6 things you need to know for WA Primary Election - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

6 things you need to know for WA Primary Election

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Washington’s Primary Election is Tuesday, August 2nd. Voters across the state are set to narrow the field in more than 100 races, from Governor to U.S. Senator.

Here's a look at 6 things to know ahead of Tuesday's primary:

1. HOW MANY CANDIDATES ARE ON THE BALLOT: According to the secretary of state's office, more than 670 candidates are vying for federal, statewide, legislative, county, judicial and local offices. The races include: U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, state auditor, office of superintendent of public instruction, and Supreme Court.

2. HOW DOES WASHINGTON'S 'TOP 2' PRIMARY WORK? The top two vote getters in each race advance to the November election, regardless of party. That means in some contests two Republicans or two Democrats could end up on the general election ballot. Also, voters don't have to declare a party affiliation and can choose among all candidates on one, consolidated ballot.

3. WHAT'S THE MOST CLOSELY-WATCHED RACE? The lieutenant governor's race has drawn 11 contenders - including three Democratic state senators - after current Lt. Gov. Brad Owen announced he was retiring after two decades in the office. The two candidates that have raised the most money - Sens. Cyrus Habib and Steve Hobbs - are both Democrats. If two Democrats advanced to the general election in this race, or any of the other statewide races, it would be the first time for such an occurrence since the state's top two primary system started in the state in 2008, according to the secretary of state's office. Same party opponents have previously emerged in legislative and congressional races, but never in statewide races. Four other open statewide seats - auditor, lands commissioner, treasurer and superintendent of public instruction - have also drawn several candidates. The 7th Congressional District race is also drawing attention since it is an open seat after Jim McDermott decided to retire after serving 14 two-year terms in Congress. That race has drawn nine candidates, including Democratic Sen. Pramila Jayapal, Democratic Rep. Brady Walkinshaw and Metropolitan King County Councilman Joe McDermott, also a Democrat.

4. ARE ALL OF THE LEGISLATIVE RACES COMPETITIVE? No, most aren't. In 78 of the 124 legislative races on the ballot, there's no real contest in the primary. Twenty-seven races are unopposed, and in 51 seats, there's only two candidates running, all of whom will automatically advance to the November ballot.

5. HOW BIG A TURNOUT IS EXPECTED?  The secretary of state's office has predicted that voter turnout for the primary will be at about 41 percent. But as of Monday morning only about 14 percent of the 4.1 million ballots sent to voters had been returned.

6. WHEN ARE BALLOTS DUE?  Ballots must be either postmarked by Tuesday or dropped off at a local drop box.

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