SEATTLE (AP) — Democrat Bob Ferguson will become Washington’s next attorney general.
He defeated fellow King County Councilman Reagan Dunn, a Republican. The latest returns Wednesday evening continued to show Ferguson maintaining a lead statewide, including a healthy margin of victory in King County, home to the largest concentration of state voters.
During the campaign, which was marked by a torrent of negative ads paid for by outside interest groups, Ferguson said he’d work on public safety, consumer fraud and environmental issues if elected.
Ferguson has been a King County councilman since 2003, and worked as clerk for a federal appellate court judge before joining the Seattle law firm of Preston Gates and Ellis, which is now K&L Gates. In private practice he worked to shield taxpayers from cost overruns from Safeco Field construction, and challenged the constitutionality of some of initiative promoter Tim Eyman’s measures.
Dunn, son of the late Republican U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn, has served on the King County Council since 2005. He stressed his experience as a federal prosecutor and had clashed with Ferguson over the attorney general’s role. Dunn emphasized the criminal justice aspects of the office, while Ferguson touted civil litigation.
The attorney general oversees more than 1,100 people, including 525 attorneys. A top priority is enforcing consumer protection laws and representing customers in lawsuits against companies.
The office’s attorneys also represent Washington in all legal cases involving state interests. They provide legal opinions to public officials and can investigate and prosecute criminal activity at the request of the governor or a county prosecutor.
The incumbent, Republican Rob McKenna, was his party’s gubernatorial candidate.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.