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Republican Sen. Phil Fortunato running for Washington governor

Outspoken state Senator Phil Fortunato announced his bid for Washington state governor, saying the 'timing is right.'

Editor's note: The above video is of Sen. Fortunato speaking about his letter to Gov. Inslee over campaign activities.

Washington state Sen. Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn) announced his candidacy for governor. 

When announcing his bid on Monday, Fortunato said the "timing is right for a change in the state." There has been "executive mismanagement" under the Democratic administration and "unchecked Democratic majorities that have bloated the state's budget to unsustainable levels." 

Fortunato says the state's economy is strong, despite the current leadership. 

“We are constantly managing crises; whether it’s education, mental health or housing and the only solutions we hear from the political establishment is that we need more money from those that can least afford it," Fortunato said in a written statement. "The state can provide the needed resources for mental health treatment, reestablish law and order, and create housing solutions. I want to be a partner in that work, and help restore the glimmer of the Emerald City. 

"The current administration and one-party control isn’t delivering results that people in Washington deserve. We cannot afford the status quo.”

A formal announcement from Fortunato is expected Wednesday. 

Fortunato, 65, was elected to the Senate in 2017. He previously served in the House. 

The senator has been a staunch critic of Gov. Jay Inslee as he campaigns for president. In March, Fortunato sent Inslee a letter urging him to stop using stage funds for campaign activities. In his letter, Fortunato asks Inslee to reimburse Washington State Patrol for all past and future costs related to the campaign and take a salary reduction to compensate for the increased costs of the lieutenant governor filling in as governor.  

Fortunato joins the list of people eyeing the state's gubernatorial position. Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic who received national attention for voicing his opposition to the state's tougher gun laws, announced his candidacy. Republican Anton Sakharov has also filed. 

Meanwhile, Gov. Inslee has not ruled out running for a third term. Three high-profile Democrats – Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and King County Executive Dow Constantine – have expressed interest in running depending on the outcome of the presidential election. 

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