Metropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is running for attorney general.

Newly announced attorney-general candidate Reagan Dunn said Tuesday he would work to keep violent criminals off the street and insist the federal government meet its obligation to clean up the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Dunn, a Metropolitan King County Council member and a former assistant U.S. attorney, announced his candidacy in the 2012 election Tuesday, less than a week after Attorney General Rob McKenna launched his own campaign for governor.

Viewed as one of the Republican Party’s most promising Washington politicians, Dunn, 40, is running against fellow County Councilmember Bob Ferguson, who announced his candidacy for attorney general in February.

Former Pierce County Executive and County Prosecuting Attorney John Ladenburg, who ran for attorney general in 2008, has formed an exploratory committee but has not officially declared himself a candidate. Ferguson and Ladenburg are Democrats.

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Ladenburg said he expects to decide by the end of the month whether to run, after analyzing “an extensive statewide poll” and consulting with family and friends.

After working as a special assistant U.S. attorney in Florida and Washington, D.C., Dunn became an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle. He was appointed to the county council in 2005 after McKenna’s election as attorney general.

Dunn played a key role in the successful campaign last year for a constitutional amendment that gives judges more discretion to deny bail to criminals accused of violent crimes for which they could face life sentences — an amendment initiated by the Legislature in response to Maurice Clemmons’ 2009 slaying of four Lakewood police officers while he was out on bail.

“Ninety-five percent of criminal activity across the country is prosecuted at the local level. I want to give prosecutors and local law enforcement the tools they need to keep violent offenders off the streets. I’m going to use the office to keep safety around our homes and our schools and our neighborhoods,” Dunn said Tuesday.

He said his other priorities include consumer protection, pushing for a full cleanup of radioactive waste at Hanford, and accelerating collections of money from antitrust, consumer protection and Medicaid fraud.

“We will cede no quarter; we will campaign hard right in Seattle,” Dunn said. “We’re going to take on the issues of the environment. We’re not going to shy away from those.”

Dunn, the son of the late U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn, is endorsed by McKenna, former Attorney General Ken Eikenberry and former U.S. attorneys Mike McKay, Jim McDevitt, Bill Hyslop, Jeff Sullivan and John McKay.

Reports to the state Public Disclosure Commission show $161,000 in contributions to the Ferguson campaign, $56,000 to Ladenberg and none to Dunn. But he said he has raised $105,000 in 13 days and plans to raise $2 million for his campaign.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105