Sure it’s just the prelims, not the main event, but a lot of candidates will be eliminated after Tuesday’s primary election.
And we’re just talking about the U.S. Senate race. 29 candidates are competing for Sen. Maria Cantwell’s seat in a Top 2 primary system, meaning 27 candidates will be sent packing in Tuesday’s election (sadly, perennial candidate Mike the Mover won’t be there to help with the packing). That’s a lot of primary carnage.
The action, for the most part, isn’t at the top of the ticket. There barely is a top of the ticket. The Senate race drew a lot more candidates than it is drawing interest, and most of the Congressional primaries are nothing to write home to mother about.
Initiatives aren’t on the ballot until November, and only one state Supreme Court justice drew a (legally valid) challenger. That race, too, will only appear on November’s ballot.
If the purpose of sports talk radio is so you can sound like an informed sports analyst around your friends (this is, in fact, the point), then Shift is here to do the same for elections. With our handy guide of what to watch as numbers come in Tuesday, you’ll have a jump on being the watercooler expert on Wednesday.
5th Congressional: The Spokane-centered district is solidly Republican, and incumbent Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers has won there seven times. It doesn’t seem like a race to “watch,” but people are curious to see how Democratic challenger Lisa Brown’s numbers shape up Tuesday. The biggest reason the former state Senate majority leader’s challenge is getting any attention: This is the same district that sent sitting House Speaker Tom Foley packing amid the Republican wave in ’94 – so maybe voters there will make a big move again? It’s an unpersuasive argument.
8th Congressional: Republican Dino Rossi is virtually guaranteed to move on in the race to succeed retiring seven-term Republican Dave Reichert. He faces a trio of Democrats (counting only serious, active candidates). Jason Rittereiser, a deputy prosecutor, is touting his Ellensburg roots in the cross-Cascades district that favored Hillary Clinton by a smidge in 2016. Shannon Hader, a former federal health official, is sending attack flyers about vaccines, of all issues, against the Democrats’ fundraising leader, pediatrician Kim Schrier.
5th Legislative, House pos. 1: With Republican incumbent Jay Rodne retiring, former Republican representative Chad Magendanz is attempting a comeback. Magendanz challenged Democratic senator Mark Mullet in 2016 but lost by a whisker. He’s up against Bill Ramos, a Democrat and first-term Issaquah city councilmember.
12th Legislative, House pos. 1: Longtime Rep. Cary Condotta, a Ron Paul-leaning Republican, passed on a re-election bid. This year’s race in the Wenatchee-based district is notable because of independent Ann Diamond, widely seen as the Washington Independents’ best shot at winning a legislative seat.
13th Legislative, House pos. 2: Incumbent Republican Matt Manweller has been the subject of some negative headlines. The economics professor’s employer, Central Washington University, is conducting an investigation that Manweller is contesting strongly. Will the brouhaha be enough to bring Manweller’s numbers down? It’s hard to picture him losing in the 13th. He faces Democrat Sylvia Hammond.
26th Legislative, House: Both Republican House incumbents, Michelle Caldier and Jesse Young, face intraparty challengers as well as Democrats. Caldier’s race has been notably nasty, with challenger Randy Boss taking a strident tone and being willing to say just about anything.
29th Legislative, House pos. 1: Incumbent Democrat David Sawyer has suffered his own negative headlines. His caucus has turned on him (though seatmate Steve Kirby supports him), and he faces a Democratic challenge in Melanie Morgan. While the complaints against Sawyer were many, they’re viewed by some as thin gruel. Voter sentiment in the south Pierce County district, one of the state’s poorest with low voter turnout, is tough to predict.
30th Legislative, Senate: The 30th District Senate seat held by party-switching Republican Mark Miloscia is viewed by Democrats as one of their best pickup opportunities. The 30th is a true swing district, and Miloscia previously won many House terms there as a Democrat. His main challenger is Democrat Claire Wilson.
32nd Legislative, Senate: Sen. Maralyn Chase, one of Olympia’s more colorful legislators, is super-liberal and super-ineffective. She writes bills that have no hope of going anywhere, then pats herself on the back for it. Even The Stranger is tired of it. Her Democratic challenger, Jesse Salomon of the Shoreline City Council, is just as super-liberal but probably wouldn’t ribbon-cut a new Scientology center.
47th Legislative, Senate: Two-termer Joe Fain is the last Republican senator from a King County-only district. Likable and well-known, Fain faces Democratic mortgage broker Mona Das in a swing district.
47th Legislative, House pos. 1: House Democrats always seem sure they’re poised to unseat incumbent Republican Mark Hargrove, yet Hargrove keeps winning. Democratic challenger Debra Entenman, a staffer to Cong. Adam Smith, hopes the fifth time is the charm.
48th Legislative, Senate: Former two-term Democratic state senator Rodney Tom has a knack for being consequential. Starting in politics as a Republican state representative, Tom switched parties in 2006. In 2013, Tom and Democrat Tim Sheldon joined with Senate Republicans to form the Majority Coalition Caucus, with Tom as majority leader. After not running for re-election in 2014, Tom is seeking to regain his old seat, aiming for votes from moderate Democrats and Republicans. He faces Patty Kuderer, a state representative who was appointed to the Senate when Cyrus Habib became lieutenant governor. Democrats blundered strategically when they failed to file someone as a Republican for the seat, which would have siphoned votes from Tom.
Current Olympia breakdown
House: 50 Democrats, 48 Republicans
Senate: 25 Democrats, 23 Republicans, 1 Democrat who caucuses with Republicans