The state's new "top two" primary went off without a hitch yesterday, Tuesday, with most primary races shaping up as expected.
One of the few surprises was that incumbent County Commissioner Ron Gamache finished third in a four-way race for his District 2 seat. Only the top two in each primary race advance to the November general election. Kevin Bouchey (2,850 votes) was first in the ballot count with just under 40 percent of the vote and Jesse Farias (2,043) was second at 28 percent. Gamache (1,445) claimed 20 percent of the vote and will not be able to run for re-election in the general election.
In the other county commissioner race, incumbent Mike Leita was unopposed for his District 1 seat.
In the race for Yakima County Superior Court, Dept. 5, David Elofson (55 percent) and Rob Lawrence-Berrey (44 percent) advanced to the general election.
In other local races, both of the Lower Valley's 15th District state representative incumbents sailed to first-place finishes. Bruce Chandler won 66 percent of the vote for his Pos. 1 seat and will face challenger John Gotts in the general election. Dan Newhouse claimed 69 percent of the vote for his Pos. 2 seat and will face Tao Berman in the general election.
Fourth District Congressman Doc Hastings (55,320 votes, 60 percent) was first in his bid for re-election, followed by second-place challenger George Fearing (31,666, 34 percent). The two will square off in the general election. In Yakima County, Hastings failed to reach the 60 percent mark, finishing with a first place margin of 56 to 37 percent over Fearing.
"I'm very pleased with tonight's (Tuesday's) results and give credit to our strong grassroots campaign team across Central Washington for the strong showing," said Hastings.
In statewide races, the Gregoire/Rossi primary contest for Governor ended in Yakima County with the challenger Dino Rossi tallying 59 percent of the votes (15,405) to Gov. Christine Gregoire's total of 36 percent (9,314).
The margin failed to hold up statewide, though, as according to the latest count Gregoire ended with 49 to Rossi's 45 percent. The two will face off again in this November's general election.
"We had a strong showing in the primary," Rossi said. Current returns show we have received over 45 percent of the vote. Independent polls of all voters show this race is a statistical dead heat and I feel confident going into the general election."
Incumbent Lt. Governor Brad Owen easily advanced to the general election, claiming 52 percent of the statewide vote to 25 percent for runner-up Marcia McCraw.
Likewise, Secretary of State Sam Reed moved on to the general election with 58 percent of the vote statewide. He will face runner-up Jason Osgood (33 percent).
Moving on in a close primary race for State Treasurer were Allan Martin and Jim McIntire (44 to 40 percent of the vote). Martin won by a much wider margin in Yakima County, where he received 54 percent of the vote.
By contrast, Yakima County voters gave incumbent State Auditor Brian Sonntag a closer margin of victory in the primary compared to statewide numbers. Voters sent Sonntag on to the general election with 48 percent of the vote (compared to 60 percent statewide). He will face challenger J. Richard McEntee in the general election, who finished with 43 percent of the vote in Yakima County and 33 percent statewide.
Attorney General Rob McKenna advanced to the general election with 55 percent of the vote statewide. Challenger John Ladenburg garnered 44 percent of the vote and will face McKenna in the general election.
Statewide, Doug Sutherland narrowly edged Peter Goldmark 50.33 to 49.67 percent in the Commissioner of Public Lands race. Both will face-off again this November.
In the Superintendent for Public Instruction primary race, incumbent Terry Bergeson (41 percent) and challenger Randy Dorn (30 percent) will vie in the general election.
Insurance Commissioner incumbent Mike Kreidler (54 percent) and challenger John Adams (35 percent) also moved on to the November contest.
In keeping with the state's new primary system, the top two in each race now advance to the Tuesday, Nov. 4, general election.