The following are summaries of The Spokesman-Review’s endorsements in selected primary races. The full editorials are available here.
U.S. Senate: Patty Murray (D) and Dino Rossi (R).
Three-term Democrat Murray is a shoo-in to advance to the general election, where her influence for the state will be tested by a call for more fiscal restraint. Former state Sen. Rossi has the experience and pragmatic outlook to carry the latter argument in a showdown that will require a difficult choice in November.
Legislative District 3, Position 1: Andy Billig (D)
Billig has the leadership skills, business acumen and civic resume to step in and make an impact. He gets the nod over social service veteran Louise Chadez, Spokane City Councilman Bob Apple and GOP political novice Dave White.
Legislative District 6, Position 2: Shelly O’Quinn (R)
O’Quinn demonstrates the type of moderate conservatism that has become increasingly rare in Olympia. Driscoll, the Democratic incumbent, took moderate stances but didn’t have a big impact. Ahern remains too rigidly ideological.
Spokane County Commissioner District 3: Al French (R)
With his accomplishments on the Spokane City Council and the Spokane Transit Authority, French has shown he has the leadership skills to effect positive changes. He would be a more effective leader than incumbent Bonnie Mager.
Spokane County Assessor: Ralph Baker (R)
Incumbent Baker faces a crowded field and accusations of low office morale. However, a state review ranked his office high for accuracy and fairness of property assessments. He has also a user-friendly website that even his opponents have praised.
Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney: Chris Bugbee (R)
After years of complaints about the lack of leadership in this office and the paucity of decent challengers to incumbent Steve Tucker, voters now have a better choice. Chris Bugbee has solid experience as a prosecutor and defense counsel and the right vision to take charge of the office and raise its public image.
Supreme Court Justice, Position 1: Jim Johnson
Johnson has won over many of the doubters who felt he was a mere ideologue when he won this position. Endorsements from fellow justices, Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna and Democratic state Auditor Brian Sonntag blunt charges that he is too political for the position.
Supreme Court Justice, Position 6: Richard Sanders
The personal gaffes of the incumbent Sanders are vexing, but he is a smart justice whose passionate dissents force the other justices to dig deeper and sharpen their rulings. His libertarian iconoclasm bucks conservatives on tough-on-crime cases and frustrates liberals in regulatory matters. He is solid on open government issues.
Court of Appeals, Division 3: Laurel Siddoway
Siddoway, who was appointed to the position, and Harvey Dunham have widely divergent political backgrounds, but Siddoway has the superior legal knowledge for the position, as judged by her peers.