College student takes on governor race

Candidate hopes to engage young adults in voting, represent eastern Washington with legislation



Dylan Nails, Washington governor candidate, grew up in Colfax and said he would to use his perspective on eastern Washington to inform legislation.


Dylan Nails hopes to use his youth to bring a fresh perspective during his run for Washington state governor. 

Nails’ desire to run for governor sparked when he picked up a local paper outside of his hometown, Colfax. He said he saw protest coverage on the eastern side of Washington. 

“Obviously some people aren’t feeling heard, so I do want to be a voice for eastern Washington as much as western Washington,” Nails said. 

Nails, junior at Northwest Nazarene University, grew up in Colfax. He is now running for governor in the 2020 election against 15 other candidates, he said.

“Dylan is a very charismatic person. He’s a very outgoing guy. He’s got a big personality, I think is what a lot of people would say about him,” Nails’ Campaign Manager Chase Baerlocher said.

As a 20-year-old, Nails’ goals include promoting involvement from young people to get more engaged in politics, as well as encouraging all of Washington to be heard. He said bringing both sides of Washington to the table is his number one goal. 

“The legislation put in place should have really been put on a case-by-case basis, I know eventually [multiple counties were able to] move on in phases,” Nails said. “[But] just in my small community in the east, there were businesses going under, and small businesses are very important to me.” 

In Seattle, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest Movement has created controversy, Nails said. Immediately following this movement, he said he would have gotten representatives from CHOP to ask them what they would like to see accomplished as far as legislation. 

“I don’t think Washingtonians should ever vandalize Washington,” he said. “This is our home.”

Nails said some of the changes he supports in regard to reforming the police would be establishing mandatory courses on topics, such as de-escalation, mental health and coping. 

“The main part of a politician should be stepping back and representing the people,” Nails said. “Not opening your mouth right away and actually being a listening governor, rather than a speaking governor.”

Nails served as Associated Student Body president for two years at his local high school, and became a representative for the student hall organization in college. He also sang in the choir and has engaged in a variety of different volunteer opportunities. 

In Nails’s free time, people will find him outdoors exploring the Pacific Northwest, hiking, skiing and practicing videography. 

Running for governor at this age gives him the opportunity to provide insight on different political events as someone with a fresher perspective, Nails said. 

“I think probably the most important thing that Dylan would bring to the table is a kind of awareness that younger people can and should be involved in our state politics,” Baerlocher said.