Key races up for grabs as primary election nears | Cornfield

Aug. 7 primary looms for area candidates

  • Thursday, July 26, 2018 1:09pm
  • Opinion

Voting is underway in the Aug. 7 primary.

Although turnout tends to slumber for the summer matchup and awaken for the November finals, the election is critical for Democrat and Republican leaders of the Legislature along with their political strategists and bulwark of allies.

They know that in the era of the Top Two primary, the person who wins next month will way more often than not be the same one claiming victory in the general election.

Thus, now is the time for them to try to capture hearts and minds of voters through all means necessary. Here is a snapshot of three races where this is happening in a robust way.

Upset in Snohomish County? Democrat Jared Mead’s attempt to unseat Republican Rep. Mark Harmsworth could provide a gauge of energy and enthusiasm among Democrats in the county this election cycle. The two men, both from Mill Creek, are vying in the 44th Legislative District where voters routinely elect members of both parties to the Legislature.

Mead, with a hand from the House Democratic Campaign Committee, had outraised Harmsworth as of Tuesday by a margin of $71,665 to $38,751. Plus, Mead is getting a boost from an independent political committee – New Direction PAC – which has spent nearly $65,000 on mailers supporting him. Those dollars come from Democrat, labor, environmental and progressive groups.

Harmsworth has not garnered any dollars yet from his caucus political committee nor benefited from any outside spending on his behalf. Republican strategists appear comfortable in his ability to overcome the independent spending and repel the upset bid. The primary will reveal if such confidence in the incumbent is justified.

The return of Rodney Tom: Democrat Rodney Tom of Medina wants back in the state Senate and to do it he must oust incumbent Democrat Sen. Patty Kuderer of Bellevue in the 48th District. Tom, a political centrist, famously left the Republican Party to join Democrats when he first served in the Senate. Then, he walked away from them in 2012 and reforged ties with Republicans to form the Majority Coalition Caucus. Tom left office in 2014.

In this race, Tom is the loud choice of business groups and quiet favorite of Republicans. Enterprise Washington, which gets its largest checks from the Washington Association of Realtors and Building Industry Association of Washington, spent $186,000 on ads and mailers promoting Tom as of Tuesday – nearly $75,000 more than Tom had expended on himself.

Senate Democrats and their allies certainly don’t want to see Tom return. The New Direction PAC has countered with $131,629 of advertising trumpeting Kuderer’s candidacy as of Tuesday. Kuderer, who has received financial support from the caucus, has expended $136,509 through her campaign. Tom and Kuderer are expected to meet in the general election. It will be interesting to see if Senate Republicans come off the sidelines on his behalf.

Dems take on one of their own: In the House, the Democrat caucus is angling not so subtly to keep Democrat Rep. David Sawyer of Tacoma from getting re-elected. Sawyer is on the outs after several women, including staff members and lobbyists, accused him of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior, and an investigation concluded some of his actions violated House workplace policies.

Sawyer resigned a chairmanship under pressure from his colleagues. He is running again to their dismay and disappointment. Nineteen of them are backing Democrat Melanie Morgan in this race. Plus, New Direction is providing a wad of cash to the newly formed South Sound Women’s Leadership PAC to conduct an independent campaign against Sawyer consisting of ads and a web site chronicling the investigation.

If Sawyer and Morgan both advance Aug. 7, House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, will have to decide how far the caucus might go to defeat one of its members.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

The state has too much money and it’s a problem

With revenues rising, budget writers are going to get lots of requests on how to spend it

COURTESY PHOTO, MultiCare
Black History Month: highlighting health disparities

By MultiCare Health System February is Black History Month, a time to… Continue reading

Recognition and thanks – not abuse – needed for high school officials

By Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS executive director While the behavior of parents… Continue reading

Cheers for the American Legion

The 2020 race for the White House is heating. It’s shaping up… Continue reading

Playing multiple sports in high school paves way for Mahomes’ success

By Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS executive director On football’s grandest stage this… Continue reading

COURTESY PHOTO
Copper making comeback as major disease fighter

Government leaders, doctors, and medical researchers worldwide are working feverishly to stop… Continue reading

FILE PHOTO
As session moves along, lawmakers sharpen their focus

OLYMPIA — With a third of the legislative session nearly gone, lawmakers… Continue reading

Dams are the Northwest flood busters

We need to remember that that network is saving our bacon

Matt Shea is poised for a victory lap

Democrats could, on their own, censure the six-term lawmaker. But they probably won’t. Even a hearing on the content of the report looks very unlikely.

We must demand a healthy Puget Sound

Little progress being made

Inslee still hopeful for clean fuels standard

Gov. Jay Inslee badly wants a clean fuels standard in Washington. He… Continue reading

Look for lots that’s new at KCLS in 2020

As King County Library System winds down another busy year, the New… Continue reading