Washington gubernatorial race comes to a close

Jay+Inslee+speaks+to+a+group+of+high+school+students+about+his+solutions+to+various+issues%2C+including+the+lack+of+diversity+in+school+curriculum%2C+subpar+mental+health+treatment+for+youth%2C+and+racial+disparities+in+school+punishments.++Photo+taken+Oct.+25%2C+2020+via+Zoom.+Photo+by+Kellen+Hoard.%0A

Kellen Hoard

Jay Inslee speaks to a group of high school students about his solutions to various issues, including the lack of diversity in school curriculum, subpar mental health treatment for youth, and racial disparities in school punishments. Photo taken Oct. 25, 2020 via Zoom. Photo by Kellen Hoard.

Kellen Hoard, Opinion Editor

As the November election nears, the race for Washington State governor remains in high gear.  Incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee is running for a third term, and Republican challenger Loren Culp, a police chief from Republic, Washington, is hoping to unseat him.  Both spent the final days before Nov. 3 campaigning around the state.  Inslee has appeared alongside candidates in smaller races such as Jamila Taylor, who is running for 30th Legislative District Representative, and T’Wina Nobles, who is hoping to unseat incumbent Steve O’Ban in the race for 28th LD Senator.  Meanwhile, in the last two weeks, Culp has held “Victory Protest” rallies for supporters in several cities across Washington, such as Graham, Camas, Kennewick, Pullman and Gig Harbor.

Over the course of their campaigns, both candidates have laid out their visions for Washington that stand in stark contrast to each other. One of many areas of divergence is COVID-19. Inslee has defended his decision earlier this year to issue a stay-at-home order, ban gatherings and implement a mask mandate, whereas Culp has argued it is not within the governor’s capacity to impose such restrictions and has continued to hold maskless, non-socially distanced rallies throughout his campaign.  

Both candidates have also shared their visions on how methods for education funding could be improved.

“We need to increase our special education funding,” Inslee said, in an interview with the Legislative Youth Advisory Council on Oct. 28. “We have students who, I believe, have not had adequate funding for our local districts and for the children who need special education. These are kids with tremendous potential if we give it[sic] a shot.”

Meanwhile, Culp says on his website that he opposes the prototypical school model, which determines state funding for nurses, counselors, custodians and more. 

“This budget model was developed by education bureaucrats from the Puget Sound area,” he says. “I’m open to the reform arguments but, at this point, I lean more to the throw-it-out-and-replace-it side of the debate.”

Recent polls have consistently shown Inslee with a solid lead over Culp.  SurveyUSA found on Oct. 12 that the incumbent had a 14 point lead, while Public Policy Polling found on Oct. 20 that the gap was 16 points.