Ballots for the Washington primary election were mailed out Friday, kicking off the 18-day voting period that ends Aug. 2.
The editorial board has been interviewing candidates in select races for the past five weeks. For the most part, we concentrated on contests with at least three viable candidates, knowing the top two finishers will advance to the next round. Five statewide races have no incumbents, and those fields are crowded, mostly with candidates from the West Side. We weren’t familiar with many of them, so we felt those interviews were of particular importance to our readers.
Congressional District 5: We’d like to see incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers square off in debates with independent-minded Dave Wilson.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Former Rogers High School teacher Erin Jones has the resume and passion to try to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and the rest.
Auditor’s Office: Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy has the experience needed to restore stability and respect to an office tainted by a boss consumed with personal legal battles.
Public Lands Commissioner: Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has the edge in wildfire knowledge and experience. King County Councilman and former legislator Dave Upthegrove boasts impressive conservation achievements and could bring the agency a morale boost.
Treasurer: The current treasurer, Jim McIntire, has done a solid job and kept the tax-code-reform conversation going. His endorsement of Alec Fisken tips the scales for us.
Lieutenant Governor: Some candidates were overly ambitious, apparently hoping to stretch the position past its boundaries. By contrast, we were impressed with Sen. Steve Hobbs’ moderation and impartiality.
Spokane County Commission, District 1: Political veteran Nancy McLaughlin, who was appointed to the commission, and Spokane City Councilwoman Candace Mumm are more experienced and pragmatic than Josh Kerns. We’d like to see them face off in the general election.
Legislative District 6, Position 1: Lynnette Vehrs’ leadership skills in the nursing field would translate well to the Legislature. She is our choice to replace outgoing Rep. Kevin Parker.
Legislative District 3, Position 2: Long-serving Rep. Timm Ormsby has moved into a key leadership role on the House Appropriations Committee. He is the easy choice in an otherwise weak field.
Spokane County Fire District 4 Levy: We did not write a full editorial on this, but we urge voters to renew the levy for emergency medical services, as they have since the 1990s. Demand for service is up, and the cost – $8.33 per month on a $200,000 home – is well worth it.
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