South County Politics: Primary in 32nd Legislative District will be competitive and expensive

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Primary election contests in the 32nd Legislative District will get lots of attention.

That’s because Democrats are challenging each other in two races and because Republicans may have a hard time qualifying for the general election ballot in a Democrat-dominated district.

The contests also will be expensive, with five Democratic candidates having combined to raise nearly $152,000 so far.
Incumbent Democratic State Sen. Maralyn Chase faces challenges from fellow Democrat Jesse Salomon, a member of the Shoreline City Council, and from Republican James Wood, a Seattle fire lieutenant.

Another Democrat vs. Democrat contest is in the battle to replace retiring State Rep. Ruth Kagi.

Kagi has endorsed Democrat Lauren Davis of Shoreline. Davis faces Shoreline City Council member Chris Roberts, the 32nd Legislative District Democratic state committeeman, and Frank Deisler, a Republican precinct committee officer from the north Seattle part of the district.

The two contests show divisions among Democrats in the 32nd District.

Chase will certainly have the endorsement of the 32nd District Democratic organization, which has backed her through several elections to the State House of Representatives and in her 2010 and 2014 elections to the State Senate. Salomon fell out of favor with the district Democratic organization after a controversial vote on a Shoreline zoning matter. Salomon, however, has an endorsement from Kagi. The district Democratic organization declined to endorse Kagi when she ran two years ago for a 10th two-year term.

Republican Wood may have a hard time qualifying for the general election ballot in the heavily Democratic district.

In the past, district Republicans have been able to qualify for general-election ballot with as little as 25 percent of the votes in a top-two primary, but, this year, if the two Democrats split the Democratic votes evenly they may keep Wood off the November ballot.

With the district Democratic organization likely to endorse Chase and Roberts while Kagi already has endorsed Salomon and Davis, both contests will probably feature a party-endorsed Democrat against a Kagi-endorsed Democrat.

Democrats Chase, Salomon, Davis, Roberts and incumbent State Cindy Ryu had reported raising a a combined $151,703 through May 18.

Ryu is running for re-election to her state-representative position. Her challengers are Republican Diodato (Dio) Boucsieguez of Lynnwood and Lynnwood independent Keith Smith, who ran against Ryu in the 2016 primary with no party preference but now lists his preference as “Centrist Party.”

Ryu reports raising $14,920 and spending $15,252, with a campaign debt of $400. Smith has reported no fundraising or spending. The State Public Disclosure Commission website shows no report from Boucsieguez.

In the Senate contest, Salomon had reported raising $54,820 and spending $7,716; Chase has reported raising $24,253 and spending $15,998; Republican Wood had not registered with the state Public Disclosure commission as of mid-May.

In the state representative contest to replace Kagi, Davis reported raising $49,026 and sending $6,163 with a campaign debt of $ 3,025; Roberts reported raising $ 8,684 and spending $2,511. Republican Deisler had not registered with the state public disclosure commission as of mid-May.

The candidates run in the Aug. 7 primary, with the top two vote getters advancing to the November ballot, regardless of party.
The 32nd Legislative District includes the city of Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas, the city of Shoreline and part of north and northwest Seattle.

–By Evan Smith

Evan Smith can be reached at [email protected].

5 Replies to “South County Politics: Primary in 32nd Legislative District will be competitive and expensive”

    1. Like we’ve done in the other Washington?…. Let’s get rid of Mark Schoesler (Ritzeville) at the state level – he’s real Swamp People.

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  1. Yes, it appears that the November general election could have one or more contests with only one party’s candidates on the ballot. It has happened in other districts around the state. This is probably the worst feature of our Top Two primary system — one major party can hog both positions on the ballot, denying voters a true choice. Voters who don’t want that party in power have nobody to vote for. It’s time to dump the Top Two primary for partisan elections.

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    1. RDPence The only meaningful reform possible that I’ve seen is to implement Ranked Choice Voting. The two party system is written into law. Third Parties are just about impossible. An optimist would say we have twice as many political parties as North Korea.

      The best solution for picking reps is to get away from popular voting altogether.

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  2. Yes, Ranked Choice Voting would be an improvement, would solve the problem. Voters vote their First Choice, Second Choice, Third Choice, etc. for as many choices as they wish, for each position. The candidate with the fewest votes is out of the running, and her/his votes are moved to the ballots’ Second Choice candidates. Process continues until there are only two candidates left, and the one with the most votes wins. A little confusing, but it works — and it’s one election in November, when people are accustomed to voting. Not in mid-summer when politics is far from many minds.

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