Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Surprise Primary – Not!

The primary election was held with lackluster turnout. No surprise there. Since the primary election was moved to August rather than September, the turnout has decreased. The turnout rate for Pierce County dropped to 20 percent, which is about 4 percent lower than the state rate this time.

The results of the primary were straightforward. Those candidates expected to win, did. Those expected to lose, did. If there was any surprise, it occurred for the voters. This primary was the first time the state has used the Top Two system to determine the candidates moving on to the November general election ballot. Voters were able to vote across party lines for any candidate they chose and, regardless of party affiliation, the top two candidates with votes move on. Theoretically, two candidates could run against one another in the general election. However, no surprises occurred there.

On the federal side, Reps. Norm Dicks (D) and Adam Smith (D) both managed to “eke out” victories enabling them to move on the general election with approximately 58 and 66 percent respectively. Rep. Dave Reichert (R) garnered about 48 percent against his continual opponent Darcy Burner (D), who captured 45 percent of the vote out of a six candidate primary.

State-wide results show the Governor Gregoire (photo, left) with 49 percent of the vote in the ten candidate primary.

Dino Rossi (photo, right) secured 45 percent to allow him a second challenge to the incumbent.

Lt. Governor Brad Owen, Secretary of State Sam Reed, State Auditor Brian Sonntag and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler all won fairly substantial victories against their primary opponents.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson appears to have a close race after only obtaining 41 percent in a field of six candidates. Her challenger will be former Pierce County legislator Randy Dorn, who managed to capture 33% of vote. The open seat for State Treasurer will have Allan Martin (R) and Jim McIntire (D) against one another in November. Public Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland (R) will face off against Peter Goldmark (D) after a close primary.

The race for Attorney General will feature AG Rob McKenna (R) and John Ladenburg, current Pierce County Executive, in a race that will certainly be contentious until the very end – which should be expected from two attorneys running against one another.

The state legislative races will show most incumbents in strong positions against their opponents except for two long-time senators. Both Marilyn Rasmussen (D-Spanaway) and Mike Carrell (R-Lakewood) have tighter than expected races.

No Pierce County races appeared on the ballot due to new Ranked Choice Voting system. You can learn more about this system by reading our previous story about it.

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