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Stories about Washington

Jaime Herrera Beutler becomes 12th U.S. House member to lose a primary election this year

On August 15, 2022, media outlets called the top-two primary for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez (D) and Joe Kent (R) advanced with 31.0% and 22.8% of the vote, respectively. Incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) finished third with 22.2%.

Herrera Beutler is the 12th member of the U.S. House to lose an election this cycle. With more primaries and all general elections remaining, 2022 is now even with the 2016 election cycle for the number of incumbent losses. In the past five election cycles, 2018 saw the most incumbent losses (34), followed by 2012 (27).

Herrera Beutler was one of 10 Republican representatives to vote in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump (R) on January 13, 2021. In a statement the day before the vote, Herrera Beutler said she would vote to impeach Trump because he “incited a riot intended to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. That riot led to five deaths.” Herrera Beutler was publicly rebuked by the Washington Republican Party and censured by the Clark County Republican Party.

Kent identified himself as an America First candidate, a term often associated with the platform of Trump and candidates who say they support Trump’s agenda. Kent said that he got into elected politics because of the January 2021 impeachment vote. Trump endorsed Kent on July 26, 2022. During a virtual campaign event, Trump said, “[Herrera Beutler] voted for the radical Democrats second impeachment hoax where the Republicans stood up tall for me but she didn’t.”

Washington uses a top-two primary system, in which all candidates appear on the same ballot, for congressional and state-level elections. The top two vote-getters move on to the general election, regardless of their party affiliation. 



Both candidates in the election for Washington’s 3rd Congressional district complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District —Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez (D) and Joe Kent (R)—completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. All 435 seats in the House are up for election. As of August 10, Democrats hold a 220-210 advantage in the U.S. House with five vacant seats. Washington’s current congressional delegation consists of 7 Democrats and 3 Republicans.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What do you perceive to be the United States’ greatest challenges as a nation over the next decade?

Gluesenkamp Pérez:

“Money in politics. Love of money is the root of all evil and we cannot address our biggest threats like climate change or a disappearing middle class without having political leaders who are honest dealers that put the interest of their constituents above high-dollar donors.”

Kent:

“We have to break away from the failed economic policies and national security strategies that have only benefited the ruling class and China. We must fully audit the 2020 Presidential Election to restore the American people’s faith in our democratic system. We have to return critical industries and manufacturing back to America, restore energy independence, and end our wasteful post 9/11 wars.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Want to see Candidate Connection continue to grow in future elections? Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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33% of Washington state legislative incumbents face contested top-two primaries

Thirty-one of the 95 Washington state legislators who filed for re-election—22 Democrats and nine Republicans—will face contested primaries on Aug. 2. This represents 33% of incumbents who filed for re-election, lower than in 2020 but a higher rate than other recent election cycles.

Washington is one of three states holding top-two state legislative primaries this year. Under this system, all candidates appear on the same primary ballot regardless of their party affiliation and the top-two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Under this system, a primary is contested when more than two candidates file to run in the same district, at which point at least one candidate is guaranteed to lose.

Historically, however, incumbents tend to advance to the general election in Washington.

Between 2014 and 2020, 127 incumbents faced contested primaries in the state, four of whom—two Democrats and two Republicans—lost. This gives incumbents a primary win rate of 98%.

Twenty-seven incumbents are not seeking re-election this year, an increase compared to previous election cycles. This represents 18% of all seats in the Washington State Legislature.

Washington does not have term limits, meaning each of these incumbents either chose to retire or seek some other office.

Overall, 292 candidates filed to run in Washington’s top-two state legislative primaries this year: 126 Democrats, 142 Republicans, and 24 independent or minor party candidates.

All 98 House seats are up for election along with 24 of the state’s 49 Senate seats.

Washington has had a Democratic trifecta since 2017 when the party won control of the Senate in a special election. Democrats currently hold a 57-41 majority in the House and a 29-20 majority in the Senate.

Washington’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2, the 10th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

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Washington House of Representatives elections, 2022

Washington State Senate elections, 2022



There are no open U.S. House seats in Washington for the first time in a decade

The filing deadline for candidates running for the U.S. House in Washington was May 20, 2022. This year, 68 candidates are running in Washington’s 10 U.S. House districts, including 37 Republicans, 19 Democrats, seven independents, and five third-party candidates. That’s 6.8 candidates per district, fewer than the 7.3 candidates in 2020, and more than the 4.9 candidates per district in 2018. 

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Washington was apportioned ten districts, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • All ten incumbents are running for re-election, meaning there are no open U.S. House seats for the first time in a decade. 
  • There are ten contested primaries this year, the same number as in 2020 and two fewer than in 2018, when there were eight contested primaries. 
  • All ten incumbents running for re-election are facing primary challengers this year. In 2020, all nine incumbents who filed for re-election faced primary challengers. In 2018, seven of the nine who filed did. 
  • In Washington’s top-two primary system, all candidates are listed on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation. Two incumbents — Rep. Suzan DelBene (D) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D) — are not facing intra-party primary challengers. DelBene represents the 1st district, and Jayapal represents the 7th.
  • At this point, no districts are guaranteed to either party. Democratic and Republican candidates have filed to run in the primaries in all ten districts. After the primaries take place, some districts may have two candidates of the same party running in the general under Washington’s top-two primary system.
  • Eleven candidates are running in the 8th district, the most candidates running for a seat this year. Three Democrats, including incumbent Kim Schrier (D), five Republicans, one independent, one Libertarian, and one Concordia Party candidate have filed to run. 

Washington and four other states — Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, and Missouri — are holding primary elections on August 2. Washington utilizes a top-two primary system. In a top-two primary system, all candidates are listed on the same ballot. The top two vote-getters, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to the general election.



Washington enacts new legislative districts

Washington enacted new legislative districts on Feb. 8 when the Washington State Senate approved an amended version of a map proposal drafted by the Washington State Redistricting Commission. The maps will take effect for Washington’s 2022 state legislative elections.

Washington’s four redistricting commissioners each released their proposed state legislative maps on Sept. 21, 2021. The commission announced on Nov. 16 that it was not able to produce new maps by its Nov. 15 deadline and had submitted plans to the Supreme Court for consideration, as authority to draw new maps passed to the court if the commission failed to agree on maps before the deadline. The court decided to accept the final legislative map drafts the commission submitted, ruling that it had “substantially complied” with the deadline. The Washington House approved the final state legislative map proposal by an 88-7 vote on Feb. 2, and the Senate approved the proposal on Feb. 8 in a 35-14 vote.

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D) voted for the new maps but said, “I continue to have significant concern that the Yakima Valley legislative district may not be compliant with the federal Voting Rights Act.” Senator Jamie Pedersen (D) said, “I think I’m not the only one who was surprised and disappointed that this past Nov. 15, as the clock approached midnight, without actually having agreed on a plan, without having published a plan for public comment, our redistricting commission voted to approve some sort of oral agreement that they had to send that over to us.”

Commission member April Sims said, “I just think there is something really powerful about forcing folks who normally wouldn’t come together to come together. It means everyone has to give a little in the process and no one side wins. And I think that’s good for democracy and good for the public.” Senate Minority Leader John Braun (R) said the commission’s work was a bipartisan process and “We can, none of us, expect to get all the things we want.”

Thirty-three states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers as of Feb. 9, and one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect. The state supreme courts in two states have overturned previously enacted maps, and 14 states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. Thirty-eight states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census as of Feb. 9, 2012.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,387 of 1,972 state Senate seats (70.3%) and 3,256 of 5,411 state House seats (60.2%).

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Washington enacts new congressional districts

Washington enacted new congressional districts on Feb. 8 when the Washington State Senate approved an amended version of a map proposal drafted by the Washington State Redistricting Commission. Washington was apportioned 10 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Washington’s 2022 congressional elections.

Washington’s four redistricting commissioners each released their proposed congressional maps on Sept 28, 2021. On Nov. 16, the commission announced that it was not able to produce new maps by its Nov. 15 deadline and had submitted plans to the Washington Supreme Court for consideration, as authority to draw new maps passed to the court if the commission failed to agree on maps before the deadline. The court accepted the final map drafts the commission submitted, ruling that it had “substantially complied” with the deadline. The Washington House approved the final congressional map proposal on Feb. 2 in an 88-7 vote, and the Senate approved the plan 35-14 on Feb. 8.

Critics of the redistricting plans said the commission’s vote to approve the plan left no time for public input. Mike Fancher of the Washington Coalition for Open Government said, “The commission damaged public trust in our system of governing, which always happens when secrecy prevails over transparency.” Rep. Sharon Wylie (D) said the commission process was still effective. “I’ve not always been happy with the results, but I’ve always felt that our system worked better than in a lot of other states and was more fair,” Wylie said.

As of Feb. 9, 31 states have adopted congressional district maps, and one state has approved congressional district boundaries that have not yet taken effect. Federal or state courts have blocked previously adopted maps in two states, and 10 states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district, so no congressional redistricting is required. As of Feb. 9 in 2012, 36 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

States have completed congressional redistricting for 315 of the 435 seats (72.4%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Signature deadline for Washington 2022 Initiatives to the Legislature passes with no campaigns submitting signatures

The signature deadline for 2022 Washington Initiatives to the Legislature (ITL) was December 30, 2021. For an ITL to be taken up by the Washington State Legislature and potentially put on the ballot in 2022, proponents needed to submit 324,516 valid signatures.

Citizens of Washington may initiate legislation as either a direct state statute—called Initiative to the People (ITP) in Washington—or indirect state statute—called Initiative to the Legislature (ITL) in Washington. In Washington, citizens also have the power to repeal legislation via veto referendum. Citizens may not initiate constitutional amendments.

A total of 133 ITLs were filed by nine sponsors. None of the campaigns submitted signatures by the deadline. The filed initiatives concerned a range of topics including taxes, prohibiting mandatory vaccinations, emergency powers of the governor, and healthcare.

If campaigns submit enough valid signatures for an ITL, the initiative goes before the Washington Legislature at the next regular legislative session in January. The legislature must take one of three actions.

1. The legislature can adopt the initiative as proposed, in which case it becomes law without a vote of the people.

2. The legislature can reject or refuse to act on the proposed initiative, in which case the initiative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

3. The legislature can approve an alternative to the proposed initiative, in which case both the original proposal and the legislature’s alternative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

Thirty-four Initiatives to the Legislature have been on the ballot since the first ITL in 1916; 18 were approved. The most recent ITL, Initiative 976, was on the ballot in 2019. It was approved but later invalidated by the Washington State Supreme Court.

Besides Initiatives to the Legislature, Washington citizens may sign petitions for Initiatives to the People. These initiatives are direct initiatives, meaning that if enough valid signatures are collected, election officials place the measure directly on the next general election ballot for a vote. Initiatives to the People (ITP) may be filed targeting the 2022 ballot with a signature due date of July 8, 2022.

The number of required signatures for 2022 Initiatives to the People and veto referendums is based on the number of votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in 2020. To qualify an ITP or ITL for the 2022 ballot, 324,516 valid signatures are required. For veto referendums, signatures must be filed with the secretary of state within 90 days after the adjournment of the legislative session at which the targeted legislation was passed. To qualify a veto referendum for the 2022 ballot, 162,258 valid signatures are required.

A total of 66 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Washington during even years between 2000 and 2021. Of the 66 measures, 54.55% (36) were approved and 45.45% (30) were defeated.

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Redistricting timeline update: South Carolina legislature announces special sessions, Washington Supreme Court assumes redistricting authority

Here’s a summary of recent redistricting updates from South Carolina and Washington.

South Carolina: On Nov. 18, 2021, Senate President Harvey Peeler (R) said senators will meet on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. in a special session to address redistricting. House Speaker Jay Lucas (R) also announced a special session for the South Carolina House beginning Dec. 1. 

Washington: After the Washington State Redistricting Commission missed its Nov. 15, 2021, deadline, authority to create new districts passed to the Washington Supreme Court. According to Article II, Section 43 of the Washington Constitution, the court has until April 30 to complete new district maps.



Seattle votes on Sawant recall Dec. 7

On Dec. 7, Seattle voters will decide whether to recall District 3 City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. 

Recall petitioners allege three grounds for recall against Sawant: misusing city funds for electioneering purposes, disregarding regulations related to COVID-19, and misusing her official position. Sawant responded that the recall effort was politically motivated and asked a state superior court to dismiss the recall petition. The Washington Supreme Court ultimately ruled the recall could go forward.

Sawant supporters collected signatures for the recall in an effort to get it on the Nov. 2 ballot. The official recall campaign submitted signatures on Sept. 8, and the recall was scheduled for Dec. 7.

As of Nov. 2, the Kshama Solidarity campaign had raised $798,422 to the Recall Sawant campaign’s $684,191.

Sawant is a member of the Socialist Alternative Party and upon her election in 2013 was the first socialist elected to Seattle city government in 97 years.

This is one of 12 city council recall efforts we’ve tracked in the 100 largest cities in 2021. Six of those efforts were in four California cities (Los Angeles, Riverside, Anaheim, and San Diego). Three were in Anchorage, Alaska. The other two were in Kansas City, Missouri, and Austin, Texas. Five efforts did not go to a vote, five are underway, and two were defeated. 

Since Ballotpedia began tracking recalls in 2008, we have not tracked a successful recall of a city council member in Washington.



Seattle mayoral, city council races decided

Bruce Harrell won the election for mayor of Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 2. Incumbent Teresa Mosqueda was re-elected to at-large city council position 8, and Sara Nelson won the at-large position 9 council seat.

The following results were reported as of Nov. 4. Mail ballots were still being counted.

  • Bruce Harrell: 62%/Lorena González: 38%
  • Teresa Mosqueda: 56%/Kenneth Wilson: 44%
  • Sara Nelson: 57%/Nikkita Oliver: 43%

Harrell, a former city council president, ran against current Council President Lorena González. González currently holds the position 9 council seat. Mayor Jenny Durkan did not run for re-election.

In the council races, Mosqueda ran against bridge structural engineer Kenneth Wilson, and Nelson ran against attorney Nikkita Oliver. 

Harrell and Nelson both had backing from the National Association of Realtors Fund, the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, and The Seattle Times in their races.

Mosqueda had endorsed González and Oliver in their races. The Washington Working Families Party endorsed all three. The Progressive Voter Guide, presented by the organization Fuse Washington, recommended the three as well.

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