This is shaping up to be one of the most competitive elections in years with high turnover in statewide offices, the congressional delegation and the Legislature.
Nearly two dozen candidates have filed for open seats in the governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor offices.
About 20 more are running for the two open seats in the 1st and 6th U.S. House districts and the new 10th District, which was created by redistricting.
And there’s a bumper crop of new candidates running for the state Legislature, with two-dozen incumbents leaving the state House and Senate.
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“This is unprecedented, as far as I know,” Secretary of State Sam Reed said of all the open seats and the abundance of candidates.
It bodes well for high turnout this election, said Reed, who is retiring and has six people running for his seat. “Of all years, it’s time for citizens to get involved. If they can’t get excited about a candidate or an issue this year, there’s something wrong with them.”
The state’s one-week filing period for candidates ended Friday with no major surprises in terms of politicians deciding to retire or new candidates running.
In addition to the marquee governor’s race between the front-runners, Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna and former Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, there are several other races of interest.
In the 8th Congressional District, which became decidedly more GOP friendly through redistricting this year, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert is seeing a challenge from the right by Keith Swank, a Seattle police officer.
Swank told The Tacoma News Tribune that he considers himself the more conservative choice. He made headlines a while back when, as an acting lieutenant, he was suspended for 10 days without pay after a detective under his supervision threatened to beat the “Mexican piss” out of a prone Latino man.
Swank, who had responded to the scene of the incident, defended his actions at the time. But police commanders said he failed to provide adequate supervision. Swank could not be reached for comment.
According to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks campaign funding, Swank has about $3,000 in cash on hand for his campaign. Reichert has more than $500,000, and Democratic challenger Karen Porterfield has a little more than $2,000. Other candidates who filed for the seat: James Windle, of Snoqualmie Pass, who listed no party preference; Republican Ernest Huber of Issaquah; and Democrat Keith Arnold of Auburn.
In the 7th District, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, who represents Seattle in Congress, is facing a primary challenge from a Democratic unknown — Andrew Hughes.
Hughes describes himself as a tax attorney and said he planned to celebrate filing week by crossing the district by walking, biking and swimming.
“After swimming across Lake Burien on the morning of May 18 — the final day of filing week — Hughes plans to spend the next two days walking the 30-plus miles to Edmonds, at the north tip of the newly redrawn 7th District,” he said in a news release.
Federal records show Hughes has raised around $184,000 in cash and in-kind contributions and has about $21,000 on hand. McDermott has raised nearly $300,000 and has about $144,000 in cash on hand. Democrat Don Rivers and Republican Scott Sutherland also have filed to run. Federal records show no cash on hand for them.
In the 6th Congressional District, Weyerhaeuser descendant Bill Driscoll is running as a Republican to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, who is retiring. Driscoll is contributing $500,000 of his own money to his campaign, according to news reports, although the funding is not reflected yet in federal records.
He’s not alone by any means. Four other Republicans and an independent have filed for the seat as well. State Sen. Derek Kilmer, of Gig Harbor, is the only Democrat to file. He has about $345,000 in cash on hand, according to OpenSecrets.org.
In addition to the congressional races, there are several competitive races brewing for open statewide elective offices, including state attorney general.
Metropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, a Republican, is running to replace McKenna. He faces another King County councilmember, Democrat Bob Ferguson, and Everett attorney Stephen Pidgeon, a Republican.
Pidgeon is also a gay-marriage opponent and is sponsoring Initiative 1192, which seeks to reaffirm the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
State records show Dunn has around $760,000, Ferguson has raised about $748,000 and Pidgeon about $7,000.
Two candidates have filed to run against Democratic state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark, including ex-NFL player Clint Didier, a Republican.
Didier in 2010 unsuccessfully challenged Dino Rossi in the 2010 primary for the chance to run for Sen. Patty Murray’s seat.
Stephen Sharon, of Seattle, also is running for Lands Commissioner. He listed no party affiliation.