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Spicy Moments In the Attorney General Debate

Lesley McClurg

Last night the candidates running for Washington State Attorney General duked it out in a live debate. There were some spicy moments between Democratic candidate Bob Ferguson and Republican candidate Reagan Dunn. KUOW's Lesley McClurg was there.


The two candidates know each other well. Bob Ferguson and Reagan Dunn have worked together on the King County Council for the past seven years. They responded to many questions during the debate similarly. That's not surprising given their past. They have actually only disagreed on one percent of the full county votes they have faced while on the county council together. However, they tried to highlight key differences between themselves. Bob Ferguson pointed out that Reagan Dunn has missed more votes than any other councilmember. Dunn said that wasn't true.

Dunn: "I was a very aggressive prosecutor and I will work very, very hard and these statistics are cherry picked. They're a red herring because you don't have the experience to keep the public safe, Bob."

Keeping the public safe was a theme both candidates stressed. Dunn said his past experience prosecuting cases as a U.S. Justice Department official was key.

Dunn: "We need an attorney general who's actually led law enforcement investigations and stood in a court of law prosecuting dangerous criminals. I've been there."

"Ferguson said his skills as a civil trial lawyer were more important."

Ferguson: "I'm the better advocate to keep the public safe based on my record on the King County Council, chair on our law and justice committee, chair on our budget committee, chair on the council to make sure we have the resources necessary to keep the public safe."

Ferguson also argued that these skills are more relevant to being the next attorney general (AG.)

Ferguson: "About 90 percent of the work done in the office of the attorney general is civil in nature. That's what it is. Reagan you have great prosecutorial experience, you're just running for the wrong job. You should be running for the prosecuting attorney not attorney general."

We'll find out whose background is more appealing to the voters in November. A recent survey shows that Ferguson is leading in the polls, but 24 percent of voters are still undecided.

For KUOW news, I'm Lesley McClurg.

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