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Hilary Franz ends campaign for WA governor, now running for Congress

caption: Hilary Franz's campaign photo for her 2024 gubernatorial campaign, which began in May 2023, and ended in November when she switched to running for Washington's 6th Congressional District.
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Hilary Franz's campaign photo for her 2024 gubernatorial campaign, which began in May 2023, and ended in November when she switched to running for Washington's 6th Congressional District.
Courtesy of Hilary Franz

Hilary Franz dropped out of one campaign and jumped into another Friday. Franz ended her bid for Washington state governor, and is now running to represent the state's 6th Congressional District.

RELATED: WA Congressmember Derek Kilmer won't run for re-election in 2024

"Over the last few months, I’ve talked to voters in every corner of Washington and heard the same concerns — rising prices for necessities like housing pushing families out of the middle class, protecting reproductive freedom and women’s rights, safeguarding our democracy, supporting our veterans and military families, and the climate crisis bearing down on us,” Franz said in a statement. “The challenges we face extend beyond the borders of Washington, and so must our solutions. I am running for Congress to bring my vision for bold, transformative action to our nation’s capital and keep fighting for families across our region.”

Franz's announcement to run for Congress comes a day after Congressmember Derek Kilmer announced he is not running for re-election in the 6th District, which covers the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas, as well as Tacoma. Franz lives in Grays Harbor County. Her congressional campaign announcement comes with an endorsement from Kilmer.

RELATED: No, it's not weird that so many people are running for WA lands commissioner

“As lands and wildfire chief, Hilary Franz has proven herself to be a bold, strategic leader with a track record of bringing people together from across the state and from different backgrounds to find solutions to our shared problems,” Kilmer said in a statement. “She’s been a leader in the fight against climate change and a champion for Washington’s working families, including throughout the 6th Congressional District. In a time when catastrophic climate events are happening with more frequency, our nation needs Hilary’s experience in Congress, and Washington needs her leadership.”

Franz has been Washington's Public Lands Commissioner since 2017, and has largely been known for her work addressing the state's severe wildfires during that time. In May, she announced her run for Washington governor. The gubernatorial race has only gotten more crowded since then, with Democrats Attorney General Bob Ferguson and state Sen. Mark Mullet joining the race, as well as former Republican Congressmember Dave Reichert. Franz's exit from the gubernatorial competition means Democratic votes will likely be less split in that primary.

RELATED: Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands, on wildfires and forestry

Shortly after the Friday announcement, Republican state Rep. Jim Walsh of Aberdeen said the state's GOP will mount competition in the 6th District, while slightly mocking Franz's "epic" mantra that she often uses in her campaigns.

That same day, Republican Washington State Senator Drew MacEwan announced he is forming an exploratory committee for a potential run to represent the 6th Congressional District. MacEwan currently represents the state's 35th Legislative District, which covers Mason County, and parts of Kitsap and Thurston counties.

Franz's campaign announcement Friday also touts endorsements from a range of Washington elected officials, such as: Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards; Kitsap County Commissioner Christine Rolfes; Tacoma Port Commissioner Kristin Ang; state Rep. Mike Chapman; Tacoma City Councilmember Olgy Diaz; Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson; Pierce County Councilmember Ryan Mello; Aberdeen Mayor Pete Schave; and Poulsbo City Councilmember Ed Stern. Congressmember Kilmer also endorsed Franz's run for governor.

On Monday morning, retired Congressmember Norm Dicks endorsed Franz for the 6th District.

Norm Dicks Endorses Hilary Franz for 6th Congressional District. Dicks represented the district from from 1977 to 2013, when Kilmer took over the position.

Washington's 6th Congressional District has been represented by a Democrat since 1965. A Republican has been elected to Congress in the district once since it was formed in the 1930s — Thor Tollefson, who served from 1947 to 1965.

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