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Who dies hard in the 'top-two' primary?

I recently watched TVW's video explaining how the controversial "top-two" primary will work. It features interviews with Seattle Times chief political reporter David Postman and David Ammons, the communications director for the office of Secretary of State.


I recently watched TVW's video explaining how the controversial "top-two" primary will work. It features interviews with Seattle Times chief political reporter David Postman and David Ammons, the communications director for the office of Secretary of State.

As Postman notes, it's "highly probable" that in certain districts, such as the 36th Legislative District in Seattle, two Democrats will win the primary and be placed on the November ballot, just as it's likely some Eastern Washington districts may have two Republicans face off in the general election – sans Democrats. That's nothing new. But it does raise an interesting question, one that's been circling the Crosscut office: How will lifelong Democrats vote in districts where the top-two primary winners are both Republicans? What will lifelong Republicans do if the general election ballot is all Blue?

I posed the question to Washington State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz. Here's how he responded:

We would not recommend any Republican over another. We excel at telling you to vote Democratic.

Right. But what about people who want to vote for someone? Should they not vote at all? Washington State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser seemed to have more reasonable advice:

If someone called me up and asked me how to vote, I would tell them to vote for the less objectionable Democrat — if there's a meaningful difference in his or her positions and ideology. If not, feel free to not vote for either of those two scoundrels. That's what I would do, personally.

I'll put it to you. If your district primary yields two candidates from the same side of the aisle — but opposite your own — what will you do on November 4?

Clark Fredricksen is a Crosscut staff writer. You can reach him at clark.fredricksen@crosscut.com.


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