Washington election filing period runs Monday through Friday

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldMay 9, 2014 

Candidates thinking of running for elected office this year can make it official during next week's filing period, which begins Monday and continues through Friday .

Dozens of offices are up for grabs. Twenty-four seats will be on the ballot in Benton County, 19 in Franklin County.

The most high-profile local race will be in the 4th Congressional District, where longtime U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, is retiring. Thirteen candidates have officially or unofficially expressed interest in running.

Eight have filed with the Federal Election Commission to raise money. The lone Democrat is Estakio Beltran of Yakima, a former staffer for Sen. Maria Cantwell. The Republicans are George Cicotte, a Kennewick attorney; Clint Didier, an Eltopia farmer and former professional football player; Kevin Midbust of Richland, who considers himself an "opt-out" candidate; state Sen. Jana Holmquist Newbry of Moses Lake; former state Department of Agriculture Director Dan Newhouse, a Sunnyside farmer; Franklin County Commissioner Brad Peck of Pasco; and Gavin Seim, an Ephrata artist and filmmaker.

Democrats saying they will run are Gary Downing of Kennewick, a maintenance worker with the Richland School District; and Tony Sandoval of Yakima, who owns an inflatable attractions business. Republicans are Jamie Wheeler, a Kennewick caregiver; and Gordon Allen Pross, a Kittitas County organic farmer. Independent Josh Ramirez of Pasco, a control specialist at Hanford, has also said he is running.

The only statewide races contested are on the state Supreme Court, where Justices Mary Fairhurst, Charles W. Johnson and Debra L. Stephens are at the end of their terms. Justice Mary Yu, who was appointed last week to replace retiring Justice James Johnson, will be running for election in order to serve the rest of Johnson's term, which expires January 2017.

But several state legislative positions will be on the ballot, including the 8th Legislative District seat of Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, who is seeking her first full term after finishing the last two years of the term of Jerome Delvin, who left for the Benton County commission. The terms of 8th District Reps. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, and Larry Haler, R-Richland, are also expiring. The district serves Kennewick, Richland and West Richland.

The 16th District seats of state Reps. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, and Terry Nealey, R-Dayton, will be on the ballot in parts of Benton and Franklin counties, as well as in Columbia and Walla Walla counties. People interested in filing for those positions should apply with the state since they span multiple counties.

Benton County Commissioner Shon Small is running for re-election. Tim Dalton, who ran unsuccessfully against Small in 2010, has already said he will run again for the seat.

Franklin County Commissioner Rick Miller is the only member of his board who is up for re-election this year. He is running again, but hasn't heard if anyone will challenge him, he said.

Benton County Sheriff Steve Keane and Franklin Sheriff Richard Lathim are up for re-election. Lathim has announced he is running for re-election, and is being challenged by Pasco Police Capt. Jim Raymond.

Benton County Assessor Barbara Wagner has announced she will not run again. One candidate, Mary Phillips, the county's geographic information systems manager, has said she will run to replace her.

Others whose terms are up in Benton County are Auditor Brenda Chilton, Clerk Josie Delvin, Coroner John Hansens, Prosecutor Andy Miller, Treasurer Duane Davidson and District Court judges Terry M. Tanner, Bob Ingvalson, Dan Kathren, Joe Burrowes and Katy Butler.

In Franklin County, Assessor Steve Marks, Auditor Matt Beaton, Clerk Mike Killian, Coroner Dan Blasdel, District Court Judge Jerry Roach, Prosecutor Shawn Sant and Treasurer Josie Koelzer are facing re-election. Killian has announced he plans to run again.

The Benton and Franklin public utility districts will each have one seat on the ballot. Benton PUD Commissioner Jeff Hall is up for re-election, as is Franklin PUD Commissioner Bill Gordon.

Candidates will have to compete in the Aug. 5 primary if more than two contestants enter a race. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, move on to the Nov. 4 general election.

In Benton County, in-person filing is handled Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at three auditor's offices locations: 5600 W. Canal Drive in Kennewick; 101 Wellsian Way, Ste. E, in Richland; and 620 Market St. in Prosser.

Candidates in Franklin County may file in person with the county auditor's office starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday and concluding at 5 p.m. Friday. In-person filing takes place at the Franklin County Courthouse, 1016 N. Fourth Ave. in Pasco.

Candidates may file online from 9 a.m. Monday through 4 p.m. Friday. Links to the state Secretary of State's website will be posted on the county auditors' websites at www.bentonelections.com or www.co.franklin.wa.us/auditor.

Mail filings must be received by 5 p.m. Friday.

Each of the offices on the ballot this year will require a filing fee of 1 percent of the position's annual salary. The fees range from $216 for Benton PUD commissioner to $1,740 for U.S. representative. Candidates who cannot afford the fee can submit a petition, with each signature collected equal to $1 of the filing fee.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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