2020 Washington State Gubernatorial Election Guide

Washington State Governor's Mansion | Photo credit Gridge under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The 2020 Washington State gubernatorial election provides voters an opportunity to voice their opinion on how a wide range of issues will be handled going forward. The two major party candidates represent very different approaches to these issues. Let’s examine the position of each of these candidates on some of the issues that are sure to decide the choice of a large number of voters.

Jay Inslee

Jay Inslee, a Democrat, is the incumbent candidate and is currently serving his second term as the governor of the state of Washington. Inslee had campaigned in 2019 for the nomination as the Democratic candidate for the 2020 general presidential election, running on a platform largely focused around environmental conservation and climate change. After failing to gain traction in early polling, Inslee dropped out of the race and committed to running for a third term as governor. Inslee drew national attention in March of 2020 through an aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, enacting one of the first statewide shutdowns in the nation and has continued that aggressive stance as the health crisis has continued. Governor Inslee has campaigned for progressive social reforms, including enacting bans and limitations on certain firearms, increased police accountability and worker protections such as expanded Family Medical Leave. Inslee’s website restates his commitment to taking aggressive action against the contributing factors of climate change, as well as being a strong proponent of the availability of affordable health care to all Washington residents. Inslee practiced law for 10 years before holding various political offices in the state House of Representatives as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.

Loren Culp

Loren Culp, a Republican, is the current Chief of Police in Republic, Washington. Culp has campaigned on a populist platform, positioning himself as an alternative to career politicians that he feels have run the state for too long. The Culp campaign has cited many elements of Inslee’s leadership as examples of government overreach, including issues regarding COVID protocols, gun control, taxation, and environmental protection. The Republican’s position on COVID is one of education, believing that the government should supply information to the public but allow the public to decide how to best use that information to protect themselves. Meanwhile, Culp directly contrasts this approach to Inslee’s, citing statewide mandates and bans limiting personal freedoms as an abuse of the authority of the office of governor. Culp rose to prominence by refusing to enforce gun control laws which he believes to be an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment rights of Americans and has campaigned on a platform that will protect those rights. According to his website, Culp believes that excessive government spending has led to unnecessary tax increases and believes that reigning in spending will eliminate much of the tax burden of Washington residents. Additionally, this candidate has argued the Washington Department of Ecology (a statewide agency that serves a similar function to the federal Environmental Protection Agency) has been mismanaged by lawyers who run the department, suggesting that it should instead be led by scientists.

Each of these candidates provides very different approaches to these issues. A vote for Inslee essentially supports a continuation of many of the current policies in place in Washington, whereas a vote for Culp is a call for change. Each of these candidates provides further positions on a wider range of topics on their respective websites, which have been linked above.