Updated May 12, 2023

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week he wouldn’t seek an unprecedented fourth term, leaving his job open for the first time in 12 years.

It was hardly a surprising announcement, and the race will remain in the Solid Democrat column unless Republicans can land an impressive, moderate recruit.

Inslee’s decision means there will be no incumbent Democratic governors on the ballot in 2024, with additional open seats in Delaware and North Carolina. In fact, the only incumbent governor who will be up for reelection this cycle is Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear this fall, with no other incumbents until the 2026 midterm elections.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson quickly launched his exploratory campaign after Inslee’s announcement and, according to multiple sources, is the clear frontrunner. He has already lined up a large endorsement list and raised $1.5 million. Ferguson was first elected statewide in 2012, and then easily reelected in 2016 and 2020. Before becoming attorney general, Ferguson was elected to the King County Council in 2003, and became its chair

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