Washington Attorney General election, 2012

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The Washington attorney general election took place on November 6, 2012, following a primary on August 7, 2012. Election day polling hours are from 6 am until 6 pm.

Current attorney general Rob McKenna (R) decided to seek the governorship in 2012 rather than run for re-election. Three candidates ran in the primary and two advanced to the general election to determine who would fill the open seat.

Democratic Party Bob Ferguson (D)Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Reagan Dunn (R)

On November 7, 2012, the night after the election, Ferguson was declared the winner of the general election.[1]

Washington has a top-two primary system, in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, go on to the general election. On August 7, Ferguson (D) and Dunn (R) received the first and second highest number of votes, earning their slots on the November ballot.[2]

Dunn and Ferguson sat next to each other on the metropolitan King County Council. As councilmen, they voted alike on 99% of the legislation, and even traveled together overseas as fellows at the Aspen Institute (both were nominated for the fellowship by McKenna), an organization that promotes bipartisanship. Because of these bonds, their respective campaigns had to strive for differentiation by accentuating their divergent positions on guns and the role of the attorney general.[3]

The race was originally rated a toss-up, but Governing Politics shifted to leaning Democratic in October.[4]

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General Election Results

Attorney General of Washington General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBob Ferguson 53.5% 1,564,443
     Republican Reagan Dunn 46.5% 1,361,010
Total Votes 2,925,453
Election Results via Washington Secretary of State.

Primary Election Results

Attorney General of Washington, Primary, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBob Ferguson 51.7% 685,346
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngReagan Dunn 38.2% 506,524
     Republican Stephen Pidgeon 10.1% 134,185
Total Votes 1,326,055
Election Results via Washington Secretary of State (dead link)'

General Election

Democratic Party Bob FergusonGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Reagan Dunn

  • Ferguson is a Washington native and served on the King County Council until his election as attorney general in 2012. His campaign for attorney general focused on some major issues he expected to face if elected, such as defending consumers against fraud, veteran care, and environmental protection. Ferguson's political background includes three terms, representing two districts, on the King County Council. Since his first election in 2003, in which he ran a grassroots campaign resulting in the ousting of a 20 year incumbent, he distinguished himself as a council leader in creating reforms for increased government transparency and accountability of elected officials to taxpayers.[5]
  • Dunn was appointed to the King County Council in 2005 to fill the vacancy created by current Attorney General Rob McKenna (R), who left the Council upon his election as attorney general. Dunn was then elected in November, 2005 and re-elected in 2009 with 78% of the vote.[6] On his official campaign website, Dunn said his mission was "to use the power of the office to increase public safety – in schools, at work, in our homes and in our neighborhoods." The self-described fiscal conservative cited reducing reduction "millions of dollars wasted in settlement payouts by keeping state agencies from being sued in the first place" as one of his chief priorities for the office - something he, as a former private practice attorney experienced in advising both private companies and local governments on proper risk management, said he was uniquely capable of achieving. In a departure from standard party lines, Dunn told the Seattle press in January that he was backing efforts to support gay marriage legislation as a King County Councilman and would do the same if elected attorney general.[7]

Primary Candidates

Candidates are listed in the order in which they appeared on the ballot, according to Washington's lot draw system.[8]

Stephen Pidgeon is a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar and has been admitted to practice in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.[9] He also is active in the private sector, where his work as a business executive centers around Christian-values and Bible advocacy. Pidgeon is the CEO of BiblePlex.com, and the founder of DecaLogos International and The Faith Coalition, a Washington group that promotes the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. A religious theme underlined Pidgeon's candidacy, as illustrated through the list of priorities provided on his campaign website; among the list, he cited “protecting the rights of street evangelists to distribute flyers on public sidewalks and citizen journalists to freely assemble, keeping churches from being zoned out of selected areas of Washington cities, and protecting pastors from persecution.”[10] While abstaining from participation in debates with Ferguson and Dunn and maintaining a strictly issue-based campaign strategy that kept him on the fringes of the race, Pidgeon still managed to be the most polarizing attorney general primary candidate of 2012; During an interview on a conservative radio show, Pidgeon told the host that if Obama is re-elected, “You will be under the tyranny of the iron fist of an Islamic caliphate.”[11]

Reagan Dunn

Dunn, along with outgoing attorney general and current gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna (R) and treasurer candidate Jim McIntire (D), received the endorsement of The Seattle Times,[12] and the Association of Washington Business Board of Directors.[13]

Bob Ferguson

Ferguson was endorsed by Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire as well as this list of public and private sector individuals and organizations:

Public Policy Polling

Reagan Dunn v. Bob Ferguson
Poll Reagan Dunn (R) Bob Ferguson (D)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
SurveyUSA/King 5 Poll
(September 26, 2011)
Public Policy Poll
(February 22, 2012)
SurveyUSA/King 5 Poll
(September 7-9, 2012)
Elway Research
(September 9-12, 2012)
Elway Research Poll
(October 18-21, 2012)
KCTS 9 Washington Poll Likely Voters
(October 18-31, 2012)
AVERAGES 33% 39.33% 27.17% +/-4.14 634.17
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Due dates for reports

The Washington Public Disclosure Commission administers campaign finance law and maintains all records online.[16]

For the primary election:

  • First report -- due by July 17, 2012
  • Pre-Primary report -- due by July 31, 2012
  • Post-Primary report -- due by September 10, 2012

For the general election:

  • First report -- due by October 16, 2012
  • Pre-general report -- due by October 30, 2012
  • Post-general report -- due by December 10, 2012


Reagan Dunn

Reagan Dunn[17] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Primary FirstJuly 17, 2012$0.00$945,131.50$(447,518.04)$497,613.46
Pre-PrimaryJuly 31, 2012$497,613.46$46,864.00$(34,977.00)$509,500.00
Post-Primary ReportSeptember 10, 2012$509,500.00$66,354.00$(46,318.14)$529,536.32
First GeneralOctober 16, 2012$529,536.32$372,268.00$(132,874.94)$768,929.38
Pre-GeneralOctober 30, 2012$768,929.38$372,168.00$(132,874.94)$768,829.38
Running totals

Bob Ferguson

Bob Ferguson[18] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Primary FirstJuly 16, 2012$0.00$900,082.07$(833,285.04)$66,797.03
Pre-PrimaryJuly 31, 2012$66,787.03$47,060.00$(4,136.02)$109,731.01
Post-Primary ReportSeptember 10, 2012$109,731.01$117,123.53$(166,143.64)$60,700.90
First GeneralOctober 16, 2012$529,536.32$293,540.65$(268,146.02)$86,095.53
Pre-GeneralOctober 30, 2012$86,095.53$177,810.00$(222,279.94)$41,625.59
Running totals

Former candidates

Stephen Pidgeon

Stephen Pidgeon[19] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Primary FirstJuly 16, 2012$0.00$19,700.88$(15,917.67)$3,783.21
Pre-PrimaryJuly 31, 2012$3,783.21$1,016$(2,423.22)$2,376.27
Post-Primary ReportSeptember 1, 2012$2,376.27$1,016.28$(2,423.22)$2,376.27
Running totals
  • Administrative deadlines are at close of business (5:00) unless otherwise noted.
Deadline Event
May 14 - May 18 Candidate filing period
July 9 Last day for mail-in and online voter registrations for the primary
Aug. 7 Primary election
Aug. 28 Primary results certified
Oct. 8 Last day for mail-in and online voter registrations for the general election
Nov. 6 General election

See also


External links

Suggest a link


  1. Seattle's Q13 FOX, "Inslee maintains slim lead in governor's race; Ferguson wins attorney general contest," November 7, 2012
  2. Washington Secretary of State, "Top 2 Primary: FAQ," accessed May 17, 2012
  3. The Seattle Times, "Dunn, Ferguson seek AG post that few know much about," September 18, 2012
  4. Governing Politics, "Attorney General Races: Democrats' Odds Improving," October 17, 2012
  5. Bob Ferguson for Attorney General, "About Bob," accessed May 19, 2012
  6. Reagan Dunn for Attorney General, "About Reagan," accessed February 9, 2012]
  7. King5 "Washington Attorney General candidate Dunn backs legalizing gay marriage," January 9, 2012
  8. Washington Secretary of State, "2012 candidates appearing in the primary," accessed May 24, 2012
  9. OnYourBallot, "Attorney General candidate Stephen Pidgeon," accessed July 26, 2012
  10. Stephen 4 AG, "About," accessed February 12, 2012 (dead link)
  11. The News Tribune, "Our primary choices for attorney general, auditor," July 10, 2012
  12. The Seattle Times, "The Times endorses Reagan Dunn for state attorney general," July 21, 2012
  13. Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal, "Association of Wash. Business endorses McKenna, Dunn and McIntire," June 18, 2012
  14. Reagan Dunn for Attorney General, "Endorsements," accessed July 23, 2012
  15. Bob Ferguson for Attorney General, "Endorsements,"accessed June 29, 2012
  16. Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, "2012 Full Reporting Schedule," accessed July 19, 2012
  17. Washington Public Disclosure Commission, "Reagan Dunn reports," accessed September 11, 2012
  18. Washington Public Disclosure Commission, "Bob Ferguson reports," accessed September 11, 2012
  19. Washington Public Disclosure Commission, "Stephen Pidgeon reports," accessed September 11, 2012