This morning, state Sen. Mark Mullet ("D"-Issaquah), a former bank executive who now runs pizza and ice cream franchises when he's not attempting to block even incremental progress in Olympia, announced his bid for governor. According to a press release, he aims to focus on housing affordability, "improving public safety, tackling climate change, and creating good-paying jobs that allow people to buy homes and raise a family."
His candidacy, which has been rumored for months, will test the strength of several dubious propositions at once:
1) Enough conservative Democrats, "independents," and centrist-leaning Republicans exist to push him past an actual Republican in the 2024 primary. 2) A relatively little-known state Senator who won his last race against a first-time candidate by only 58 votes stands a chance against two Democratic competitors who have won statewide; Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz. 3) The sheer power of business money, another round of law-and-order histrionics, and Mullet's signature charm will overpower the organizational prowess of unions, progressives, and standard-issue Democrats who will probably come out in droves to defend against Trump, or DeSantis, or whichever red-faced proto-fascist the right ends up nominating for president next year.
From this vantage, it's hard to see it working out, though I guess if he gets through the primary then things could get interesting. However, the enemies he's made during his 11 years as a state senator are already trying to make it hard for him. Shortly before his announcement, Ferguson's campaign released a video of abortion advocates and labor leaders condemning Mullet's votes against workers and reproductive rights.
In the video, Pro-Choice Washington Executive Director Kia Guarino dings him for voting against a bill to give people more control over data collected by health care apps. Ironworkers Local 86 Political Director Heather Kurtenbach criticized him for opposing a $15 minimum wage for the Eastside and trying to pass a bill that would have made the statewide minimum wage $12 per hour instead of $13.50. Finally, IBEW Local 46 Government Affairs Director Nicole Grant called attention to campaign contributions he accepted from "Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and Big Oil and Gas."
The video fails to mention his efforts to open up multi-million-dollar tax loopholes for big businesses, keep the state's ban on affirmative action, gut a bill that ended the racist practice of using credit scores to determine car insurance amounts, limit collective bargaining for teachers, block attempts to pass progressive revenue, block moderate proposals to fight climate change, and advocate for loosening indoor dining ahead of a major COVID spike in 2020. The video also didn't mention the $80,000 pool that he had installed in the backyard of his McMansion during the pandemic (which, to be fair, seemed like a bad timing thing), but there's only so much you can shove in a 30-second spot, I guess.
But that's okay. There's plenty of time before the 2024 elections to discuss Mullet's record—assuming he stays in the race. If he commits to a run for governor, then he might have to give up his seat in the Senate, which is up for reelection next year.