Record number of candidates file for gubernatorial race


Primary ballots set to be mailed to voters on July 15 for the 2020 Primary Election will be long this year as three dozen candidates have filed to run against Gov. Jay Inslee in the upcoming gubernatorial race.

The Jefferson County Auditor’s Office is already hard at work preparing the ballot for the Aug. 4 election. Ballots will be sent to overseas voters in mid-June.

“As soon as the list of candidates was certified from the state, we started programming,” said Quinn Grewell, elections coordinator for the county.

One reason for the long list of candidates might be the governor’s recent proclamation that waived petition signatures for candidates who lacked money to pay filing fees.

Due to COVID-19 safety measures, candidates were able to file an attestation with their Declaration of Candidacy in lieu of a filing fee.

“But looking back at past elections, most partisan primaries seem to have large ballots,” Grewell said.

The long list of candidates means voters will need to remember to vote on both sides of the ballot. Grewell said the Elections Division hopes to help people remember by placing a note on the ballot that says, “Turn ballot over to continue voting,” with a large arrow.

There are 36 candidates for governor, including Inslee. One opponent is Republican Tim Eyman, sponsor of the 2019 Initiative 976, which limited motor vehicle taxes. Another opponent, Bothell businessman and Republican Joshua Freed, was campaigning in Port Townsend at a reopening rally May 19, where Jefferson County citizens protested the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

There are four Democrats running against Inslee, 11 Republicans and a host of other parties, including Independents, and others, such as the “New Liberty Party,” “Trump Republican Party,” and the “Propertarianist Party.”

Local races

In addition to the long list of candidates for governor, there are several local races voters will see on the ballot.

In Jefferson County, two county commissioner seats are up for grabs. Commissioner Kate Dean will run in an uncontested race for another four years representing District 1. Commissioner David Sullivan announced in February he would not seek another term. Three Democratic candidates have stepped up to run for that District 2 seat: Lorna Smith, a planning commissioner and director of the nonprofit Western Wildlife Outreach; Amanda Funaro, operations director at GoodMan Sanitation; and Heidi Eisenhour, operations director at the Northwest Maritime Center.

In the primary, only residents within the commissioner district can vote on that commissioner race, Grewell said.

There are two other local uncontested positions voters will see on the ballot: Kenneth Collins is uncontested for another six-year term as a PUD commissioner, and Keith Harper is uncontested for another four-year term as Superior Court judge.

State races

Two senators and one congressman in the 24th Legislative District, representing Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor are up for re-election.

Rep. Mike Chapman’s seat is contested by two opponents, Republican Sue Forde and “Trump Republican” Daniel Charles Svoboda, who is a resident of Port Hadlock.

Rep. Steve Tharinger’s seat is also contested by three opponents, including Republican Jodi Wilke, who has led the “Save Our Sequim” group opposed to the Jamestown S’Klallam’s MAT Clinic project, Republican Darren Corcoran from Elma, and Republican Brian Pruiett from Carlsbourg.

Port Angeles Port Commissioner Connie Beauvais, from Joyce, is running against State Sen. Kevin Van de Wege.

Several state Supreme Court justice positions are up for election, and court of appeals judge Lisa Sutton is running unopposed for another six-year term.

Federal races

Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) is up for re-election and has five opponents in the
6th District: four Republican candidates and one Democratic candidate. Kilmer represents Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason and Pierce counties in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Precinct races

In Jefferson County, 52 candidates are running for Precinct Committee Officers representing both Republican and Democratic parties in Jefferson County.

Precinct Committee Officers elect party leadership and act as a main point of information and contact for voters in neighborhoods.

“This year there are 10 contested PCO positions,” said Bruce Cowan, chair of the 24th Legislative District Democrats. “These elections take place within the precincts.”

Only contested PCO races will appear on the ballot for that particular precinct. Voters who live within those precincts will only see the contested race.

For example, if you live in Precinct 105, you will not see the 104 PCO race on your ballot.

And if you live in a precinct that does not have a contested PCO race, you will not have any PCO races on your ballot.

Learn more

To learn more about each race, go to the Secretary of State’s website at The website includes a list of all candidates who have filed, which can be organized by county.

A sample ballot will be posted on the Jefferson County website at least 15 days prior to Election Day, Grewell said.

The Leader will publish a Voter’s Guide, with information on all candidates, on
July 22.

The Jefferson County League of Women Voters and AAUW-PT will present a candidate forum in virtual space. The three candidates for Jefferson County Commissioner (District 2) will appear in a Zoom webinar at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 23.

At the forum, the candidates will give timed opening statements. Questions directed to all candidates are solicited in advance of the forum at If time allows, questions from webinar participants will be taken. Concise, unbiased questions will be given priority, and every effort will be made to cover a wide range of subjects. The forum will be moderated by Renee Klein. The forum will be broadcast on KPTZ 91.9 and recorded and made available in both video and audio-only formats.

More information about the virtual forum will be available on the League of Women Voters website at


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