Thanks to Washington’s top-two primary election system, there are several races in the Mid-Columbia where the choice in November will be between two Republican candidates.
And while diehard Democrats may be tempted to skip over those R-dominated sections of the ballot, we hope they don’t. Just because two candidates are from the same political party and share a basic ideology does not mean they will represent the community in the same way.
As it happens, there are clear distinctions between the area’s GOP candidates running for office. If Democrats participate like they should, they can have significant sway on the outcome of these Republican-only races.
In fact, if their bloc is united and powerful enough, they could be the reason one candidate rises over another. Rather than feeling left out, they should recognize their influence.
This scenario of having only one party represented in certain races in the general election is unusual when compared with the rest of the nation.
California is the only other state that has a top-two primary election process. Louisiana and Nebraska have incorporated a similar idea, but the execution of their systems is quite different.
So in most contested races around the country, a Democrat and Republican are guaranteed to be on the ballot in the general election. But Washingtonians are an independent bunch, and court battles were fought to allow citizens a chance to decide between the top two vote-getters from the primary election, regardless of party affiliation.
This year, state history was made when the top two candidates running for a statewide office were from the same political party. Our own Benton County Treasurer Duane Davidson, a Republican, advanced to the general election for the state treasurer post along with another Republican, Michael Waite. The two beat out three Democrats in the primary.
In the 4th Congressional District, Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse will face Clint Didier, another Republican, in the general election. This is a repeat of the 2014 election between the two for the U.S. House seat vacated when Republican Doc Hastings retired.
In the 8th Legislative District, the Position 1 race is between incumbent Brad Klippert and challenger Rick Jansons. Position 2 pits incumbent Larry Haler and challenger Steve Simmons. All are Republicans.
We will make our recommendations in these races before the general election, but for now we are encouraging any Democrat who may be thinking of not voting in a Republican-only field to reconsider.
Please do your homework and weigh in. All citizens have a civic duty to vote, even if they don’t like their choices.
Democrats who do not want to vote for a Republican should not shirk that responsibility.