Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is cruising to re-election against a Libertarian opponent since no Republican filed to challenge him, has been all over the news this week in what is his apparent launch of a campaign for governor in 2020. His ambition for higher office – like that of King County Executive Dow Constantine – has hardly been a secret in political circles, and it looks like Ferguson has decided not to waste the remainder of the current campaign on an assured re-election.
The most recent indicator of his yearning for the office which Jay Inslee barely keeps warm was an interview published in the Puget Sound Business Journal, where he took the politically bold step of …wait for it… attacking a cable company.
Actually, Ferguson was attacking people at companies who disagreed with him, including Comcast, and which expressed disappointment in lawsuits brought by the AG’s office. But his use of non-legal language – “‘There is no misunderstanding by any stretch of the imagination,’ Ferguson said Thursday. ‘I want to be crystal clear about this. None. Zippo. They lied. They knew. Full stop,’” clearly indicated he was playing for a wider audience than those interested in his consumer protection work, like, say, the anti-business Bernie Sanders wing of his party?
Earlier in the week, Ferguson made a play for the gun control base in his party, holding a press conference to announce that he was thinking about doing something that would be worthy of a press conference.
The headline in the Seattle Times was typical of the newspaper and TV reports about his press conference: “Washington attorney general proposes assault-weapons ban.”
The reality of Ferguson exploiting the tragic shooting in Mukilteo last month came out in the third paragraph of the Times story: “The legislation, which has not yet been written…”
That’s right, Ferguson does not have a proposal. He has a press release, that he thought would get media attention. He would have likely gotten much less attention by admitting the truth – that he is proposing that he will have his staff write a bill that he then try to get introduced by actual legislators, who vote on such things.
But, he got headlines, and the chance to appear like a leader to the Democrats who will decide their party’s nominee in 2020.
And that’s what a campaign kickoff is all about.