Every four years, candidates for nine statewide executive offices — that’s a lot — appear on the Washington state ballot. Some of the offices, such as governor and attorney general, are political in nature and lend themselves to partisan campaigns. Others, such as state auditor or state treasurer, are more administrative and an odd fit in the partisan political process. But that’s how the state’s founders, deeply imbued by the populist fervor of the late 19th century, wanted state government to work.
Today, the Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board offers its recommendations for three positions: secretary of state, state auditor and state attorney general. The board brought together candidates for the secretary of state and auditor for face-to-face interviews that allowed a back-and-forth and follow-up questions. The board did not meet with attorney general candidates for reasons that will be explained below.
From these meetings, the board offers its endorsements as further information for the voters to consider as they arrive at their decisions. The board will weigh in on other statewide races later this month in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election. The board endorses the following candidates:
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STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL; BOB FERGUSON
We didn’t conduct interviews on this race, and we don’t need to. Republicans didn’t field an opponent against first-term incumbent Democrat Bob Ferguson, leaving him with unknown and underfinanced Libertarian candidate Josh Trumbull, who practices law in Arlington.
Ferguson has been aggressive in consumer protection cases, an advocate for open records and open meeting laws, and he has maintained the state’s pressure on the federal government on Hanford nuclear reservation cleanup. He has taken on groups of all political philosophies on campaign finance laws.
He has admitted that his office erred in its handling of important evidence regarding an Oso mudslide lawsuit against the state; one of his attorneys knew emails were being deleted and didn’t intervene. Also, he has actively advocated an assault-weapons ban, a position that will require more scrutiny on whatever legislation emerges.
Trumbull, as a Libertarian, essentially is running against the two-party system. On his website, he claims Ferguson has politicized the office but offers no examples or a clear vision of where he would take the office. Ferguson has a clear direction of the office, and he should be allowed to continue to do so.