While it may seem as though the 2016 election season has gone on for a year – and for the presidential campaign it has – Washington candidates for all other spots on the ballot must make it official this week.
Whether they’ve been making speeches and accepting campaign money for months, or quietly weighing their options before jumping into a race, all candidates for state and local office must file their paperwork, and in most cases pay a fee, by Friday afternoon.
The list of available state executive, judicial and legislative offices to be elected this year is long and the primary ballot could be extensive. Patty Murray, the state’s senior senator, is seeking a fifth term, and the entire U.S. House delegation, including 12-year-veteran Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, is up for election.
Murray, a Democrat, has several opponents hoping to retire her, including former state Republican Chairman Chris Vance.
McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, also has drawn several opponents, including her 2014 general election foe Joe Pakootas, a Democrat.
The state’s nine elected executive offices are also on the ballot. Gov. Jay Inslee is running for a second term, and has six announced opponents based on filings with the state Public Disclosure Commission. The only one with significant financial backing thus far is Republican Bill Bryant, a Seattle Port District commissioner.
Five statewide officials will retire, swelling the ranks of would-be replacements. Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is calling it quits after 20 years, prompting 10 people – including four legislators – to announce plans to take his place.
Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark will retire after two terms, and five people have notified the PDC they want that job. Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, who hinted for months he might run for governor but last week said he wouldn’t, also is retiring; six people are trying to mount campaigns for that post.
Also retiring is State Treasurer James McIntire, with four would-be replacements on file with the PDC.
State Auditor Troy Kelley spent the last half of his term under the cloud of a federal indictment which resulted in a trial that recently ended in a hung jury, and he said he won’t seek re-election. Three potential candidates plan to run for that job.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler are running for re-election. Only Ferguson is without an announced opponent.
Three state Supreme Court justices – Barbara Madsen, Mary Yu and Charles Wiggins – are also on the statewide ballot.
All of the state House of Representatives are up for re-election, as is half the Senate. With each party holding a slim majority in one chamber, some of those races are expected to be hotly, and expensively, contested.
Two Spokane County commissioners, Nancy McLaughlin and Shelly O’Quinn, are also on the ballot. Commissioners run in their district in the Aug. 2 primary, but countywide in the general election.
Potential state, legislative and county candidates must file some reports with the PDC a short time after making an announcement or accepting a contribution; congressional candidates have similar requirements with the Federal Elections Commission. But official candidate status in Washington for everyone but the president and vice president requires filing separate paperwork with the state or county elections office this week. Candidates must also pay a fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary, if the job has one. For Congress, governor and the Supreme Court, the fees are more than $1,700. For a legislative seat, it’s about $455.
Candidates have until Friday afternoon to get their paperwork and money in, but those filing at a county elections office should remember that different offices close at different times. In Spokane, the county elections office at 1033 W. Gardner Ave. closes at 4 p.m. The secretary of state’s office, where candidates must file if running in districts that span more than a single county, closes at 5 p.m.
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