Campaign season starts as candidates file for November election
May 23, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
The ballot voters receive in the mailbox by late July is all but certain to contain some familiar names, as elected officials campaign for higher offices and other candidates try another run for elected office.
The period for candidates to enter races up for election on the August and November ballots ended May 18 in a buzz of activity.
Local voters face choices in countywide, legislative, statewide and federal offices.
Voters pick the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, Aug. 7 in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.
Elections officials attributed the intense interest among candidates in part to the presidential contest on the ballot, and the expectation of high turnout as voters choose between President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and the GOP challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“The voters I’ve met as I traveled around the state in the past month are very enthused about this election, and you get the sense that it is a generational or ‘change’ election coming up,” Secretary of State Sam Reed, the top elections official in the state, said in a statement. “When you add the presidential election and potentially some very volatile ballot measures, we may see record voter registrations and record turnout.”
The timing of candidate filing is earlier than in previous years because state officials shifted the primary election to early August to accommodate mailing military and overseas ballots in time for Election Day.
County-wide, voters must decide on 115 elected positions. Statewide, 344 positions came up for grabs, including a high-profile race for governor.
“This year, there are 115 open elected offices for which candidates may file,” county Elections Director Sherril Huff said in a statement. “This being a presidential year election, we are anticipating extremely high voter turnouts.”
Besides the presidential election and a U.S. Senate race, open positions elsewhere on the ballot attracted attention from candidates during the filing period. Voters must also choose a secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor, state and federal lawmakers, plus numerous judges and local officials.
The list of local officeholders in the race for a higher post is sizable.
King County councilmen Reagan Dunn, a Republican, and Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, top
the list of candidates for state attorney general. The incumbent attorney general, Republican Rob McKenna, is running for governor against former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, and a field of lesser-known candidates. (Dunn represents rural areas of south of Issaquah on the County Council.)
Issaquah School Board President Chad Magendanz, a Republican, is running for a 5th Legislative District seat in the state House of Representatives. Another candidate in the race, Democrat David Spring, ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2008 and 2010. Independent candidate Ryan Dean Burkett is also running.
Magendanz is running to succeed state Rep. Glenn Anderson. The longtime lawmaker and Fall City Republican is leaving the House to run for lieutenant governor. The field includes the incumbent, Democrat Brad Owen, and others.
The other 5th District seat in the House, occupied by North Bend Republican Jay Rodne, is not being contested, so he appears poised to cruise to re-election.
Issaquah Councilman Mark Mullet, a Democrat, opted to run against incumbent Republican Cheryl Pflug for the 5th District seat in the state Senate. The race also includes Republican Brad Toft, a Snoqualmie businessman.
However, Pflug dropped out of the race for another legislative term May 22, after Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed her to a state growth board.
Gregoire appointed Pflug to a six-year term on the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, the panel responsible for mediating disputes about planning and development issues in municipalities throughout the state. Members earn $92,500 per year.
Members cannot serve simultaneously on the board and in the Legislature. The appointment as a board member starts July 1, about six months before Pflug’s Senate term expires.
Under state law, the King County Council is responsible for appointing a successor to the Senate seat after Pflug resigns. The law calls for GOP officials to submit three candidates to the council for the open seat. Then, the council must make a selection within 60 days after Pflug’s resignation.
Pflug, a 13-year legislator, ascended to the Senate through the same process, after then-Sen. Dino Rossi resigned to run for governor. Before the Senate appointment in 2004, Pflug represented the district in the state House of Representatives since 1999.
“Cheryl is well-respected by both sides of the aisle as an effective problem solver and has served her constituents well,” Gregoire said in a statement. “Her legislative experience and commitment to serve will be a great asset to the work of the board and I welcome her to this new role.”
In the neighboring 41st Legislative District — post-Census 2010 redistricting divided Issaquah between the 5th and 41st districts — Mercer Island Democrat Judy Clibborn faces no opposition as she runs for another term as a state representative.
Republican Tim Eaves is challenging Renton Democrat Marcie Maxwell, the incumbent representative in the other 41st District House seat.
Incumbent 41st District Sen. Steve Litzow, a Republican, faces a challenge from another Mercer Island resident, Democrat Maureen Judge.
Most candidates for prominent offices started organizing, fundraising and campaigning months before the filing deadline.
Washington voters must also select political party precinct committee officers.
The officers serve as local party representative in neighborhoods. In the role, the officer helps register people to vote and drums up party support by handing out campaign material and encouraging neighbors to vote.
King County mails voter registration cards
King County Elections is mailing updated voter registration cards to all King County voters.
The elections office started sending the cards May 21. The cards identify a voter’s precinct, and congressional, legislative and King County Council districts. Many districts changed late last year due to post-Census 2010 redistricting.
The recent redistricting affected more than 600,000 of the 1.1 million registered voters in the county.
Officials plan to mail ballots for the Aug. 7 primary election July 18, so mailing the voter registration cards in May allows time for the county to update records before the primary.
Voters can reach the elections office at www.kingcounty.gov/elections. Or call 206-296-VOTE. Visit elections headquarters at 919 S.W. Grady Way, Renton.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.snovalleystar.com.