Washington will hold primaries on Tuesday, and the hot race will be in the state’s gubernatorial contest.
In a traditionally Democratic state, it could be the Republicans who make a splash later in November.
But they have to get through Tuesday’s contest first.
Polls suggest that both Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee, a former eight-term congressman, are expected to breeze by seven other candidates and face off against each other come November in the fight to succeed two-term Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire, who decided against running for re-election.
But, as the Washington Post reports, it’s quite possible state Attorney General Rob McKenna (R) will get more votes tonight than former Congressman Jay Inslee (D), despite the state’s blue lean — an very base indicator of November success.
Democrats point out that Inslee himself lost by six points in a 1998 House primary but then won the general election by the same margin. The same thing happened to Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) last year. And in the 2008 governor’s race, Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) defeated Republican Dino Rossi by just two points in the primary but by six in the general election.
As WashPo outlines, a decent-sized Inslee win or a big McKenna win could definitely change perceptions of where the race is at right now.
Washington state voters cast ballots by mail. Voters must have their ballots, which were sent out weeks ago, in the mail or in special boxes statewide by 8 p.m. local time Tuesday.
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6:20 PM: Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee are looking ahead to the November election in their race for Washington governor. But the final candidates for several other state races will be determined by the results of Tuesday's top-two primary.
The primary also will pick the candidates racing to fill the congressional seat Inslee gave up to run for governor. There's an open race to replace retiring Congressman Norm Dicks, and the first contest in the new 10th District.
The primary also may determine if former state Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders will regain the seat he lost two years ago. Justices Susan Owens and Steve Gonzalez are running to retain their seats. If someone wins more than 50 percent of the vote, they will advance alone.
12 PM: Derek Kilmer Congressional Race Could Be Huge Come Novemeber, from PolicyMic Pundit Eric Belgau:
If tomorrow's primary in Washington's 6th congressional district goes according to script, lone Democratic Candidate Derek Kilmer will win enough of the vote to clinch his seat in the House without having to wait for November. But in today's political climate, the script is about as dependable as Kristen Stewart's fidelity, and if the vampires had votes, they'd be casting them in the 6th District.
If this race goes until November, it will be a study in how ideological polarities and carefully crafted hysteria are shaping the political landscape and our culture at large. Here's why:
- Norm Dicks has represented the district (admirably by most accounts) since 1976, and his retirement leaves a vacuum. Every candidate in the primary is new to national politics.
- The Democrats need to retain the District 6 seat. The Republicans want it badly, especially in traditionally blue Western Washington.
- The district's population is diverse and politically polarized (remember the Spotted Owl?) and voting turnout tends to be poor, especially to the west. The outcome may depend on whose surrogates are more effective at getting out the vote.
The smart money says Kilmer will win in the primary against a scattered field of conservative opponents, and if he does the race will become a footnote to Election 2012. But if he doesn't, this down-home district will play host to seasoned political operators, putting the politics of hype on vivid display.