Incumbents dominant in primary

By Dennis Box and Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

Little changed in the days following the Aug. 19 primary election, as incumbents continued their winning ways in most elections - including races in the 31st Legislative District.

The Pierce County Auditor has updated results daily since the 19th on county Web site. Updates will continue until the election is certified Sept. 3.

The election provided voters with their first exposure to the “top-two” system, which means the two candidates with the most votes in any election, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election in November.

Early returns indicate the two races for state representative from the 31st District are following the pattern of incumbents coming out on top.

Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Greenwater, running for his second term, was winning with a 58 percent margin, 9,918 votes, for the position 2 seat.

The two Republican challengers for the seat, Josh Hulburt from Enumclaw and Sharon Hanek, who lives near Bonney Lake, are in a close race for the second spot on the ballot. As of Friday, Hulburt was holding the edge with 3,579 votes, or a bit more than 21 percent. Haneck had picked up 3,508 votes, or a little less than 21 percent.

In the other 31st District House race for the position 1 seat, Republican Dan Roach from Bonney Lake, the incumbent, was holding the lead over challenger Ron Weigelt, D-Buckley. Weigelt had 7,581 votes with 44 percent and Roach had nearly 56 percent with 9,737.

In the 8th Congressional District race, the top two finishers, as expected, were incumbent Republican Dave Reichert and Darcy Burner, a Democrat. They were among a field of six candidates. Reichert was leading with 48 percent, 49,325 votes, to Burner’s 45 percent, 46,149. The pair had squared off two years ago, with Reichert riding a slim victory to Washington, D.C.

In one of the most visible statewide race, Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, was holding an edge over Republican challenger Dino Rossi, 49 percent to 46 percent. Gregoire had 523,750 votes and Rossi 489,240. Rossi and Gregoire will go head-to-head in the general election, just as they did four years ago when Gregoire escaped with a controversial victory.

The superintendent of public instruction race has drawn considerable interest with challenger Randy Dorn - who has the backing of the powerful Washington Education Association - trying to unseat incumbent Terry Bergeson. Dorn was trailing Friday with 294,516 votes and more than 32 percent. Bergeson had more than 40 percent with 366,389 votes.

Most of the other statewide races lack any real drama.

For lieutenant governor, incumbent Democrat Brad Owen more than doubled the total of his Republican challenger Marcia McCraw. Incumbent Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, took 55 percent of the vote and, in November, will face Democrat Jason Osgood, who earned 33 percent. Incumbent Auditor Brian Sonntag earned 60 percent of the primary vote and will face Republican Richard McEntee, who had 34 percent. Attorney General Rob McKenna (R) bested Democratic challenger John Ladenburg, 56 percent to 44 percent. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler took 54 percent in his re-election bid, defeating Republican John Adams, who had 36 percent; in an interesting side note to the insurance race, Curtis Fackler, who stated “no party preference” managed almost 10 percent of the vote.

The closest statewide race was for commissioner of public lands. Incumbent Republican Doug Sutherland, a Republican, took less than 51 percent of the vote, while Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark grabbed more than 49 percent.

In all the statewide races, those with the top two totals will meet again on November’s general election ballot.

Reach Dennis Box at or 360-802-8209.

Reach Kevin Hanson at or 360-802-8205.

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