Aug 2, 2022 - Politics

What to watch in Washington state's Aug. 2 primary

Illustration of an "I Voted" sticker in the shape of Washington state.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tuesday is Washington's primary election, with ballots due by 8pm and initial results scheduled to post shortly thereafter.

Why it matters: Democrats are widely expected to lose seats in Congress this year, as well as potentially in Washington's Legislature.

  • The primary will provide a first look at just how bad those losses might be in the November election.

Here are three things we're watching:

1. The fate of two pro-impeachment Republicans.

U.S. Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) and Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) were among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump last year.

  • They now face challenges from Trump loyalists, including two candidates — one per race — endorsed by the ex-president.
  • That makes Tuesday's primary a test not just of Herrera Beutler and Newhouse's popularity, but also a measure of Trump's continued influence within the Republican Party.

2. How Dems perform in suburban swing districts.

Some of the fiercest battlegrounds for legislative seats are in the suburbs, especially King County.

  • Both parties are closely watching results from the 47th Legislative District and the 8th Congressional District to gauge voter sentiment — and whether Democrats can hold onto suburban gains they made in 2018.

3. An unusual race for secretary of state.

Republicans held this job overseeing Washington's elections for more than 50 years. Then, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee appointed a member of his own party, Steve Hobbs, when the position opened last fall.

  • Now, Hobbs faces seven challengers as he fights to hold onto the seat.
  • Three hopefuls are Republicans, while a fourth identifies as an "America First" Republican.
  • That competition could split the GOP vote and create a narrow path for a nonpartisan candidate, Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, to advance.

Of note: Mail-in ballots need to be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted.

  • To avoid a late postmark, your best bet is to place your ballot in an official drop box, elections officials say.
  • Ballots will continue to be counted throughout the week, meaning Tuesday's results aren't the final word.

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