Washington primary includes U.S. Senate and House races

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Voters in Washington will winnow the field of candidates in dozens of races in the state’s primary on Tuesday.

Washington is a mail-in voting state and ballots were mailed to nearly 4.8 million registered voters weeks ago. Voters must have their ballots stamped and in the mail by Tuesday, or they can drop them off at drop boxes around the state by 8 p.m. Results often take days to arrive as ballots arrive at polling stations throughout this week.

Under the state’s primary system, the top two voters qualify for the November general election, regardless of party.

Here’s a look at the top races voters will weigh in on:

UNITED STATES SENATE: US Senator Patty Murray faces more than a dozen primary candidates as she seeks a sixth term, but is expected to advance with Republican first-time political candidate Tiffany Smiley. Voters in Washington haven’t elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1994. Smiley, a former Pasco nurse, pointed to her past defending her husband, a military veteran who was blinded in an explosion while serving in Iraq. Murray, a member of the Democratic leadership, became chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

CONGRESS: All 10 congressional seats are on the ballot but only three races are competitive. Three Republican challengers have mounted campaigns to unseat Democratic U.S. Representative Kim Schrier in Washington’s 8th congressional district: Army veteran Jesse Jensen, who ran unsuccessfully against Schrier in 2020; King County Councilman Reagan Dunn, a former federal prosecutor whose mother once held the seat; and former state attorney general nominee Matt Larkin. The seat is a key target of GOP efforts to regain control of the House. Two other Republican members – Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the 3rd Congressional District and Rep. Dan Newhouse in the 4th Congressional District – are being targeted by some within their own party over their vote to impeach former President Donald Trump. Herrera Beutler faces several Republican opponents as she seeks a seventh term – including Joe Kent, a former Trump-backed Green Beret – and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. Newhouse, a four-term congressman, also attracted a Trump-endorsed challenger. Loren Culp, a former small-town police chief who lost the 2020 gubernatorial race to Democrat Jay Inslee but refused to concede, won Trump’s endorsement in February but fell behind in fundraising. Jerrod Sessler, a Navy veteran and former NASCAR driver who raised the most money among the challengers, followed by Democrat Doug White.

SECRETARY OF STATE: Democratic Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee last November to replace former Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who left for a key campaign post in the Biden administration. Hobbs faces several challengers — including a longtime Pierce County election official who presents himself as nonpartisan — as he tries to hold on to the job for the remaining two years of Wyman’s term. There are several Republicans in the race, but the challenger who has raised the most money is Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, who says she would push for a change in state law to to make the office non-partisan. Of the Republicans in the race, former Sen. Mark Miloscia – who now heads the conservative Family Policy Institute – has raised the most among Republican candidates. Republican Senator Keith Wagoner was endorsed by former Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed. Tamborine Borrelli — an “America First” candidate — was fined by the state Supreme Court in June for making legally baseless claims alleging widespread voter fraud.

LEGISLATIVE RACES: All 98 House seats are up for grabs, as are 25 of the Senate’s 49. Of the 123 legislative races in total, 29 incumbents are running unopposed. In 42 seats, there are only two candidates, all of whom will automatically pass in the November ballot. Democrats currently hold a 28-21 advantage in the Senate and a 57-41 advantage in the House. The most expensive legislative race is in the 26th Senate District, where Democratic incumbent Sen. Emily Randall faces a challenge from Republican Rep. Jesse Young. Together they have raised more than $814,000 to date, with spending exceeding $455,000 before the primary.

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