Tuesday was the state’s primary election. Washington is an entirely mail-in ballot state – so the counting will continue for some time. There are an estimated 350,000 ballots left to count. The election will be certified by the Secretary of State on August 19. The goal of the primary is to whittle down the field to the top two candidates – regardless of party – so you could have a D running against a D and an R running against an R – whoever gets the top two most votes.
The early results show some interesting trends. Starting at the top of the ticket, U.S. Senate – incumbent Patty Murray faced 17 challengers. Of the 1,033,245 votes counted at the time of this writing – Murray received 557,978 – or 54%. The second highest vote-getter was Tiffany Smiley, with 330,176 – or 32%.
Of our 10 Congressional seats, most districts are likely to re-elect their incumbents. In the 3rd, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Beutler is narrowly ahead of challenger Joe Kent, and in the 4th, Congressman Dan Newhouse is ahead of his challenger, former Gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp. The most competitive race is probably in the 8th District, where Congresswoman Kim Schrier will face either Reagan Dunn or Matt Larkin – currently with 970 votes separating them.
On the State Legislative front, of the 49 Districts, only a handful are in play. The top races to watch are District 10 – Whidbey Island, where incumbent Greg Gilday is trailing challenger Clyde Shavers. In District 18 – LaCenter, Battle Ground, open House seat, John Zingale has 49.3%, and Stephanie McClintock has 50.5%. In District 26 – Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, Spencer Hutchins has 48.5%, and Adison Richards 51.86%. District 42 – Bellingham, Blaine, Lynden, Senate incumbent Simon Sefzik vs. House seatmate challenger Sharon Shewmake, and House position 1 incumbent Alicia Rule vs. Tawsha Dykstra Thompson.
Why are the Legislative elections important? The party with the majority in the House and Senate gets to select the leadership and, very importantly, appoint the chairs of the committees where all bills are debated and decided. Essentially, the party in control – runs the show.
The General Election is November 8. Ballots will be sent to voters several weeks before that. I want to encourage you to register to vote if you are not and study the candidates and make informed decisions. Also, I want to commend and thank all of the candidates who were willing to put their names on the ballot, work hard and make sacrifices in an effort to improve their communities and our state. WR looks forward to meeting the candidates running for office and eventually working with the winners.