If ever there was a primary season akin to watching paint dry,

If ever there was a primary season akin to watching paint dry, 2014’s is it. There’s no contentious mayor’s race, no raging socialist making a serious bid for the City Council. Fact is, the ballot that arrived in your mailbox last week probably seems less important than those of years past. But blowing off the August 5 primary election would be a mistake—and not just for all the democratic reasons they taught you about in Civics. Depending on where you live, here are three reasons why.

Proposition 1 Without Seattle’s 400-plus parks, life in the city would pretty much suck. But do we love parks enough to create a new Metropolitan Parks District intended to be a more stable funding source than the levy system we currently use to fund parks (which, by the way, has left us with an estimated $267 million maintenance backlog)? While progressive Seattle has never shied away from taxing itself for a worthy liberal cause, with universal preschool and Metro tax votes also looming, just how loose will the Emerald City’s purse strings be? The August primary will decide the matter.

Roach vs. Dahlquist What’s more fun than watching two grossly conservative Republicans go toe-to-toe in a no-holds-barred political cage match? Well, it helps when one of them is arguably batshit crazy, just like Sen. Pam Roach. Having served in Olympia for longer than is fathomable given her infamous mean streak and tendency toward the bizarre, Roach is being challenged by current Republican Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, who has called Roach a bully who threatens people. Tell us something we don’t know, Cathy!

Spear vs. Chopp Socialist Kshama Sawant got her start doing battle with all-powerful Democratic House Speaker Frank Chopp. Back in 2012, Sawant emerged as the socialist darling, and, with the help of a grassroots campaign, secured nearly 30 percent in that year’s general election. This year, Jess Spear—a climate scientist and the architect of Sawant’s successful City Council bid—is trying to do what her former boss couldn’t: take down Chopp. Spear’s chances seem minimal. Still, it’ll be interesting to test the inroads Sawant has made in Seattle over the past few years. The Spear vs. Chopp primary vote will be a good gauge of just how socialist Seattle has become.


Art Credit: “Republican” by Benjamin Harlow from The Noun Project