by David Ammons | May 14th, 2012
Washington’s campaign season is officially under way.
Filing Week opened with a bang Monday with hundreds of candidates statewide filing for office. There are 344 state offices open this year, along with potentially thousands of party precinct committee officer slots.
Besides the presidential election and a U.S. Senate race, the state has an unusually rich assortment of open offices this year that are sure to attract heavy attention this week, says Secretary of State Sam Reed. Reed himself is an example of an officeholder who will turn over the reins to someone else. The state also will elect a new governor, attorney general and state auditor, in addition to numerous new judges, local officials and state and federal lawmakers.
There is unusual turnover in the state’s U.S. House delegation: Jay Inslee has resigned from the 1st District to run for governor, touching off two elections — one in the old 1st for the final month of his unexpired term, and a second contest in the newly redrawn 1st for the upcoming two-year term. Washington has a brand-new 10th District, thanks to population growth in the state, and Norm Dicks is retiring after a long career representing the 6th District. All districts have changed boundaries, some drastically.
Reed said he’s expecting heavy interest in running for office this year, and that most candidates have been fund-raising, organizing and campaigning for weeks or months. He added:
“The voters I’ve met as I traveled around the state in the past month are very enthused about this election, and you get the sense that it is a generational or ‘change’ election coming up. When you add the presidential election and potentially some very volatile ballot measures, we may see record voter registrations and record turnout.”
The crop of candidates who file this week will be on the Top 2 Primary ballot and the two favorites for each office will advance to the General Election. Ballots go out in July for the primary, with an Aug. 7 deadline for postmark or return to the elections office or a drop-box. The General Election deadline for return or postmark is Nov. 6.
Online filing runs day and night until 4 p.m. Friday, May 18. In-person filing ends at close of business on Friday. If you’re running for a legislative or judicial office within one county, you file with your county elections office. If you’re running for a legislative or judicial office encompassing more than one county, you file with the Secretary of State. You can file online, by mail, or in person. In-person candidate filing at the Secretary of State’s office will be at our Executive Office, second floor of the Legislative Building in Olympia.
Filing Week previously took place in early June, but a state law passed in 2011 moved it to mid-May, starting this year, to accommodate overseas and military voting. This year’s Top 2 Primary is a week earlier than last year.