State Sen. Phil Fortunato
State Sen. Phil Fortunato (Photo: Washington State Legislature)
 

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Republican Sen. Phil Fortunato has announced his bid for governor.

The Seattle Times reports that Fortunato plans to make a formal announcement in Seattle Wednesday.

He's the first prominent Republican to announce for the 2020 contest. Fortunato, 65, was elected to the Senate in 2017 after serving in the House. He is an outspoken conservative voice both on the Senate floor and at pro-gun rallies.

Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic in eastern Washington, has also announced a GOP bid for governor. Another Republican candidate, Anton Sakharov, has also filed to raise money for the race.

On the Democratic side, Inslee, who is waging a long-shot bid for president, has not ruled out running for a third term. Awaiting Inslee's decision are at least three Democrats who have signaled interest: Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

A Republican has not occupied the governor's office in more than three decades.

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