The filing deadline came and went last Friday, which means we finally know who is actually running for office in 2020.
The big news, as we mentioned in Slog PM last week, was that Republican Rep. Matt Shea, noted patron of terror, did not file for reelection. For some reason, Republican Rep. Bob McCaslin, who represents the same district, filed for that seat instead. Nurse practitioner Lori Feagan has taken on the task of reminding her fellow residents that Democrats do exist in Spokane Valley, and we wish her luck.
Though an alleged terrorist won't be on the ballot this year, "his ideology definitely will be," said Will Casey, spokesperson for the state Democratic party. Casey claimed "several Republican incumbents" who have been "extremely out of step" with the mainstream opinion on the pandemic represent "very winnable districts" across the state, and he thinks Democrats will be able to expand their sizable majority in both statehouse chambers this cycle.
In addition to nearly every seat in the Legislature, this year Washingtonians will elect all of the state's executive positions, all ten of its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and gobs of judicial positions. The presidential election cycle promises to draw the largest, angriest electorate the state has ever seen, though the pandemic might dampen campaigns and any get-out-the-vote efforts. Let's take a quick glance at the races to keep an eye on.
So far there are only a few interesting races here.
• The race to fill outgoing U.S. Rep. Denny Heck's seat in the 10th Congressional District will probably draw the most attention, with former State Rep. Kristine Reeves, former State Rep. Beth Doglio (who recently scored endorsements from the Washington State Labor Council and Rep. Pramila Jayapal), former Seattle Chamber of Commerce CEO Marilyn Strickland, and socialist truck driver/TikTok candidate Joshua Collins contending seriously. Collins filed as a member of the brand new Essential Workers party rather than as a member of the Democratic party.
• Now with early support from EMILY's list at the DCCC, Washington State University-Vancouver professor Carolyn Long is running a rematch against Republican U.S. House Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in southwest Washington. In 2018, Long needed to increase support in the more left-leaning Clark County and narrow the gap in Trumpian strongholds such as Lewis County, so we'll see if she can get that done this year.
• In the Puget Sound region, two progressive candidates are taking on incumbent Dems. Over in District 6, Rebecca Parson has been giving U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer a run for his money. And up in District 2, Jason Call is hoping to take down Rep. Rick Larsen. Both challengers have earned endorsements from Our Revolution and their local Democratic Socialists of America chapters.
• Though it was the most expensive race in the country in 2018, the race this year in the 8th Congressional District looks dumb, with Rep. Kim Schrier fending off perennial Republican loser Keith Swank and Amazon manager Jesse Jensen from the right, and fending off no major challenger from the left.
• Seattle U.S. House Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith have avoided any meaningful competition.
• The governor's race is busy, but it's looking like it will ultimately be a showdown between third-time returning champ Gov. Jay Inslee and virus party planner Tim Eyman, though controversy magnet Joshua Freed appears to be the party's preferred choice at the moment. Inslee's polling numbers look good so far, and the Democrats are pretty confident he'll glide to an easy reelection. The ghost of the Trump v Clinton haunts this race a bit, but Washington state isn't as wild as the electoral college. That said, Eyman's batshit initiatives have a tendency of winning statewide, so there's no sense in not treating Eyman seriously.
• The Lieutenant Governor's race to replace Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, who left the office for the cloth earlier this year, WAS going to be the hottest, steamiest race in the state this cycle, as the position's proximity to the Governor's chair draws politicians horny for power. But then Monday State Senator Steve Hobbs, a Level 75 necromancer who has single-handedly blocked several of the governor's modest environmental bills, dropped out of the race to focus on commanding the National Guard's COVID-19 response in Western Washington. On the Democratic side, that leaves retiring U.S. House Rep. Denny Heck, who had his congressional seat drawn for him in 2010 and who delayed retirement from public office to run for the seat, facing off against State Senator and Democratic Floor Leader Marko Liias, who is positioning himself as the progressive in the race. Semi-serious Republican candidates in this race include failed Seattle City Council Candidate Ann Davison Sattler and former Pierce County Republican Party Chair Marty McClendon.
• Democratic Rep. Gael Tarleton is challenging Republican Kim Wyman for Secretary of State. Wyman has come under fire for the troubled VoteWA rollout, and Tarleton seems focused on that.
A handful of progressive Democrats are challenging incumbents, which is fun, as Democrats try to defend their majorities while also expanding a bit.
• Over in the 5th Legislative District, DINO State Senator Mark Mullet will take a break from organizing ice cream socials and from having someone install his pool to face Democratic challenger Ingrid Anderson, a nurse who has already picked up several union endorsements.
• In south Seattle's 11th LD, Rep. Zack Hudgins, who hasn't seen a Democratic primary challenger since 2012, will face off against Washington State Human Rights Commissioner David Hackney—assuming someone named Jay Stark doesn't make it through the primary. Hackney plans to run partly on tenants issues against the landlord, who voted against modest tenant protections last session.
• In the Stranger's own (for now) 43rd LD, Rep. Frank Chopp, who stepped down last year as House Speaker after nearly two decades on the job, is looking at a couple primary challenges in Seattle LGBTQ Commissioner Jessi Murray and consultant and community organizer Sherae Lascelles.
• Rep. Eric Pettigrew left his seat in south Seattle's 37th Legislative District to work for the NHL earlier this year. Six Democrats and one Republican have thrown their hats in the ring since then. The candidates with the highest name recognition by my lights are former Seattle City Councilmember Kirsten Harris-Talley and Seattle Parks and Recreation Environmental Engagement Manager at Chukundi Salisbury. However, Rep. Pettigrew has endorsed Byrd Barr Place CEO Andrea Caupain.
• With Rep. Tarleton making a bid for SOS, Seattle's 36th LD is up for grabs. That race will somehow only feature three contenders, but I've only really heard of two: former National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington president Liz Berry and Assistant Attorney General Sarah Reyneveld.
• Democrats might be able to make some gains up in the 10th Legislative District, which covers northern Puget Sound. Republican Rep. Norma Smith retired this year, leaving her House seat open. Four Democrats, including nurse Suzanne Woodard, and a Republican are gunning for it. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Ron Muzzall is facing a Democratic challenger in Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson. Casey said the "10th LD has been trending Democratic for a while," and thinks they might pick up there.
• Casey added that Democrats will take on admittedly "uphill" battles against Shea-adjacent Reps. Vicki Kraft (17th LD) and Jesse Young (26th LD), "who have attended numerous of Shea's rallies, and who have yet to put forth a single health official who thinks that the herd immunity policy they advocate for isn't a one-way ticket to overwhelming our hospitals." Educator and foster care advocate Tanisha L. Harris is running against Kraft, and Key Peninsula Community Services Board director Carrie Hesch is running against Young. So is some guy named Drew Darsow.
• Casey also mentioned 35th LD Republican Rep. Drew C. MacEwen, a Facebook shill and one of the four lawmakers who filed an inane lawsuit against Gov. Insee, who will square off against Darcy Huffman, who runs communications for a Lutheran church and has a background in finance. WA State Health Care Authority analyst Colton Myers is running against Republican Rep. Dan Griffey for the other House seat in the 35th. The district used to be blue, but has since "faded purple." Plus there's Puyallup high school teacher Jamie Smith, who hopes to unseat Kelly Chambers in the 25th District. Though the Republicans are all incumbents defending pretty safe seats, Casey said he's "never seen seen an incumbent win reelection by defying the opinion of three-quarters of their own party, much less the broader public," referring to a Crosscut/Elway poll on the popularity of Inslee's Stay Home orders.
• In the vein of tough-but-interesting races, University Place School Board Director T'wina Nobles is looking to take down Sen. Steve O'ban in the 28th LD down in Pierce County.
• Several Democrats and a couple Republicans are looking to fill Rep. Sherry Appleton's seat in Kitsap County's 23rd LD. Tarra Simmons, lawyer and director at the Civil Survival Project, has been campaigning hard for that seat since last October. If elected, she'd be the first former inmate to serve in the Washington legislature, according to OPB.