Washington State’s top-two primary insulates voters from partisan ploys - Open Primaries
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Washington State’s top-two primary insulates voters from partisan ploys

Posted by Russell Daniels on March 05, 2021 at 2:01 AM

Washington State’s top-two primary insulates voters from partisan ploys

written by the Union-Bulletin Editorial Board

The 10 House Republicans and seven GOP senators who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump have been threatened with primary challenges if they seek re-election by some outraged Republicans.

And such a threat might well come to fruition for the two House members from Washington state, Reps. Jamie Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, and Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, who voted to impeach Trump.

But those threats might not concern Herrera Beutler and Newhouse as much as other Republicans under fire by their party. In fact, it might not bother them at all.

In Washington state, where voters don’t register to vote by political party, citizens are free to cross party lines in the August primary. They can vote for Republicans in some races and Democrats in others. The two top vote getters, regardless of party affiliation, then move on to the November General Election.

The August 2022 Primary Election could be very interesting, not only to those who live in Washington 3rd and 4th congressional districts, but the nation.

After all, Herrera Beutler found herself in the center of the storm last weekend when she enraged some in the GOP by going on record about a phone call she had knowledge of between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in which Trump refused to heed McCarthy’s urgent request “to publicly and forcefully call off the riot.”

This information made the case against Trump stronger, and might well have changed some minds in Congress — and across America. Going public with the information was difficult politically, but it was the right thing to do.

As a side note, but an important one, CNN got the attention for bringing Herrera Beutler’s information to the nation. However, it was actually a local newspaper, the Longview Daily News, that had the scoop nearly a month earlier, on Jan. 16. Local journalism matters.

As to the primary election, Washington state took on both political parties for control of the primaries about a dozen years ago.

The state had conducted open primaries until a year or so earlier when the parties went to the Supreme Court contending that they had a right to control who voted to select their nominees. The court agreed.

Washington’s top-two primary system is among the most insulated from partisan politics, and therefore allows voters to focus on the quality of individual candidates rather than party affiliation.

So if Herrera Beutler and Newhouse are challenged in the 2022 primary, Washington’s top-two primary gives them a solid shot at re-election despite the partisan politics at play.

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published this page in Open Primaries in the News 2021-03-05 02:01:33 -0500