Most state races draw yawns locally

TULALIP If you don't mind, if you have a few minutes, can I ask you a couple of questions about the state-wide races on the August ballot?

Other than those who flatly declined to talk, the response of Roger Freidrich, 27, was pretty typical.

"I think I'm voting for (Gov. Christine) Gregoire," Freidrich said, as he got into his car after running a few errands at Quil Ceda Village.

Freidrich was unaware, and largely uninterested, that besides the governor's race, there are eight other statewide positions up for grabs beginning with the Aug. 19 primary. Freidrich plans on voting, he said, and figured for the races he knows little about, he'll just vote for the incumbent.

So, who is the incumbent state insurance commissioner?

Neither Freidrich nor any of those asked could name Mike Kreidler, who has held the spot since 2000.

Sitting on a bench and enjoying a newly purchased cigar, Henry Edmonds, 62, said he is proud of being a regular voter and quickly stated a decided preference for U.S. Sen. John McCain.

As for questions on Washington state elections, Edmonds said he simply would not mark those spots on his ballot, adding he doesn't like voting in elections he doesn't know anything about.

Heading for his car with some takeout, Jeremy Goodwynn, overheard part of Edmonds' comments and volunteers that a Marysville resident is running for governor and might deserve some coverage from the local paper.

That he has not escaped notice might be good news for Marysville's James White. But for White, the bad news is Goodwynn didn't know White's name, only that someone local is running for governor. Goodwynn also said he probably wouldn't vote for White, but thought it was interesting someone from Marysville is in the race.

All in all, there are 10 people, including Marysville's White, who is running as an independent, in the governor's race. The others are Republican Dino Rossi, Reform Party candidate Will Baker, incumbent Democrat Christine Gregoire, Green Party candidate Duff Badgley, Republican Jon Aiken, Jr., Democrat Christian Pierre Joubert, independent Christopher Tudor, Republican Javier O. Lopez and independent Mohammad Hasan Said.

As with all the races voters will decide Aug. 19, the primary for governor is billed as a "top-two" primary. New in Washington, the primary will advance, regardless of party affiliation, the top two vote getters to the general election in November. Candidates do not have to state a party affiliation in the primary and neither do voters. If they are running for a partisan office, candidates can state a preference for a specific party, but that does not necessarily mean that candidate has the backing of that party.

The primary for Washington lieutenant governor includes incumbent Democrat Brad Owen, Republican Marcia McCraw, Constitution Party candidate Arlene Peck, Republican Jim Wiest and Democrat Randel Bell.

There are four candidates for secretary of state, who has primary responsibility for running Washington's elections. The candidates include incumbent Republican Sam Reed, Commons Party candidate Mark Greene, Democrat Jason Osgood and Constitution Party candidate Marilyn Montgomery.

Incumbent state Treasurer Michael J. Murphy is not running for reelection, meaning a wide-open fight could ensue between Republican Allan Martin and Democrats Jim McIntire and Chang Mook Sohn.

Incumbent auditor Brian Sonntag is running for re-election as a Democrat, with challengers including Constitution Party candidate Glenn Freeman and Republican J. Richard (Dick) McEntee.

The state attorney general's race is one of two contests that include only two candidates: Democrat John Ladenburg and incumbent Republican Rob McKenna. For commissioner of public lands, Democratic challenger Peter J. Goldmark will take on incumbent Republican Doug Sutherland.

There is one non-partisan office up for grabs in the coming election season. There are six persons running for state superintendent of public instruction: John Patterson Blair, Don Hansler, Randy Dorn, David Blomstrom, Enid Duncan and incumbent Teresa (Terry) Bergeson.

And lastly, for insurance commissioner, Republican John Adams and independent Curtis Fackler are challenging the previously mentioned incumbent Democrat Mike Kreidler.

For more information on any of these candidates, consult the Voter's Pamphlet that should be mailed, or already may have arrived, at homes throughout the state, compiled and printed by local county elections offices. Many candidates also have their own web site.

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