Labor-backed candidates in Washington advance from primary


Jay Inslee

Labor-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee and incumbent U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell advanced through Washington’s primary Aug. 7.

Under Washington’s “top two” primary system, the top two vote-getters move on to the general election, regardless of party.

Inslee, a former Democratic congressman who left mid-term to run for the open governor’s chair, was the top vote-getter (46.5 percent) among nine candidates. His opponent in November will be Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna (43.5 percent).

Cantwell, a Democrat in her second term in the U.S. Senate, captured 55 percent of the vote in an eight-person race. She faces Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner in November.

Inslee and Cantwell were endorsed by most unions, as well as the Washington State Labor Council.

In other statewide primary races, labor-endorsed candidates advancing to the general election included Bob Ferguson for attorney general; Brad Owen for lieutenant governor, Kathleen Drew for secretary of state, and Mike Kreidler for insurance commissioner.

With help from labor, incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn won re-election after earning 55.5 percent of the vote against four unknown candidates. The state’s top education post and judicial races are decided in the primary if one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

In races for  the Washington Supreme Court, Susan Owens captured 64 percent of the vote in Position 2 and Steven Gonzalez collected 58 percent of the vote in Position 8 to win outright. Both were endorsed by labor.

A WSLC dual endorsement for Supreme Court Position 9 fell short, with Bruce Hilyer and John Ladenburg finishing third and fourth, respectively, in a four-person race.

In legislative races involving candidates in Southwest Washington, labor-endorsed Tim Probst finished second behind incumbent Republican state Sen. Don Benton in District 17. The two will square off again in November.

Union member Monica Stonier, a school teacher, and Jim Gizzi advanced in their respective House races in District 17.

In District 49, labor-backed Annette Cleveland outpolled former Oregon legislator Eileen Qutub for an open state Senate. They will meet again in November. Incumbent District 49 state Reps. Sharon Wylie and Jim Moeller each advanced to the general election as well. Both had backing from several union locals.

In Clark County, two of four candidates endorsed by the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council advanced to the general election.

Union favorite Joe Tanner will meet incumbent Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke in November, Mielke took 40 percent of the vote to Tanner’s 31 percent in a five-person race in District 1.

In District 2, Democrat Roman Battan fell a couple hundred votes short of second place to two-term Republican incumbent Marc Boldt. Republican millionaire David Madore was the top vote getter with 32.6 percent. Boldt had 29.5 percent and Battan, who was running in his first political race, captured 28 percent of the vote.

Labor-endorsed Dave Gregerson pulled off a stunning victory over Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle, defeating him 54.5 percent to 45 percent. It is the first time in 37 years that a sitting judge has lost a re-election bid.

Gregerson, a private practice lawyer from Vancouver, doesn’t take office until Jan. 1, 2013.

In a seven-person race for Clark Public Utilities commissioner, union electrician Philip Parker finished out of the running behind Jim Malinowski and Julia Anderson.

Voter turnout in Clark County was 30.48 percent. Statewide, just over 36 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the all-mail election.


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