With no local school or city offices up for grabs the spotlight was on national campaigns during yesterday's primary election.
Dino Rossi, a Republican, sailed through to the November general election by grabbing 34 percent of the vote statewide Tuesday night, second to incumbent Patty Murray, a Democrat. Despite being the leading vote-getter in the crowded U.S. Senate race, Murray garnered just 46 percent of the ballots cast.
Besides Rossi, 12 percent of the statewide Senate vote went to another Republican, Clint Didier. Assuming Didier's votes go to Rossi in the general election that means Rossi and Murray figure to be in a tight race this November.
Yakima County residents gave Murray just 30 percent of their vote.
"Washington state voters know they can count on Dino Rossi to help spur job growth and represent their best interests and values in D.C., and that's why I'm confident they will elect him as their next U.S. Senator this November," said U.S. Senator John Cornyn, chair of the national Republican senatorial committee.
Cornyn's counterpart, Democrat Robert Menendez, praised Murray's campaign.
"For Democrats in Washington to be successful this November, we must be aggressive in framing the choice for voters," Cornyn said. "Patty Murray is focused on Washington's middle class and growing the economy."
Incumbent U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings, a Republican, found himself in a six-way primary race for his Fourth District seat.
Hastings easily advanced to November's general election with 58 percent of the vote. In the general election he will face Democrat Jay Clough, who garnered 23 percent of the vote yesterday.
"Receiving such a strong percentage in a six-way race is encouraging," Hastings said of his primary showing. "I'm grateful for the support of voters who are responding to my strong stances opposing the bailouts, stopping the out-of-control government spending, and getting our economy back on track."
Locally, there were two primary races of note.
One involved three candidates for the Yakima County District Court Judge, Pos. 4, seat. Doug Federspiel and Michael Everett advanced to the November general election with 44 and 40 percent of the vote, respectively. A third candidate, backed by Sen. Jim Honeyford and other key Republicans, was Bronson Faul who garnered just 15 percent of the vote.
The other primary race of note was for Yakima County Commissioner, Dist. 3, which represents an area that includes the Lower Valley. Incumbent Rand Elliott advanced with 53 percent of the vote, while Kenneth L. Stevens will join him on the November ballot with 29 percent of the vote.
In a statewide judicial primary race, Richard B. Sanders and Charlie Wiggins received 47 and 39 percent of the vote respectively to advance as the top two candidates for the State Supreme Court justice, Pos. 6.
In other election results from last night, Lower Valley voters decided three races for precinct committee officer.
Republican Joyce Johnson defeated Democrat Donicio Marichalar for precinct 0302, 81 votes to 37; Ronald Sexton defeated Diego Trejo, both Republicans, 128-46 for precinct 0306; and Republican Jason Raines defeated Democrat Thomas Peterson 78 to 59 for precinct 1706.
While the primary vote decided the precinct races and they will not appear on the Nov. 2 ballot, other two-way races on the ballot last night served as a warm-up for the general election in a little more than two months.
The preview with by far the closest outcome was for county auditor, where incumbent Democrat Corky Mattingly edged Republican challenger Mark Peterson 53 to 46 percent. The margin is less than 2,000 votes, as Mattingly leads 13,385 to 11,659.
County clerk incumbent Kim Eaton easily oudistanced challenger Janelle Riddle, 60 to 39 percent, while prosecuting attorney incumbent Jim Hagarty prevailed with 74 percent of the vote over E. David Lees.
Incumbent Ken Irwin also appears to have a big edge heading into the November general election race as he grabbed 97 percent of the vote for sheriff over write-in challenger Kelly Rosenow.
Contests for two Lower Valley state legislative seats for the 15th District were also previewed last night. Pos. 1 incumbent Bruce Chandler earned 67 percent of the vote over Paul Spencer and Pos. 2 incumbent David Taylor surged past Tom Silva with 66 percent of the vote.
There was also a judicial race preview, as Jim Johnson received 63 percent of the vote for Supreme Court Justice, Pos. 1 and Stan Rumbaugh garnered 37 percent.
In uncontested primary results, 15th District Senator Jim Honeyford and Supreme Court Justice, Pos. 5 incumbent Barbara Madsen, both received 100 percent of the votes cast.
In precinct committee officer results with only one candidate, Don Vlieger received 90 percent of the vote for 1701, J.R. Hale 95 percent of the vote for 1703, Mike Farmer 96 percent for 1705, Don Padelford 95 percent for 1708 and Mike Wallace 99 percent for 3101.
The Yakima County Auditor's office will update the primary results each day after 4 p.m. The primary results will be certified on Wednesday, Sept. 1.