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Happy Primary Election Day

Washington’s statewide primary election rolls out today, Aug. 2

August 2, 2016

Happy Primary Election Day/Week! Odd as it seems — yes, smack in the middle of some of the balmiest days of summer — Washington’s statewide primary election rolls out today, Aug. 2. In true form, it could take a while for all results to be clear.

Gail Collins of the New York Times once famously described Washington as a place that “appears to bring the ballots in by Pony Express and then lets them age in oak casks a month or two until they are ready to be sampled.’’ No matter.

Beginning this Friday, Aug. 5, Enrique Cerna, KCTS 9 moderator, and Joni Balter, KCTS 9 political analyst, will make sense of available results. Catch the discussion here.

You can watch this at your desk, and your boss will think you are having deep, patriotic thoughts.

The hottest primary contest is the 7th Congressional District race, the battle to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, who served the Seattle district for 28 years. From the primary, we will learn which two of three top contenders — Brady Walkinshaw, Pramila Jayapal or Joe McDermott (no relation to Jim McDermott) — will advance to the November general election. We will also have some idea of how much the name McDermott impacted voters. One poll a few months ago suggested it mattered a lot.

We will discuss statewide races for governor and U.S. Senate. Obviously, we will not have true results for those contests until November. But we can extrapolate a bit to see, for example, if the Trump Question, played big, little or not at all.

Did Bill Bryant, Republican candidate for governor, fare better or worse against Jay Inslee, the incumbent Democratic governor, than Republican Chris Vance did in his effort to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Patty Murray?

In fairness, the incumbents and challengers are vastly different people addressing different issues. But in an unusual move, Vance repeatedly said that he could never support Donald Trump for our country’s highest office. Bryant was advised to keep clam on the matter — awkward as it is for him many a day.

Seattle voters probably will approve the latest Seattle Housing Levy, though, at $290 million, it doubles previous spending. Is there a bigger issue these days than affordable housing and homelessness? Probably not.

Timing of the measure follows a tradition around here of scheduling expensive levies. The housing levy is offered in August, so as not to conflict with the monster regional ask, Sound Transit 3, in November. One at a time — the PEZ dispenser of money requests. ST3, as it is called, raises taxes over many years, and it is a whopping $54 billion endeavor.

Ballots have been out for many days. And — if you want to avoid the cost of a stamp — you can drive, bike, walk or skateboard to a ballot drop box in the area. Civic duty, done.


Joni Balter

Joni Balter is a multi-media journalist and lecturer at Seattle University and the University of Washington Evans Graduate School of Public Policy and Governance. A KCTS 9 political analyst and advisor, she has contributed to KUOW and Bloomberg View, and was a columnist for The Seattle Times. More stories by Joni Balter