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Attorney-general candidates take gloves off in debate; Jay Inslee, Rob McKenna up next

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on June 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
January 28, 2013 6:30 pm

The first debate of the gubernatorial campaign starts at 3:30 p.m. It airs live on TVW and at tvw.org — and if you tune in now, you can catch highlights of the undercard.

Don’t be surprised if it’s more exciting than the main event. The attorney general candidates, Democrat Bob Ferguson and Republican Reagan Dunn, sparred in Spokane over their resumes, their toughness and their record on the King County Council.

Former trial lawyer Ferguson touts his experience in civil law, which lines up with an attorney general’s duties. Dunn points to his heftier overall legal resume, which includes work as a federal prosecutor. He says he has logged more courtroom time on both criminal and civil cases.

Dunn, who worked on violent crime and terrorism cases and has taken a tough-on-crime stance, says he had “legitimate death threats” while in the federal government.

Ferguson, meanwhile, said he would be tough on corporations. He pledged to go after any price gouging by oil companies, for example. Dunn says he would be tougher on illegal immigration, saying Ferguson helped make King County an “amnesty county.”

Moderator Austin Jenkins asked the candidates if they would push for moving sexually violent predators locked up at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island to the mainland. Ferguson said he would look at what’s most efficient, while Dunn supported the status quo, saying it’s a “long swim to the mainland.”

The candidates repeatedly attacked each others’ backgrounds and positions.  Dunn said Ferguson voted to raise taxes 18 times while Ferguson accused Dunn of missing too many votes on the council.

It got personal, too, when Ferguson brought up what he said was a criminal conviction in Dunn’s past. Dunn dismissed it, saying he was just 17 and doing “doughnuts” in a snowy parking lot.

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.: Dunn said he was 17 at the time of the incident.

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