But only one – Shahram Hadian of Mill Creek – is running a visible campaign against the frontrunners, fellow Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee.
Hadian, a tea party-backed candidate, is raising funds, building a campaign network and campaigning – insisting that he can beat McKenna in the Aug. 7 primary with a grassroots army that likes his less pragmatic and more idealistic message.
“I truly believe our state and national are in crisis,” said Hadian, a native of Iran who moved to the United States as a child, converted to Christianity from Islam, and is now a pastor in Everett. “I believe we need courageous leaders who are willing to tackle root issues. I don’t see that in our party and leaders. They only want to tackle what is safe.”
“We’re going to come through the primary and be the Republican candidate for governor,” McKenna counters. “That’s pretty clear.”
Hadian has won endorsements from several hard-right members of the Legislature including Rep. Jim McCune, R-Graham, and says he is preparing to win the primary and to govern the state. He chafes at his exclusion from the June debate organized by the Association of Washington Business, which backs McKenna, and complains that news reports often lump him in with the six other also-rans.
Like McKenna, Hadian does not support the same-sex marriage referendum on the ballot. Unlike McKenna, he favors a complete repeal of the federal health care law and would undo the health insurance exchange that the Legislature authorized.
He also calls collective bargaining a privilege rather than a right and favors “right to work” legislation that lets workers refuse to join unions in unionized workplaces. He wants to limit unions’ influence in schools and opposes putting more money into K-12 public schools until the state addresses the breakdown of families and what he considers moral issues.
“Unless you get more of our communities and churches in the schools … I don’t think you will ever solve the problems in education,” Hadian said, adding that he likes what Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is doing on charter schools and public-paid vouchers for attending private religious schools.
The candidate also opposes any tax increases and says he agrees with McKenna on deregulating business. Hadian says he wants to gut the Department of Ecology’s regulations.
He is joined in his underdog bid by:
• Rob Hill, a Shoreline property manager, who said he is running only to publicize the idea of slapping a $10-per-pack tax on cigarettes. He admits the best he can do is get a little attention for his cause.
Hill said his father died in the mid-1990s of smoking-related lung programs, and he believes the only way to end use of tobacco use is by making it economically impossible for tobacco companies to function. He says he intends to work with municipal activists after the election to pass local ordinances that ban the sale of tobacco products.
“I don’t dislike smokers; I just hate the product,” Hill said. “If someone can help me push the rock up the hill, then great.”
• James White, a former state corrections officer and Independent from Marysville, who is running for the second time. He makes his living as an inspector of airplanes for Boeing and ran unsuccessfully in 2008. But he expects to do better this time because “my name is out there a little bit more.”
White said he serves as a child and family advocate and is running because he sees rights being violated in family courts. Specifically, he said, Second Amendment rights are violated by courts that issue protection orders barring possession of weapons, without proof any crime has been committed.
• Max Sampson, who lost his 19-year-old son in a police shooting near Enumclaw in March last year. Sampson said he tried to get help from President Obama, the FBI, the Department of Justice and others to prosecute King County sheriff’s officers, whom he accuses of excessive force.
“I need to run to change things,” Sampson said.
• L. Dale Sorgen, a computer programmer and pastor from Sultan, who is running as an independent advocating “The Liberty Campaign.” Sorgen has a website at imagineliberty.us where he spells out his ideas.
• Others in the race include another perennial candidate, Javier O. Lopez of Thurston County, who is running as a Republican but says his candidacy is intended to help elect a Democrat. Christian Joubert, a former law professor and naturopath from Edmonds who also ran for governor in 2008, is advocating help for a “holistic health care system” and help for “organic agriculture, wellness & hemp industries.”