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Republican Yakima doctor enters 2024 Washington governor’s race

caption: Raul Garcia is a candidate in the 2024 race for Washington state governor.
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Raul Garcia is a candidate in the 2024 race for Washington state governor.
Courtesy of Raul Garcia

Dr. Raul Garcia of Yakima has entered the race for Washington governor in 2024.

"My family and I are honored to announce my candidacy to become the next governor of Washington," Garcia said in a statement. "I am here to bring health to our state, to bring present, effective, and efficient leadership, and to create a government by the people of different walks of life and united by one common goal, to restore the safe and prosperous lives of our Washington families."

According to a press statement from Garcia's campaign:

"Growing up in an authoritarian regime gave Raul the passion and appreciation for public service. He realizes Washington needs fresh leadership to revitalize our state. He founded Opportunity for Washington as a non profit, nonpartisan effort promoting education and change. He also founded the Partnership for Food Security in 2020 to promote vaccination, particularly among the Latino community. His desire to educate and change people’s attitude towards the positive future of this great state and our great country continues every day."

Garcia was born in Cuba. He lived in Madrid, Spain, before moving to Miami at the age of 11. In Washington state, he has worked as a trauma and emergency medicine physician. He is currently the medical director of Toppenish Hospital. Garcia lives in Yakima with his wife Jessica and five children.

Garcia's name may sound familiar to Washington voters, as this is not his first time running for governor. Garcia ran in the 2020 primary for governor and came in fifth in the primary election with 5.4% of the vote. In that primary, Garcia was beat by Tim Eyman (6.4%) and Joshua Freed (8.9%). Republican Loren Culp ultimately advanced from the primary with 17.4% of the vote.

Garcia previously ran as a moderate alternative to more extreme candidates on the 2020 ballot. Despite coming in fifth in the primary, Garcia received endorsements from moderate Republicans such as former Attorney General Rob McKenna, former Sen. Slade Gorton, and former Gov. Dan Evans. During the 2020 race, he also faced criticism for his lack of voting since 2012 (he said he was previously discouraged by Republican losses in the state), and a DUI incident from 2014 (he said he had not slept for 70 hours at the time but acknowledged his mistake).

More recently, Garcia objected to the state's handling of the pandemic, saying that Washington was using "political science" instead of science to make decisions. In 2021, he called for the state to reopen.

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