Councilman Reagan Dunn enters race for state attorney general

June 21, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Reagan Dunn, a local representative on the King County Council and a former federal prosecutor, entered the race June 14 for state attorney general.

Reagan Dunn

In a long-expected campaign announcement, Dunn, a Republican, referenced his experience at the U.S. Department of Justice as a key asset in the race, and rolled out a series of high-profile endorsements.

“I am running for attorney general because I am concerned about the overall direction of Washington state government and I believe we can do much better,” he said in a statement. “While Rob McKenna has done a very fine job as our AG, much more still needs to be done. Our state faces significant challenges, including high unemployment, an unfavorable business climate for job creation and crime levels that are unacceptable.”

Dunn is seeking to succeed Attorney General Rob McKenna, the leading Republican in the 2012 race for governor. McKenna launched a bid for the Governor’s Mansion on June 8. Incumbent Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, is not seeking a third term; Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee is expected to run.

On the County Council, Dunn represents unincorporated communities just south of Issaquah city limits, plus Newcastle and parts of Bellevue and Renton.

Fellow County Councilman Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, is also running for attorney general. Democrat John Ladenburg, a former Pierce County executive, is in the race, too.

Ferguson confronted Dunn on council business after the Republican entered the race.

“I noticed that his four-minute announcement video focused exclusively on law and order — yet, he has consistently voted against funding for sheriff deputies, courts and criminal justice agencies here in King County,” Ferguson said in a statement. “He also never mentioned ‘consumer protection’ in his video. As attorney general, I will make protecting Washington consumers a priority, especially as families struggle through this recession.”

In 2005, council members appointed Dunn as McKenna’s replacement after McKenna resigned to become attorney general. Before the appointment, Dunn served as a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida and the District of Columbia, prosecuting narcotics cases and other street crimes.

Following the stints on the East Coast, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, prosecuting crimes, such as narcotics manufacturing, child pornography, Internet crimes, bank fraud and weapons violations.

In Seattle, Dunn also served in the Terrorism and Violent Crime Unit and as the coordinator of the Firearm Crime Enforcement Coalition of Western Washington, a multiagency law enforcement effort to reduce gun-related violent crime.

Dunn’s mother, the late Jennifer Dunn, represented Issaquah and the 8th Congressional District in Washington, D.C., for 12 years.

On June 14, the candidate announced endorsements from McKenna, former state Attorney General Ken Eikenberry, and former U.S. attorneys Mike McKay, John McKay, Jim McDevitt, Bill Hyslop and Jeffrey Sullivan, a Sammamish resident.

“Reagan Dunn brings an ideal balance of criminal and civil experience as a candidate for attorney general,” McKenna said in a statement. “His work leading the U.S. Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, his service as a federal prosecutor and his two terms on the King County Council make him eminently qualified to be attorney general, and I wholeheartedly endorse him.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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