Top-two primary an easy hurdle for Kirkland candidates

With most of the attention of the national media focused on November’s general election, local voters could easily forget the state’s “top-two” primary on Aug. 19.

  • Monday, September 22, 2008 2:44pm
  • News

Kirkland voting on only one partisan race contested by more than two

With most of the attention of the national media focused on November’s general election, local voters could easily forget the state’s “top-two” primary on Aug. 19.

They might as well.

The hope of the top-two format was to encourage more candidates and voters to participate in the primary election. But most incumbents who represent Kirkland in Olympia or on Capitol Hill face only a single challenger this year, making the primary for those races largely irrelevant.

After five years of legal wrangling, the state’s top-two primary is now in effect, meaning the two candidates receiving the most votes Aug. 19 in partisan races — regardless of party affiliation — and at least 1 percent of the vote advance to the general election. Voters in Kirkland will help decide only one partisan race this month that is contested by more than two candidates, with six contenders vying for U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert’s seat in the 8th Congressional District.

Reichert, R-Auburn, is facing a stiff challenge from former Microsoft executive Darcy Burner, a democrat. But Burner and Reichert must tally more votes than two other democrats, Keith Arnold and James Vaughn. Two more candidates, Boleslaw Orlinski and Richard Todd, have expressed no political preference.

The 8th District encompasses only the southern tip of Kirkland.

Kirkland voters do have a say, however, in one non-partisan race that will be decided by the primary — a three-way race for a King County Superior Court judgeship. The contest will pit long-time Kirkland resident Susan Amini against Tim Bradshaw and Suzanne Parisien.

Kirkland’s other congressional seat, the 1st Congressional District, will see incumbent Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, challenged by Kirkland’s Larry Ishmael, a republican. The race is a rematch of 2006.

All candidates on the primary ballot were required to file their names during a one-week period in June. Write-in candidates are also allowed during the primary.

The state’s primary election is essentially a run-off vote. It was approved by voters in 2004 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. Any registered voter, regardless of party affiliation, can cast a ballot in the primary election. Participants are not required to disclose any party affiliation.

State election officials are offering voters a variety of ways to participate in the election. Mail-in, or “absentee,” ballots were mailed out on Aug. 1. They can either be mailed back or placed in drop-boxes, which are set up at various locations throughout the county, by the Aug. 19 election deadline.

Polling stations will also be set up in local neighborhoods.

New Washington voters had until Aug. 4 to register in person to vote in the primary.

For more information, contact King County Elections at (206) 296-8683 or visit


Races for the two state representative seats in the 45th Legislative District, which includes the northern part of Kirkland, as well as Redmond and Woodinville, are:

Position 1:

– Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, against former Rep. Toby Nixon, R-Kirkland.


– Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, challenged by republican Kevin Haistings, a Carnation resident and Seattle Police Sergeant.

For the two seats in the 48th Legislative District, which encompasses southern Kirkland, Redmond and Bellevue:


– Ross Hunter, D-Bellevue, is challenged by Bellevue republican Charlie Lapp.


– Rep. Deborah Eddy, D-Kirkland, faces off against Redmond’s Ronald Fuller, a republican.

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