Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Despite this being the first time the state's voters cast ballots under the new "top two" primary election system, there were no real surprises in the Aug. 19 voting.
As Tuesday's deadline for turning in ballots came and went, traditional voting patterns were generally maintained.
As is usually the case, the incumbents received enough votes to advance to the Nov. 4 ballot, and there were no instances where two Republican Party candidates or two Democratic Party candidates finished one-two in a particular race.
If that had been the case, there could have been races where party labels would become essentially meaningless and people could simply debate their views on issues (a novel idea).
In Klickitat County, most of the races on the ballot had only two candidates anyway, although presumably a write-in candidate could have placed in the top two.
Taking a look at some of the key races: Incumbent Klickitat County Commissioner Rex Johnston, Republican, will face off against Lea Rachford, Democrat, in November. These were the only two names on the ballot for the District No. 1 contest.
For Klickitat County Commissioner in District No. 3, incumbent Republican Ray Thayer finished first ahead of Democratic Party candidate Jerry Gaines. Republican Martin Taylor finished in third place, so it will be Gaines versus Thayer in the general election.
In two legislative district contests, the results simply served to advance the only two candidates on the ballot to the general election: Democrat John Gotts will take on incumbent Republican Bruce Chandler for District 15 State Representative, Position No. 1.
For District 15 State Representative, Position No. 2, it will be Democrat Tao Berman going against incumbent Republican Dan Newhouse.
In races where there were three or more candidates, the incumbents easily made the top two. For example, for U.S. Congress in Washington's Fourth District, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings easily fended off a challenge by fellow Republican Gordon Pross, and will face Democrat George Fearing in November.
The competition for the governor's office was intriguing, with no less than 10 names on the ballot. There were three Republicans, two Democrats, and five independent or third party candidates.
But after the dust cleared, the state will have its rematch of 2004's race, as everyone expected: Incumbent Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, will again take on Republican challenger Dino Rossi. The 2004 race was decided by a tiny margin in Gregoire's favor.
Note: All of these tallies are still incomplete and unofficial; ballots postmarked by Aug. 19 will continue to come in and be counted over the next week. The Enterprise will update the numbers in next week's issue.