Primary bumps races up to August

Political

Columnist

Baseball season traditionally opens in early April. The National Football League season starts in mid-September. And Washington’s political season traditionally begins on Labor Day weekend, about two weeks in front of the September primary. That tradition has changed in three ways.

First, Washington’s primary is now the third Tuesday in August. Second, forget going to the polls. This year, we’ll all cast our ballots by mail. Third, political primaries for parties no longer exist. We now have a “top two” system where the top two vote getters will appear on the November ballot regardless of party. In the race for King County executive, with four Democrats running in a five person field, you could conceivably have two Democrats squaring off against each other in November (though this is unlikely).

There are only four countywide contests on the August ballot, but all of them are important and are worthy of your attention. November’s ballot will feature many more contests because there are only two candidates running, which makes a “top two” primary unnecessary.

KingCounty executive

There are two county council members running for this contest, Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips, both liberal Democrats from Seattle. If you like the way the county is being governed, either Dow or Larry is your man.

There are also two eastside legislators running, Fred Jarrett from Mercer Island and Ross Hunter from Bellevue-Medina. Both are moderate to liberal Democrats, and both are highly regarded in both their districts and in the state capitol. Both are highly critical of the way King County is run and the unions are attacking Hunter because they’d much rather have Dow Constantine on the November ballot.

And then there’s Susan Hutchison, former KIRO-TV anchor and head of Charles Simonyi’s foundation. If you want an “about face” in the direction of county government, Susie’s your choice. Critics say she doesn’t have any government experience. That is true. Then again, the most experienced people in county government, led by Ron Sims, put us in the situation we’re in today. How’s that working for you?

Court of Appeals, Div. 1, Dist.1, Position 3

Anne Ellington is a widely respected, veteran jurist being challenged by a lawyer named Robert D. Kelly. This particular contest will be settled on the August ballot. Kelly has little legal experience and hasn’t offered a solid reason to replace the incumbent. Stick with Ellington.

Port of Seattle, Position 3

Eastsider David Doud has wisely made an issue of the fact that none of the county wide Port of Seattle Commissioners lives outside the Seattle city limits. He’s being challenged labor backed candidate Rob Holland. Doud would not only be a superb member of the port commission, he’d also be a rising star in county politics. Go with Doud.

Port of Seattle, Position 4

A much noisier primary for the port commission is Position 4 with four candidates, including Max Vekich, a liberal former state legislator, and political newcomer Tom Albro, a successful entrepreneur who’s been active in the Municipal League, youth coaching and scouts. The port needs more business smarts. Vote for Albro.