Washington is a blue state — so blue that the Democrats are starting to challenge each other from the left.
Part of that may be because the Republicans have moved farther to the right under President Donald Trump. In the primary race for lieutenant governor, Democrats Denny Heck at 26% and Marko Liias at 17% ran first and second, respectively. The strongest Republican in that race was Ann Davison Sattler at 11%. Liias is considered more progressive than Heck.
In the primary race for the 8th Congressional District seat that Heck vacated, three strong Democratic women took the top three spots: Marilyn Strickland, Beth Doglio and Kristine Reeves.
Congressional Democratic incumbents Rick Larsen and Derek Kilmer were both being challenged from the left. And in the state Senate race in the 5th Legislative District, incumbent Mark Mullet is at 47% while fellow Democratic challenger Ingrid Anderson is at 48 %. In District 11, position 2, incumbent Zack Hudgins is at 35% and is trailing Democrat David Hackney at 43%.
As predicted, the primary was big for Democrats. The only Republican who looks strong headed into November is Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who polled at 51%. The other incumbent Republican, State Treasurer Duane Davidson, was trailing Democratic State Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, 46% to 54%.
If a candidate breaks 50% coming out of the primary, statistically they will be hard to beat. And though incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee is at 49.9%, Republican votes in the primary only totaled 45%.
Republican attempts to run a moderate such as Raul Garcia against Inslee proved too little, too late — though they were not thwarted by Tim Eyman, as feared, but by Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic who took only 17% of the vote among 36 candidates in the field. Culp has a significant amount of money, but has said he will not support voter-approved gun laws and may be too conservative for westside moderate voters that would be needed to run a competitive race with Inslee.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson at 55% led a group of winning Democrats including Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz at 50.5% and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler at 58%.
However, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal may have a real challenge as he slipped to 40.5% and his five challengers had a combined total of 59%, with challenger Maia Espinoza at 25% his likely November opponent. State Auditor Pat McCarthy was at 47.8%, but a primary Democrat took 11%, which should all come back to McCarthy in November.
As expected, most Congressional incumbents fared well no matter the party affiliation. The race to watch is in District 8, which was a Republican stronghold for years held by Dave Reichert until it was flipped into the Democratic column two years ago by Kim Schrier. Schrier is at 43%, but three Republicans led by Jesse Jensen at almost 20% combined for 49% of the primary vote.
In legislative races, two open seats in the 30th District in Federal Way are the prizes that await the November winners. Democrat Jamila Taylor won nearly 44% of the primary votes in the four-person field and will face independent Republican Martin Moore, who took 27%. However, watch this race as Republican Janis Clark held 17% of the vote that will go to Moore in November. But will Taylor inherit fellow Democrat Cheryl Hurst’s 12%?
In the other race for District 30, appointed Democratic incumbent Jesse Johnson took a commanding lead at 57% over Republican businessman Jack Walsh at 33% in the four-person field, with the three Republicans only drawing nearly 43%.
In Auburn, the race to watch is position 2 in the 31st District. Not because it was expected to be close, but to see if the Seattle Times endorsement of Democrat Thomas Clark over former legislator Eric Robertson because of a racial incident when Robertson was in the Legislature several years ago would have an impact in the Republican district. Clark took 34% of the vote and Robertson held 37% of the vote. However, in what may have been a message to Robertson, Republican Jerimy Kirschner took 29% of the vote. Those votes will likely come back to Robertson in November.
As expected in the 47th District, Democratic State Rep. Debra Entenman held a 57% to 43% lead over Republican Kyle Lyebyedyev in their test run for position 1 in November. Democrat Pat Sullivan at 56% bested three challengers and will face Republican Ted Cooke at 30% in November for position 2.
Voters, do your homework.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact email@example.com.