The primary election is next week and ballots began arriving two weeks ago.
For governor alone, there are 36 candidates. With that many options, it strengthens incumbent Jay Inslee’s chances of being re-elected because his name will be among only a few that voters will recognize. But this is a blue state — the fun is trying to figure out who will advance to the general election to oppose Inslee.
In an earlier column, I suggested humorously that in the gubernatorial race, Tim Eyman would provide the entertainment, but that former Bothell Mayor Joshua Freed might be a more serious candidate as he had raised more money, much of it his own. With President Donald Trump very unpopular in this state, I didn’t think Republicans would want Eyman to be the other name at the top of the ticket, as the combination might drag down the whole Republican party.
They don’t! But none of the top contenders appear to be making a move. Freed has spent the money and got the King County Republican endorsement, but still isn’t well known. State Sen. Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn) hasn’t raised enough money. Loren Culp, the chief of police in Republic, has money, but would be a hard sell to moderate Republicans.
But some serious players like former Attorney General Rob McKenna, former Governor Dan Evans, and former Senator Slade Gorton did find someone. He is Raul Garcia, a doctor from Eastern Washington who is a director at Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco and owns a clinic in Yakima. Former Secretary of state Sam Reed chairs his committee. But Garcia has only raised $255,476 — not near enough to increase his name on the west side of the mountains, where most of the votes are, and the primary is next week. Eyman has raised $437,774 and has the best name identification. Eyman could still advance to the general election. If so, it could cost current Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman and state Treasurer Duane Davidson their jobs. Although Davidson may be in trouble with Rep. Mike Pellicciotti (D-Federal Way) anyway.
The race for Lt. Governor remains a battle between two Democrats. Former Congressman Denny Heck retains his front-runner status by raising $688,317 compared to State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) at $175,458. If a Republican edges past Liias to November, it would likely be Ann Davison Sattler or Marty McClendon. The job is particularly important this year as the rumor continues to make the rounds that Inslee could leave to take a job in a Biden administration. With the presidential race leading the way, it should be a big turnout, and all Democratic incumbents should retain their positions. Although it will be interesting to see which Republican — Matt Larkin, Mike Vaska or Brett Rogers — advances to face Attorney General Bob Ferguson. My guess is Vaska.
From the cast of 19 candidates, three well-known, smart, hard-working, Democratic women have emerged to replace Denny Heck in the 10th Congressional District. Kristine Reeves is a former state representative from Federal Way, Beth Doglio is a current state representative from Olympia, and Marilyn Strickland is a former mayor of Tacoma. All have raised over a half -million dollars in this safe Democratic district. There isn’t a front-runner, but Reeves and Doglio appear the most likely to advance to November.
In the 9th Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Adam Smith will likely face Republican Doug Basler in November.
In South King County legislative races, the biggest prizes are in the 30th District in Federal Way where two open seats in the House of Representatives were vacated by Reeves and Pellicciotti.
In position 1, Republicans Janis Clark and Martin Moore face off with Democrats Jamila Taylor and Cheryl Hurst. Taylor, who ran for the Federal Way City Council last year, and Moore, who is a current city council member, appear the most likely to advance to November. However, Moore has been trying pick up independent votes and distance himself from President Trump by calling himself an independent Republican. But that may have backfired as Clark got the King County Republicans’ endorsement. However, Moore’s campaign manager says there was confusion about the date their questionnaire was due.
In Position 2, appointed Democratic incumbent Jesse Johnson had the benefit of a legislative session, but is faced with three Republican challengers: Mark Greene, Chris Dowllar and Jack Walsh. Walsh is most likely to advance to the November election.
In the 31st District, Drew Stokesbary is safe. The race to watch is Position 2. With Republican incumbent Morgan Irwin not running, Republican and former legislator Eric Robertson would seem to be the logical replacement because both have police backgrounds. Robertson got the Tacoma News Tribune’s endorsement, but the Seattle Times endorsement went for his Democratic opponent Thomas Clark over a racial incident from when Robertson served in the Legislature previously (Robertson has not apologized for the incident). This is a Republican district, but it will be interesting to see if the Times’ endorsement has any impact on the vote totals.
In the 33rd District, both positions are held by Democratic incumbents. Tina Orwall is unopposed, and Mia Su-Ling Gregerson will advance to face a Marliza Melzer, a Libertarian, in November. Orwall and Gregerson should win comfortably.
In the 11th District, watch Position 1 — incumbent Zack Hudgins has an interparty challenge from David Hackney, a fellow Democrat with an impressive resume. Hackney also got the Seattle Times endorsement. Both will advance. But watch the vote totals. In position 2: Democrat Steve Bergquist has raised over $126,000 and his opponent, Sean Atchison, has raised very little.
47th District, Position 1: Democrat Debra Entenman has raised $51,825 and her opponent, Kyle Lyebyedyev, has raised only $17,810. Both will advance. In Position 2: Pat Sullivan is among the most respected legislators in Olympia and serves as House Majority Leader. Three Republicans are challenging him: Joseph Cimaomo Jr., Ted Cooke and Peter Thompson Jr.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.