Mike Vaska, a Seattle attorney and leader of a moderate Republican organization, is running for state attorney general, arguing that incumbent Democrat Bob Ferguson — who has sued the Trump administration 58 times — is overly partisan.
In an announcement Wednesday, Vaska described himself as “a professional lawyer, not a professional politician” and said he would “ensure the Attorney General’s office is focused on solving issues in our state.”
For the past three years, Vaska has headed Mainstream Republicans of Washington, a group of moderates in the vein of former Gov. Dan Evans and former Sen. Slade Gorton, who have found themselves increasingly adrift from a Republican Party dominated by fealty to President Donald Trump. Vaska previously ran for attorney general in 2004, but failed to advance past the primary.
Vaska’s announcement on Wednesday made no mention of Trump, but said if elected he would remain focused on issues such as public safety and homelessness, “not obsessed with filing partisan lawsuits to grab headlines.”
In a statement, Ferguson responded: “Mike Vaska’s admission that he won’t stand up for Washingtonians is plain wrong. It is the job of the Attorney General to protect Washingtonians from powerful interests that break the rules, and that includes holding the Trump Administration accountable.”
Ferguson added that he is “26-1 in these federal lawsuits, decided by many judges appointed by Republican presidents. Here’s the bottom line — standing up for Washingtonians isn’t partisan, it is what the Attorney General must do every day.”
An attorney with the Seattle law firm Foster Garvey (formerly Foster Pepper), Vaska is the third Republican to challenge Ferguson, who is seeking a third term this fall. Matthew Larkin, a Woodinville attorney who works for his family’s manufacturing firm, announced his candidacy in December. Brett Rogers, a former Seattle police officer and attorney, is also running.
As of this week, Larkin’s campaign had raised more than $80,000, while Rogers has raised nearly $15,000. Ferguson has raised nearly $2.3 million, according to filings with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
The top two finishers in the state’s Aug. 4 primary will advance to the Nov. 3 general election.