Primary election right around the corner

With nearly five months of primary elections having occurred throughout the United States before the 2022 midterms, residents in the Pacific Northwest now get their turn to decide which candidates that they want to advance to the general election in November.

Washington’s 2022 midterm election cycle kicks off with a primary on Tuesday, Aug. 2. On the ballot will be races for state lawmakers and members of the U.S. House and Senate, as well as local races for Grays Harbor County. Washington state runs on a top-two primary system, meaning that the top two vote-getters move on to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

County Partisan Offices, which hold a four-year term designation, will be contested in Grays Harbor. While more than half of the positions have candidates running unopposed, three offices feature options for voters.

Democrat Dan Lindgren is campaigning for his third term as county assessor against Republican candidate Rick Hole. Lindgren, who has worked for the assessor’s office since 2007, was first elected county assessor in 2015.

Democrat Bob Kegel is seeking reelection for the Coroner Office against nonpartisan candidate George J. Kelley. Kegel, who was elected in 2018, served as deputy coroner with almost four decades of experience with the Aberdeen Police Department.

Perhaps the most interesting primary race for a county office is Grays Harbor County Sheriff. In May, Rick Scott, who serves as the current sheriff, announced that he would not be running for a third term citing personal medical issues. As a result, the race for sheriff is between Darrin Wallace, a chief civil deputy, as well as chief of the Investigations Division, and former Brier Police Chief Michael Catlett. Wallace has currently been endorsed by Sheriff Scott.

State Partisan Offices are also on the ballot this year. Depending on where you live in Grays Harbor County, you will either be voting for representatives in the 19th District or 24th District, both of which hold two positions. In the 19th District, Republicans Jim Walsh (Position 1) and Joel McEntire (Position 2) are seeking reelection against Democrat challengers, Kelli Hughes-Ham and Cara Cusack, as well as the Progressive candidate Jon-Erik Hegstad.

In the 24th District, Democrats Mike Chapman (Position 1) and Steve Tharinger (Position 2) are also seeking reelection. While Chapman is facing two Republican challengers, Sue Forde and Matthew Rainwater, Tharinger is facing off against another Democrat, Darren Corcoran, as well as the Republican candidate Brian Pruiett.

The state’s chief elections office is also up for grabs, with Secretary of State Steve Hobbs running to keep the job he was appointed to by Gov. Jay Inslee after Republican Kim Wyman, who held the position for eight years, resigned last year to take an election-security post in the Biden administration.

Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, a longtime election administrator, has filed as a nonpartisan candidate for the position. Republicans who filed include state Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley; former state Sen. Mark Miloscia and Snohomish County resident Bob Hagglund. Tamborine Borrelli, a Yelm resident who has filed several lawsuits alleging, without proof, that the 2020 election was fraudulent, also filed to run as an “America First” Republican.

Washington’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S House of Representatives is up for election as Democrat Derek Kilmer looks for his sixth term in office. Originally elected in 2012, Kilmer faces Republican opposition from candidates Chris Binns, Todd A. Bloom, and Elizabeth Kreiselmaier, who lost to Kilmer in 2020. Kilmer also faces opposition from Democrat challenger Rebecca Parson and Independent Tom Triggs.

On the federal level, 17 challengers filed against U.S. Senator Patty Murray, the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat, who is seeking a sixth term this year. By far her best-funded challenger is Pasco resident and veterans advocate Tiffany Smiley, a first-time candidate already endorsed by the state Republican Party, who has raised more than $4 million. Murray has been a senator for Washington state since 1993.

Election officials recommend that voters return their ballots filled out and sealed correctly by Aug. 2 for their vote to count. Registered voters should have already received their voters pamphlet and ballot.

Debbie Wuthnow, who serves as the President of iVoterGuide, a research advocacy that helps inform people and educate voters, said that primary voting is more important than people understand.

“The largest threat to our republic is the indifference many Americans exhibit by not participating in the elections, especially the party primary, which is often when the real choice occurs,” Wuthnow explained. “Regardless of how they cast their votes, Americans want accurate, well-researched information and trusted guidance in order to remove all uncertainty from the most important part of voting — making the right choice.”