Filling one more spot on what Republicans hope will be a dream team for 2012, King County Councilman and former federal prosecutor Reagan Dunn announced his candidacy for state attorney general in a released statement Tuesday morning.
In his reasons for running, Dunn carried forward the message delivered by current Attorney General Rob McKenna gubernatorial announcement speech last Wednesday, a theme of worry about where Washington State is headed.
I am running for Attorney General because I am concerned about the overall direction of Washington State Government and I believe we can do much better… Our state faces significant challenges, including high unemployment, an unfavorable business climate for job creation, and crime levels that are unacceptable.
Today’s release from the Dunn campaign also included a strong endorsement from current attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna.
“Reagan Dunn brings the right balance of criminal and civil legal experience that our state needs in an Attorney General,” McKenna said.
Dunn’s release also cited a fundraising windfall of more than $100,000 in the past two weeks, though disclosures for that period have not been filed and the amount cannot be verified. Nevertheless, Dunn is known for his fundraising finesse, and many donors were simply waiting to sign the checks preceding a formal announcement. If the figure is accurate it would put him past one Democrat in the race – Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg – and within reach of the other, fellow King County Councilman Bob Ferguson, who disclosed just over $161,000 as of the most recent filings to the Public Disclosure Commission.
The state GOP is aiming for at least a 12-spot gain in 2012, and accomplishing that objective would require not losing in races to hold key Republican-held seats such as attorney general.
In the context of Washington State government, the attorney general and governor races are as close to top-of-the-ticket as it gets, and State Republican Party Chair Kirby Wilbur sees a significant advantage in having McKenna and Dunn on the ballot together in 2012.
“I think it’s a great pair,” Wilbur told NW Daily Marker. “McKenna has statewide elected experience, he has run the Attorney General’s office for six-and-a-half years, he has administrative experience and he has Olympia experience — that qualifies him to be Governor. Reagan has U.S. Attorney experience, County Council experience… and I think that the two of the get along very well and that helps.”
“When you look at Rob’s experience, Reagan’s experience, plus their friendship and I think it makes for a great top of the ticket,” Wilbur said.
Dunn was appointed to the King County Council in 2005 to replace McKenna after his successful election as attorney general, and won re-election in 2009 with 77% of the vote in the affluent 9th District of Washington’s largest county. Prior to serving on the King County Council, Dunn’s University of Washington law degree was put to work prosecuting criminal cases at the Department of Justice. He is also the driving force behind the Jennifer Dunn Leadership Institute, an organization created to train and educate future civic leaders.