Courthouse Journal Blog

The Courthouse Journal is the official weekly newsletter of the Washington Association of County Officials. The Courthouse Journal Blog is a collection of publications relevant to WACO members, their staff, and others. *This blog is not updated on a schedule.

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Aug 07

August 4 Primary Election Summary

Posted on August 7, 2020 at 8:50 AM by Melanie Terry

The State held its primary election on August 4th. Votes are still being counted and will not be certified by the Secretary of State until August 21st. Washington’s top-two primary dictates which two candidates qualify for the general election.

State Executive Races:

From the current vote totals, Governor Jay Inslee and Loren Culp will move on to the general election.  Mr. Culp is a Republican and current Police Chief in Republic, Washington.  Governor Inslee has received about 51% of the votes, while Mr. Culp received roughly 17%.  

The Lt. Governor’s race had a lot of candidates (11) with Congressman Denny Heck (27%) and State Senator Marko Liias (17%) the two-top vote-getters.  Both Democrats will face off in the general election.  

Incumbent Secretary of State, Kim Wyman (R) is winning that primary with 51% of the vote.  State Representative Gael Tarleton (D) received about 44% of the vote and the two will face each other again in November. 

Incumbent State Treasurer Duane Davidson (R) is running for re-election and received 47% of the vote.  In November, he will face State Representative Mike Pelliciotti (D) who is winning that primary with 53% of the vote. 

State Auditor Pat McCarthy (D) is winning her primary with 48% and will face Chris Leyba (R) (41%) in the general.

In the other state-wide races, the incumbents are winning their primaries with large leads.  They and the second-place finishers include:

  • State Attorney General:  Bob Ferguson (D), 56%;  Matt Larkin (R), 29%
  • Commissioner of Public Lands:  Hilary Franz (D), 51%; Sue Kuehl Pederson (R) 23%
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction:  Chris Reykdal, 40%; Maia Espinoza 25%
  • Insurance Commissioner: Mike Kreidler, 59%; Chirayu Avinash Patel, 28%

State Legislature Races

All the House and half the Senate (26) are up for election in 2020.  Currently, the Democrats control both the House (57 -41) and the Senate (28-21). Urban Washington is largely Democratic and rural Washington is largely Republican, thus, while there were several retirements after last session, many of the legislative districts reflect this urban/rural divide so legislative seats “flipping” to the other side is rare. Yet, this primary has several legislative races that may do just that. The Senate Democrats could pick up two seats and the House Democrats could lose two seats.


Four Washington State incumbents garnered below 50% in their primaries. In the 28th District (University Place/Lakewood) incumbent Republican, Senator Steve O’Ban is currently in a virtual tie with challenger Twina Nobles (D).  Both currently have 49.9% of the vote and the current margin is less than 30 votes in favor of Ms. Nobles.  

In the 10th District, recently appointed Senator Ron Muzzall (R) is slightly behind challenger and current Island County Commissioner, Helen Price Johnson (D) (49% to 51%). In the 19th District, incumbent Senator Dean Takko (D) has 45% of the vote.  Challenger, Jeff Wilson (R) appears to be headed to the general election with currently 39% of the vote.  The 19th District was one of the few rural districts where Democrats won legislative seats.  However, that changed in 2016, when Republican Jim Walsh (R) won a House seat.  The other 19th District House seat holder, long-time incumbent, Brian Blake, is behind in his primary, 47% to 53% so this legislative district could be changing.

The 5th District (Issaquah) incumbent Senator Mark Mullet (D) is facing a challenge from another Democrat, Ingrid Anderson, who is now narrowly ahead by 119 votes.


Longtime 5th District Democratic incumbent, Brian Blake is now behind Republican challenger, Joel McEntire, 47% to 53%. In the 42nd District (Whatcom County), incumbent Sharon Shewmake (D) is trailing Republican challenger, Jennifer Sefzik, 49% to 51%. 

Written By Michael Shaw