 2022. Others running for lands commissioner include state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege from Lake Sutherland and King County Council chair Dave Upthegrove, both running as Democrats. Upthegrove and Herrera Beutler have currently raised the most money for this contest.

U.S. Senate

Sen. Maria Cantwell will face 10 challengers on the August primary ballot, including Republican Raul Garcia, a moderate conservative who ran for governor in 2020 but was shut out in the primary by Inslee and fellow Republican Loren Culp. Garcia had earlier announced a 2024 run for governor, but switched to a bid for U.S. Senate after Reichert announced his candidacy.

Democrat Cantwell has held her seat since 2001 after defeating longtime Republican Sen. Slade Gorton. Cantwell has raised over $10 million for this campaign. Garcia is currently in a distant second place, with $406,000 in contributions listed on the Federal Elections Campaign website.


For Congress, voters across the state will see a familiar face-off in southwest Washington and several familiar faces throwing their hats into the race for the 3rd Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez will again face Republican challenger Joe Kent, whom she defeated two years ago in a close contest that switched the district’s party representation. Former U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was shut out in the 2022 primary by Gluesenkamp Perez and Kent, who was endorsed by Trump that year and ran to Herrera Beutler’s right. Herrera Beutler was one of 10 Republican representatives nationwide who voted to impeach former President Donald J. Trump over his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection. This year, two other candidates, Republican Leslie Lewallen, a Camas City Council member, and independent John Saulie-Rohman, also of Camas, also filed for the seat.

In Washington’s Fourth Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse will face fellow Republican Tiffany Smiley, who two years ago raised millions in her attempt to oust U.S. Senator Patty Murray in what was then the state’s most expensive race in history. Newhouse, now in his fifth term, was another Republican Congressperson who voted to impeach Trump and thus drew challengers to his right two years ago. Other challengers this time around include Republican Jerrod Sessler; Democrats Mary Baechler, Barry Knowles and “Birdie” Jane Muchlinski; Benny “BG3” Garcia, listed as an independent; and John Malan, listed as a “MAGA Democrat.”

Two of Washington’s Congressional Representatives, Derek Kilmer, D-WA 6, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA 5, previously said they are not running for reelection this year, opening two seats to represent the state.

For Kilmer’s seat, which covers the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas, Democrats Hilary Franz, currently state commissioner of public lands, and Emily Randall, the state Senate deputy majority leader, filed to run, along with Republicans Drew MacEwen, a Republican state senator, and Janis Clark of Federal Way. J. Graham Ralston, an attorney from Port Angeles, also is running for the seat as an independent.

McMorris Rodgers’ seat attracted 11 contenders, including six Republicans and five Democrats. Among the Republicans are Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner, who is also a former state legislator who unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell in 2012. Also running as Republicans are State Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic; Spokane City Councilman Jonathan Bingle; Ferry County Commissioner Brian Dansel; Rene Holaday, a radio host and former aide to former State Rep. Matt Shea; and Rick Valentine Flynn of Cheney.

Democratic contenders for McMorris Rodgers’ seat include Ann Marie Danimus, who has run for the seat before; Carmela Conroy, a former U.S. diplomat; physician Bernadine Bank; Matthew Welde, deputy prosecuting attorney for Spokane County; and Bobbi Bennett-Wolcott of Pullman.

The full list of candidates and races is available through the Secretary of State’s website.

Update May 13, 2024, 5:56 p.m.: The story has been updated with new information from the Secretary of State’s Office regarding the two people, both named Bob Ferguson, who had withdrawn their names from the ballot. Bob Ferguson, the current attorney general, is now the only one with that name running for Washington governor.

Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors