NOTE: A reference to the role of the Olympia Patient Resource Center has been clarified; also the name of the Washington Conservation Voters is corrected.
Two challengers stepped forward this week to take on state Rep. Sam Hunt, the five-term Olympia Democrat in the liberal 22nd District.
Medical marijuana activist Justin Kover filed as a Democrat and questioned Hunt’s record on initiative rights, public records law and the environment. Hunt won an endorsement from Washington Conservation Voters. Chris Ward, who filed a few citizen initiatives this year and at one time planned to run for U.S. Senate, also filed to run against Hunt, listing “No Party” preference.
The filings were among the few surprises during a candidate-filing week in which 14 candidates – including Republicans Dino Rossi, Paul Akers and Clint Didier – filed to run against U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, the three-term Democrat. Included were familiar candidates such as Goodspaceguy and Mike the Mover, who filed as Democrats.
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In another surprise, Ric Abbett of Tenino filed as a Democrat on Friday afternoon to run against Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman, a Republican and her party’s lone countywide elected official. And Glen Morgan of Olympia filed as a Republican for the county assessor position, which has drawn three Democrats – Jeff Gadman of Lacey, Steve Drew of Olympia and Dennis Pulsipher of Olympia.
Also Friday, a 24-year-old Vancouver man named Bryan Baird filed as an independent for the 3rd Congressional District seat that U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, is giving up. State elections spokeswoman Stephanie Horn said Bryan Baird’s candidacy was rejected because people who hold the office must be 25 or older, and officials were returning Baird’s $1,740 filing fee.
Bryan Baird did not return a message left at his listed campaign number, which had a voice message identifying it as “the committee to elect Bryan Baird to Congress.”
The challengers to Hunt give Olympia-area voters more ballot choices than expected.
Rep. Brendan Williams is retiring from the other 22nd District House seat, and seven candidates filed in that race. They are Lacey City Councilman Jason Hearn, who filed as preferring the “GOP Party”; F.G. (Fred) Jensen, an anti-abortion activist who filed as preferring “Prolife Democrat” Party; Judi Hoefling, Chris Reykdal and Stew Henderson, all of whom filed as preferring “Democratic” Party; Steve Robinson, “Progressive Dem” Party; and Jeremy Miller, preferring “Demo” Party.
Thurston County Democrats recently nominated Henderson as their preferred candidate. Two other Democrats who registered to collect money for campaigns decided not to file – state employee Joe Mihelich and Washington State Nurses Association lobbyist Sofia Aragon.
One state Supreme Court race was completed this week. Chief Justice Barbara Madsen drew no opponent, so she has a free pass to a fourth term.
But two of her colleagues up for re-election drew challengers. Justice Richard Sanders faces Bainbridge Island lawyer Charlie Wiggins and a second challenger, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff, who filed Friday; Justice James Johnson also faces Tacoma lawyer Stan Rumbaugh in an Aug. 17 primary. Supreme Court races are decided in the Aug. 17 primary if any candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote.
Three Thurston County District Court judicial candidates also got free rides to four-year terms. Kalo Wilcox drew no opponent for Position 1 and is automatically elected without going onto the primary ballot; the same is true for Sam Meyer in Position 2 and M. Brett Buckley in Position 3.
Kover, who ran for mayor of Tumwater and lost last year, works as the office manager for the Olympia Patient Resource Center, which provides education and other aid to patients about medicinal marijuana. He said his House campaign is about a broader objection to Hunt – including Hunt’s effort to regulate the citizen initiative process and increase the initiative-filing fee from $5 to about $200, and Hunt’s view that the names of voters on citizen initiatives should be considered public records.
“The three planks of my campaign are open government, truth in budgeting and protecting our initiative process,” Kover said.
Kover questioned Hunt’s sponsorship of House Bill 2372 a year ago; the bill would have eliminated an oil- spill advisory council and transferred the oversight to another agency. Other legislation sought this year by Gov. Chris Gregoire shifted the council’s oversight to the Puget Sound Partnership.
“It’s a democratic process. Nobody should be entitled to office,” Hunt said of the challenge. “If he (Kover) wants to run a campaign and put us out there together, that’s all right with me.”
Hunt defended his record on the initiative process, saying he supports it and has collected at least five pages of signatures for Initiative 1098, which proposes a high-earners income tax. Hunt also said initiative signers’ names should be public, and he defended his environmental record, which includes passage of bills taking mercury out of the environment.
Ward’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
But a man with the same name and phone number has indicated on websites that he was running for U.S. Senate. He also filed several citizen initiatives, includ- ing measures to lower the state’s spending limit each year, limit expense reimbursements for lawmakers, require proof of citizenship to receive welfare benefits and bar employment actions by the state Military Department based on sexual orienta-tion.
Brad Shannon: 360-357-1688 email@example.com www.theolympian.com/politicsblog
Candidates who filed
These candidates filed for statewide office or in Thurston County during the Monday-through-Friday filing week. Party preference is noted as it will be listed on ballots:
Schalk Leonard, Poulsbo, no party; Patty Murray, Seattle, Democratic; Norma D. Gruber, Walla Walla, Republican; James (Skip) Mercer, Bellevue, no party; Goodspaceguy, Seattle, Democratic; Mike The Mover, Mill Creek, Democratic; William Edward Chovil, Tacoma, Republican; Charles Allen, Seattle, Democratic; Dino Rossi, Bellevue, Republican; Bob Burr, Bellingham, Democratic; Paul Akers, Bellingham, Republican; Clint Didier, Eltopia, Republican; Mohammad H. Said, Ephrata, centrist; Mike Latimer, Des Moines, Republican; Will Baker, Tacoma, Reform.
State Supreme Court (nonpartisan)
Position 1: Stan Rumbaugh, Tacoma; Jim Johnson, Olympia.
Position 5: Barbara Madsen, Seattle.
Position 6: Charlie Wiggins, Bainbridge Island; Richard B. Sanders, Olympia.
Congressional District 3 (southwest Washington including Olympia)
Cheryl Crist, Olympia, Democratic; Norma Jean Stevens, Ocean Park, independent; Jaime Herrera, Ridgefield, Republican; David B. Castillo, Olympia, Republican; Denny Heck, Olympia, Democratic; David W. Hedrick, Camas, Republican.
Congressional District 9 (Lacey to Federal Way)
Roy Olson, Olympia, Green (Party); Adam Smith, Tacoma, Democratic; Jim Postma, Steilacoom, Republican; Richard (Dick) Muri, Fife, Republican.
Legislative District 2 (southwest Pierce and southeast Thurston counties including Nisqually Valley and Yelm:
House position 1: Jim McCune, Graham, Republican; Marilyn Rasmussen, Eatonville, Democratic.
Position 2: Tom Campbell, Roy, Republican; J.T. Wilcox, McKenna, Republican.
Legislative District 20 (southwest Thurston and all of Lewis counties)
House position 1: Corinne Tobeck, Littlerock, Democratic; Richard DeBolt, Chehalis, Republican.
Position 2: Gary Alexander, Thurston County, Republican.
Legislative District 22 (north Thurston County including Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater):
House position 1: Judi Hoefling, Tumwater, Democratic; Chris Reykdal, Tumwater, Democratic; Steve Robinson, Olympia, Progressive Dem; Stew Henderson, Olympia, Democratic; Jason Haern, Lacey, Republican; Jeremy Miller, Olympia, Demo Party; F.G. (Fred) Jensen, Olympia, Prolife Democrat.
Position 2: Sam Hunt, Olympia, Democratic; Justin Kover, Olympia, Democratic; Chris Ward, Olympia, no party.
Legislative District 35 (west Thurston, Mason, northeast Grays Harbor and parts of Kitsap counties)
Senate: Nancy (grandma) Williams, Belfair, Republican; Tim Sheldon, Potlatch, Democratic.
House position 1: Daniel (Dan) Griffey, Allyn, Republican; Kathy Haigh, Shelton, Democratic.
Position 2: Glenn Gaither, Hoodsport, independent; Fred Finn, Thurston County, Democratic; Linda Simpson, Bremerton, Republican.
Thurston County assessor
Jeff Gadman, Lacey, Democratic; Steve Drew, Olympia, Democratic; Dennis Pulsipher, Olympia, Democratic; Glen Morgan, Olympia, Republican.
Thurston County auditor
Kim Wyman, Lacey, Republican; Ric Abbett, Tenino, Democratic.
Thurston County clerk
Betty Gould, Lacey, Democratic.
Thurston County commissioner, district 3 (west Thurston County)
Karen L. Valenzuela, Olympia, Democratic; Pat Beehler, Tumwater, Republican.
Thurston County coroner
Gary Warnock, Rainier, Democratic.
Thurston County prosecuting attorney
Jon Tunheim, Olympia, Democratic.
Thurston County sheriff
Debra (Debbie) Mealy, Olympia, Democratic; John Snaza, Tumwater, independent.
Thurston County treasurer
Bill Pilkey, Olympia, independent Dem; Shawn Myers, Olympia, Democratic; Tom Nelson, Olympia, GOP; Noah Crocker, Olympia, Democratic.
Thurston County District Court judge
Position 1: Kalo Wilcox.
Position 2: Sam Meyer.
Position 3: M. Brett Buckley.