Voter turnout in our state, which appears likely to be high, is already driving next week’s election as Democrats will vote against President Donald Trump and Republicans will vote against Referendum 90, the comprehensive sexual health education measure. After consulting with some well known experts, here are my predictions of the state’s election winners.
If they are wrong, then I will get new experts next year.
The governor’s race in Washington isn’t expected to be close as incumbent Jay Inslee (D) garnered over 50% in the primary against a big field, and has raised over $7 million. His Republican opponent, Loren Culp, was in second place at 17% and has raised $2.8 million. Culp will pick up all Republican votes, so the margin will be closer. And while Inslee has had some bumps, the public gives Inslee good marks for his handling of COVID-19 as he put safety first by emphasizing people to stay away from big crowds, wear masks and stay a safe distance from others.
Culp, who is following President Trump’s model, has held several large gatherings where masks appeared optional and says he is “respecting citizen rights.” As police chief of Republic, Washington, Culp said he would not implement gun measures passed by the public. Being governor is not easy, and you don’t get to choose which laws you will enforce. Inslee is expected to win.
The two finalists for lieutenant governor are both Democrats — former Congressman Denny Heck and State Sen. Marko Liias. Former Republican candidate for governor Joshua Freed is running as a write-in and was thought to have a chance to shake up the tally, but has only raised about $100,000, while Heck has raised $1.1 million and Liias has raised $300,000. Heck is likely to win.
In this very blue state, Kim Wyman is the fifth Republican to hold the job of secretary of state since 1965, and will likely be re-elected. Wyman outpolled her Democratic opponent, Gael Tarleton, in the top two primary, 51% to 43%, and raised over $1 million while Tarleton has raised just under $1 million. Wyman won four years ago with 55% of the vote, although this race could be closer.
The other statewide elected Republican is State Treasurer Duane Davidson. Davidson got the endorsements of the major newspapers, but has only raised a little over $250,000 with his 46% showing in the primary. His opponent, Democratic State Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, held the primary lead with 54% of the vote, has raised $398,821 and is likely to prevail in November.
In the state auditor’s race, look for Democrat Pat McCarthy to retain her job over Republican Chris Leyba. McCarthy has not raised much money, but could raise it if needed, though her experience is far more applicable to the job than her police officer opponent.
Attorney General Democrat Bob Ferguson took 56% of the primary vote has raised $4.2 million and should be re-elected over Matt Larkin, who had 24% in the primary and has raised only $562,099.
Democrat Hilary Franz has raised almost $1 million to Sue Kuehl Pederson’s $69,218 and likely will be re-elected Commissioner of Public Lands.
Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has only raised $38,000, but claimed almost 60% of the primary vote and will defeat self-described “autistic savant” Republican Chirayu Avinash Patel, who has not raised any money.
The race for the non-partisan Superintendent of Public Instruction between incumbent Chris Reykdal, who used to be a classroom teacher and Democratic legislator, and his opponent Maia Espinoza, who ran for the Legislature as a Republican, has been overshadowed by both Referendum 90 and questions about Espinoza’s candor.
Espinoza claimed to operate a nonprofit organization and that she had a master’s degree, but the Associated Press discovered that neither claim was accurate. Reykdal has raised the most money at $230,000 and has gotten the major endorsements including the Washington Education Association. But as an example of the impact of Referendum 90 on the race, Reykdal only took 40% of the vote in the primary, and the anti-incumbent vote, while split among different challengers, was close to 60%. Reykdal is still expected to win.
In Congressional races, incumbents from both parties are likely to be re-elected in most districts. That includes Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorri Rodgers, Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith. Marilyn Strickland is expected to win the 10th District vacated by Denny Heck over Beth Doglio.
In the 6th District, Derek Kilmer was held to about 47% of the vote in the primary, but is still expected to win as the combined Republican votes are only about 39%. The only likely upset is in the 8th District,which has historically been Republican, but was flipped by Kim Schrier two years ago to the Democratic column. However, Schrier only won 43% in the primary with 49.7% going to Republican candidates. Could be an upset in the making.
And for President of the United States, all the polls show Joe Biden winning, and my experts trust the polls, but four years ago, Hillary Clinton was leading in all the polls. The big question is if the race will be close enough for the new Supreme Court to have a role in the outcome. Democrats also have a chance to take the Senate.
Don’t forget to vote.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.