Opinion

Legislature races to watch in District 30 and beyond | Bob Roegner

The primary is just around the corner on Aug. 17. Most of you probably already have your ballots.

This week, we'll take a look at some of the legislative races you may want to watch.

The big race here is for state representative position 2, which is being vacated by Skip Priest, who is running for mayor of Federal Way.

This 30th District House seat has attracted five candidates. Four are Republicans: Jerry Galland, who was active in the "no" campaign on annexation to Federal Way; Milton Mayor Katrina Asay; Federal Way School Board member Ed Barney; and former legislative candidate Anthony Kalchik. They are joined by Democrat Carol Gregory, who ran against Priest two years ago.

On what have become partisan issues such as abortion, the Arizona immigration law, state liquor business and the state economy, the Republicans have stayed with their party position. All favor pro-life, some form of immigration law, getting the state out of the liquor business, helping the private sector and wanting smaller government. Asay broke ranks a little when she acknowledged that there might be a time to consider taxes. Gregory has stayed with the Democratic viewpoint and is pro-choice, and is opposed to the state getting out of the liquor business. She also opposes the Arizona law. However, she advocates for helping businesses.

But the question is, who will win?

Asay has received the endorsement of the Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune and Federal Way Mirror. The Municipal League — a non-partisan good government group that rates knowledge, character, effectiveness and involvement — gave her its second highest rating of "very good."

The Municipal League rated Kalchik as "good," Barney as "adequate" and Galland as "not qualified."

As a local mayor, Asay has had to be responsible for budgets. While not a polished campaigner, she comes across very well in public settings.

Kalchik, Barney and Galland are just as committed to working hard and improving state government. But if Asay can overcome a name identification issue in the heart of the district, Federal Way, she appears the most likely to advance to the general election in Washington's top-two format.

As the only Democrat, Gregory will almost certainly make it to the November final. Having run for the Legislature recently, and having experience in state government, Gregory understands the Legislature. Gregory also got endorsements from the Tacoma News Tribune and Federal Way Mirror, and received an "outstanding" rating from the Municipal League.

Conventional wisdom says it will be Katrina Asay and Carol Gregory in November.

Elsewhere, you might want to watch the 31st District race, where longtime incumbent State Sen. Pam Roach may have her hands full. Not only has she received a lot of bad publicity recently, but all her primary opponents got higher Municipal League ratings. Federal Way police officer Raymond Bunk, running as a Democrat, received a "very good" rating, while both Ron Weigelt and Matt Richardson received "good" ratings.

Roach received an "adequate." Roach will likely advance to November, as the Democrats will split the vote. She'll face either Bunk or Weigelt, who has run before and is well known.

Over in the 47th District, which is the Auburn area, incumbent House member Geoff Simpson, a Democrat, could be in trouble. He has had several highly publicized issues with his ex-wife, and he is considered vulnerable. The latest allegation of assault may have contributed to his Municipal League rating of "adequate." Simpson denies the charge.

Auburn Chamber of Commerce leader Nancy Wyatt received a "very good," and though she will split votes with fellow Republican Mark Hargrove, she seems most likely to advance to November. Hargrove received a "good" rating, and there is some thought he could advance as well, given the top-two format. Watch the voting in this one — it will give a good indication of November.

You may have forgotten, but there is also King County Executive Dow Constantine's old West Seattle Council seat up for election. Democratic State Sen. Joe McDermott should win easily against three challengers.

Could a Republican ever have a chance in West Seattle? Not in our lifetime.

Vote wisely and watch these races. They will give some clues about how voters feel.

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