You are going to need a scorecard and an eraser to keep track of the names running for state office this year, as changes keep coming.
Democratic U.S. Senator Patty Murray has raised significantly more money than Republican opponent Chris Vance. Since her first election, Murray has never been great in ratings, but she still leads Vance by double digits. However, her ability to campaign, raise money and turn out the vote and win has been impressive. Vance has not been politically visible for several years. He is a former State Representative, County Council member and was Chair of the state Republican party from 2001-2006. He lives next door in Auburn. Murray: easy front runner. Up hill battle for Vance.
Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant (R) has been running for Governor for several months and has the endorsement of most of the big names. Senators Andy Hill (R-Kirkland) and Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island) along with Congressman Dave Reichert, (R-Auburn) considered the race but backed off. Reichart was smart in his decision, why give up a safe seat for a likely loss? Hill and Litzow can wait and re-evaluate in 2020. Although the field could be different by then. If Bryant wins then Hill and Litzow would have to defer to him. In that case, assuming Attorney General Bob Ferguson is re-elected, he or possibly King County Executive Dow Constantine would represent the Democrats against Bryant. So far Ferguson has raised almost a million dollars and has no challenger, but Republicans are still hopeful for an opponent and will try and tie him to the corrections early release problem. Inslee has raised $4 million to Bryant’s $890,000. and despite the corrections issue still looks strong. With Vance challenging Murray that helps Inslee even more. Front runner: Inslee.
Also, watch Republican Senator Joe Fain (R-Auburn), in four years.
The Congressional race to watch will be an intramural battle of Democrats to replace retiring Congressman Jim McDermott in Seattle. The rest of the delegation favors the incumbent’s re-election.
Brad Owen is not running for re-election as Lt. Governor, and at least three candidates are interested. New Democratic State Senator, Cyrus Habib, is considered a rising star, and also very ambitious. Habib lost his eyesight to cancer as a child. He has raised $326,871 already. Longtime State Senator Karen Fraser, (D- Olympia), has 27 years in the legislature knows the job and is well liked in Olympia. She has raised $89,655. Javier Figueroa, Council member (R- University Place) is not well known and has raised only $24,616. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland was rumored to be interested but has not raised any money.
In addition to Ferguson, other statewide office holders without serious opposition at this time are: Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark (D) who has has raised $154,499, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler (D) who has raised $48,624 and State Treasurer Jim McIntyre (D).
Incumbent State Auditor Troy Kelley (D) has legal problems and isn’t running. Local 30th District State Senator Mark Meloscia (R-Federal Way) is running for the seat. Miloscia ran four years ago as a Democrat and lost in the primary. Since he ran before he has experience and the field won’t be as deep. But can a Republican win state wide? Rep. Derek Stanford (D- Kirkland) was thought to be interested, but he is raising money for re-election to his house seat. Seattle Attorney Jeff Sprung has raised $34,775 to Miloscia’s $41,000. This one will be interesting to follow.
Kim Wyman (R-Olympia) is the incumbent Secretary of State and the only woman Republican to hold any statewide office on the west coast. She has raised $116,903 and is a former county auditor so she knows how to run elections. She will be challenged by former Seattle City Council member Tina Podelowski. Podelowski is a democrat and has not held public office for a long time and only announced her candidacy last week. Wyman will not be easy to beat. While republicans have had a hard time winning statewide, they have held the Secretary of State’s Office for many years with moderate former County Auditors such as Ralph Monroe and Sam Reed. Wyman has the same pedigree. Wyman would be a natural to run for Governor at some time in the future.
Superintendent of Public Instruction is considered non-partisan, and incumbent Randy Dorn is stepping down. Two legislators, Chris Reykdahl and Larry Seaquist, both democrats are running. Reykdahl has raised $82,114 and Seaquist has raised $125,000. Also in the running is Erin Jones who previously worked in the Federal Way school district has raised $26,757.
Governor, Lt. Governor, Auditor,and Superintendent of Public Instruction are the races to watch. At this point the democrats look stronger in the statewide races.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn: email@example.com