Whatever blue wave was seen in other parts of the state, it doesn’t look ready to wipe out long-time Republican state Rep. Joel Kretz, who easily topped three challengers in the primary in the race for a 7th Legislative District house seat.
Kretz racked up 63 percent of the vote, while the next two closest candidates, Democrats Mike Bell and Crystal Oliver, drew 16.9 and 15.6 percent of the vote respectively, making the second-place finisher too close to call Tuesday night.
Both Bell and Oliver have accused Kretz of valuing campaign donations over the needs of his constituents.
Kretz raised significantly more money than the other candidates, with more than $71,000. By comparison, Bell raised about $34,000 and Oliver roughly $8,000.
Both Bell and Oliver said they would support the other if they made it to the general election.
“This is the year of the woman, and there are a lot of women voting,” Bell said. “If Crystal ends up going to the general, I will support her vigorously.”
Oliver said if she advances to the general election, she’ll be reaching out to Republicans and independents who have moved away from Kretz in recent years.
Bell, who had the second-highest number of votes as of Tuesday evening, said if he advances to the general election he’ll be ready to face Kretz head-on.
“I’m a fairly straightforward candidate, and not the typical politician,” he said. “I look forward to the next debate with Joel. Hopefully (voters) wake up and start voting for the best candidate, and not just the one that’s familiar.”
Attempts made to reach Kretz were unsuccessful.
It could take several more days of counting before it becomes clear which Democrat will emerge to face Kretz in the November election.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.