High voter turnout expected for state primary

Washington voters are narrowing down candidates for dozens of contests in Tuesday’s “top two” primary, including the governor’s race and an open U.S. House seat.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who dropped a presidential bid last year, has drawn 35 opponents in his bid for a rare third term. Governors in Washington state aren’t subject to term limits, but the last three-term governor in Washington was Republican Gov. Dan Evans, who served from 1965 until 1977.

A handful of Republicans have raised the most in their effort to unseat Inslee: Joshua Freed, the former mayor of Bothell; Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic, in eastern Washington; anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman; Yakima doctor Raul Garcia; and state Sen. Phil Fortunato. A Republican has not occupied the governor’s office in more than three decades.

After Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat, announced he was leaving to become a Jesuit priest, that race has drawn 11 candidates, including Democratic U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, who had previously announced he was retiring from Congress. Others seeking the seat include Democratic Sen. Marko Liias and Ann Davison Sattler and Marty McClendon, both Republicans.

With Heck’s retirement, the open seat in the 10th Congressional District — which includes the state capital of Olympia — has drawn 19 candidates.

All 10 of the state’s U.S. House seats are on the ballot, but Heck’s seat is the only one that won’t have an incumbent seeking another two-year term. Democrats currently hold seven of the seats, and Republicans hold three.

Voters will also weigh in on nine statewide elected offices, including attorney general, auditor and lands commissioner. The only two statewide positions held by Republicans — secretary of state and treasurer — are expected to be competitive in the fall. Secretary of State Kim Wyman is expected to face Democratic state Rep. Gael Tarleton in November, and Treasurer Duane Davidson and his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, are the only two candidates on the primary ballot and will automatically advance to the general election.

Voters will also decide their local legislative races, with all 98 state House seats and 26 of the Senate’s 49 seats on the primary ballot. Democrats hold a 28-21 majority in the Senate and a 57-41 edge in the House.

Because ballots can be deposited in local drop boxes or postmarked up until Tuesday, results may take days to come in as the ballots arrive in elections offices throughout the week.