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Washington voters weigh in on dozens of state primary races

Key match is the 8th Congressional District race

The front entrance of Whatcom County District Court as a person opens the glass door to walk in.
Individuals can still register to vote or change their address in person until 8 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Whatcom County Courthouse. (Kyle Tubbs/Cascadia Daily News)
By Rachel La Corte Associated Press

OLYMPIA — The top two candidates for a U.S. Senate seat, 10 congressional races and the secretary of state’s office will be decided by Washington voters in Tuesday’s primary.

Voters will also weigh in on dozens of legislative contests and local elections.

A key match in Tuesday’s election is the 8th Congressional District race, where incumbent Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier faces several opponents who hope to regain the district for Republicans, who held it until Schrier was first elected two years ago. Of the 10 candidates challenging her, three Republicans have raised the most: Army veteran Jesse Jensen, who ran unsuccessfully against Schrier in 2020; King County Council Member Reagan Dunn, a former federal prosecutor whose mother once held the seat; and former state attorney general candidate Matt Larkin.

The other nine U.S. House seats are also contested in the primary, with the incumbents seeking re-election. Two are of particular national focus because the incumbents have drawn interparty challenges due to their votes to impeach former President Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob that supported the president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the 3rd Congressional District faces several Republican opponents as she seeks a seventh term, including Joe Kent — a former Green Beret endorsed by Trump — and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. Rep. Dan Newhouse in the 4th Congressional District, a four-term congressman, has also drawn a Trump-endorsed challenger. Loren Culp, a former small town police chief who lost the 2020 governor’s race to Democrat Jay Inslee but refused to concede, won Trump’s endorsement in February, but has lagged in fundraising. Jerrod Sessler, a Navy veteran and former NASCAR driver who has raised the most money among the challengers, followed by Democrat Doug White.

The lone statewide races are for U.S. Senate and secretary of state.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray faces more than a dozen primary candidates as she seeks a sixth term, but is expected to advance with Republican Tiffany Smiley, a first-time political candidate from Pasco, Washington.

Democratic Secretary of State Steve Hobbs – appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee last November – faces several challengers as he attempts to hang on to the office for the remaining two years of former Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s four-year term. There are multiple Republicans in the race, but the challenger who has raised the most money is Pierce County auditor Julie Anderson, who is running as a nonpartisan. Among the Republicans in the race, former Sen. Mark Miloscia — who is now head of the conservative Family Policy Institute — has raised the most among the Republican candidates. Republican Sen. Keith Wagoner has been endorsed by former Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed. Tamborine Borrelli – an “America First” candidate — was fined by the state Supreme Court in June for making legally meritless claims alleging widespread voter fraud.

All 98 seats in the House are up for election, as are 25 of the 49 in the Senate, with several expected to be competitive in November. But more than half on the primary ballot offer no real contest at all. Of the 123 total legislative races, there are 29 incumbents running unopposed. In 42 seats, there’s only two candidates running, all of whom will automatically advance to the November ballot under the state’s primary system, in which the top two vote-getters in each race advance to the general election, regardless of party.

Democrats currently hold a 28-21 advantage in the Senate, and a 57-41 advantage in the House.

While voters began receiving their state primary ballots in the mail weeks ago, Tuesday is the last day for voters to get them in or postmarked for mail delivery. In some of the more competitive races, results may not be known for days as most counties will update vote counts only once a day.

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