Washington voters made ready for the fall General Election by choosing their favorites to advance beyond the first cut — the qualifying election called the Top 2 Primary.
There were surprises — such as several state Senate incumbents who were attempting to fend off strong challenges — and the twist of producing several marquee November finals that will feature finalists from the same party preference.
Prime example: 4th Congressional District voters in Eastern Washington were choosing two Republicans, former Super Bowl football player Clint Didier and former lawmaker and state agriculture director Dan Newhouse, as the top two. Although the GOP vote was spread amongst eight candidates, Didier and Newhouse still were collecting enough votes to outdistance both of the Democratic hopefuls. Rep. Doc Hastings is departing after 20 years in office.
Two Republicans also were winning a state Senate Top 2 Primary in the Auburn area 31st District: the senior state senator, Pam Roach, and her House district-mate and challenger, Cathy Dahlquist, were neck-and-neck. Democrats had a similar lock on runoff spots in the open 37th District Senate race: Pramila Jaypal and Louis Watanabe.
Republican Senate incumbents in Puget Sound country were faring well. But a maverick Democrat who helped form a GOP-dominated Senate majority coalition, Tim Sheldon, was in a tight race to win a runoff spot in the 35th District.
Voters in many areas were choosing courthouse officials and some jurisdictions had ballot measures. Seattle voters, for instance, were approving a parks measure.
There were no statewide offices, U.S. Senate races or propositions on the primary ballot this year. All 10 U.S. House seats were on the ballot, as were 25 Senate districts and all 98 state House seats.
About 936,000 ballots were tabulated by election night, for a turnout of 24 percent of registered voters so far. Secretary of State Kim Wyman said that turnout number should grow to the upper 30s by the time all incoming ballots are received. That would be one of the best turnouts in the country, she noted.