HOW DOES WASHINGTON’S ‘TOP 2’ PRIMARY WORK? The top two vote getters in each race advance to the November election, regardless of party. That means in some contests two Republicans or two Democrats could end up on the general election ballot. Also, voters don’t have to declare a party affiliation and can choose among all candidates.
ARE THERE ANY STATEWIDE ELECTIONS? No. There are 10 congressional races and dozens of legislative contests.
WHAT’S THE MOST CLOSELY-WATCHED RACE? The contest that is getting the most attention is the 4th Congressional District race to replace U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, who is retiring after two decades in the seat. A dozen candidates — eight Republicans, two independents and two Democrats — are vying for Hastings’ job. Four Republicans appear to be the front-runners for the central Washington district: Dan Newhouse, a former state legislator and director of the state Department of Agriculture; Clint Didier, a former NFL star and now a farmer and tea party candidate; state Sen. Janea Holmquist and attorney George Cicotte.
ARE ALL OF THE RACES COMPETITIVE? No, in fact, most aren’t. In 95 of the 123 legislative races on the ballot, there’s no contest. Twenty-two races are unopposed, and in 73 seats, there’s only two candidates running, all of whom will automatically advance to the November ballot.
HOW BIG A TURNOUT IS EXPECTED? The secretary of state’s office has predicted that voter turnout for the primary will be at about 40 percent. Washington is an all-mail ballot. Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 5.