Community Post

Primary election

Ballots for the August primary arrive in CD mailboxes this week.  The state-wide races are more contested than the local competitions.

Fifteen candidates appear on the ballot for the US Senator.  Incumbent Democrat Patty Murray and Republican Challengers Clint Didier and Dino Rossi have received the most state-wide attention.  The top two vote-getters will advance to the November ballot.

Two of the three State Supreme Court races are contested.  In Position No. 1, incumbent Jim Johnson is the target of “Yank Eyman’s Johnson,” a cleverly-named progressive campaign stressing his relationship with perennial right-wing activist Tim Eyman.  

In Position No. 6, incumbent Richard Sanders is being challenged by Pierce County Suprior Court Judge Bryan Chushoff and Former Court of Appeals Judge Charlie Wiggins.  Sanders’ voter statement claims “more than 1000 endorsers” whereas Wiggins’ notes he was voted “exceptionally well-qualified” by local bar associations.

Much of the southern and central CD is in the 37th State Legislative District.  The race for District 37 State Senator lists two choices, long-serving Democratic Senator Adam Kline and schools sports official/real estate agent Tamra Smilanich who lists no party preference.  Both these candidates will presumably advance to the fall ballot.  Regular CDN readers will recall that local activist/author/educator Eric Liu campaigned for this position before withdrawing for personal reasons earlier this year.

Democratic State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos is running unopposed.  Fellow 37th district Democrat Rep. Eric Pettigrew is challenged by John Stafford who is also listed as preferring the Democratic party. A UW Social Work graduate and former deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Norm Rice, Pettigrew has served in the legislature since 2002, chairs the House Health & Human Services Committee and is a member of the powerful Ways & Means committee.  According to his voter statement, Stafford has run twice (unsuccessfully) for the state legislature, runs a consulting firm, and is a full-time substitute teacher for the Seattle Public Schools.

The August ballot also contains the election for party precinct officers.  Running unopposed is Leschi Community Council President Sharon Sobers who was captured by a CDN photographer at the 2009 Flo Ware Park celebration.

The northern part of the CD falls into the 43rd Legislative District.  State Senator Ed Murray runs unopposed, as does Rep. Jamie Pedersen.  Both are openly-gay Democrats, and Pederson holds Murray’s former position.  Also in the 43rd, Republican political activist Kim Verde is challenging longtime Democratic Speaker of the House Frank Chopp.  

0 thoughts on “Primary election

  1. The winner of this race will be seated on the court. There won’t be a run-off in the fall. I did a little research on Johnson and here’s what I found:

    From the Seattle PI on the 2006 ruling upholding Washington State’s Defense Of Marriage Act:
    “James Johnson provided a different legal rationale in separate opinion [he more actively opposed the idea of letting same-sex couples marry], which Sanders also signed. He is the court’s newest justice, elected in 2004 and backed mainly by conservative groups and property-rights advocates. As a veteran appeals lawyer, he defended anti-tax initiatives and spent 20 years working for the state Attorney General’s Office. Johnson, 60, wrote a sharp dissent in November contending that a woman should not be able to seek parental rights to a girl she helped raise with her same-sex partner.”

    There’s not much info on his challenger, but there is a profile at

    It can be easy to forget or dismiss voting in a primary election, but they are just as important as the general election. Please remember to vote.

  2. If they get one more liberal trial lawyer justice on that court and you’ll be taxed to death if possible. No more initiatives will ever stand.
    Rumbaugh, recent board member of planned parenthood, cannot match Johnson’s legal experience. While Rumbaugh has trial experience, he has personally argued only a few cases at the appellate and Supreme Court level.
    Johnson, by comparison, enjoyed a wide breadth of legal experience in both the public and private sector before his election as a justice six years ago. Johnson has written initiatives and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
    There is no doubt that Justice Johnson brings a moderating voice to the state Supreme Court. In that regard, he offers a small degree of diversity to a court that is skewed far to the left of center.

  3. jd98, thanks for your opinion. It sounds like you have some information on Rumbaugh’s experience. Do you have any links or resources you could share about his background? I like to be an informed voter, and found only limited information on Rumbaugh. For that matter, I would also appreciate additional information on Johnson.


  4. Equal Rights Washington endorses Rumbaugh and Wiggins as the pro-marriage equality candidates