In a direct challenge to the state's new "top two" primary, Republicans in King and Snohomish counties have scheduled precinct caucuses...

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In a direct challenge to the state’s new “top two” primary, Republicans in King and Snohomish counties have scheduled precinct caucuses tonight to begin selecting the candidates they say will be the official GOP nominees for county offices this fall.

In King County’s new 9th County Council District, incumbent Councilmen Steve Hammond, R-Enumclaw, and Reagan Dunn, R-Bellevue — pitted against each other by redistricting — both have said they probably won’t file without winning the county GOP’s nod.

In the new primary, approved by voters last fall, the top two candidates for each office will advance to the general election, regardless of party.

The Democratic and Republican parties, who oppose the “top two” system, argue that they are legally entitled to pick their nominees and that only those nominees can label themselves as Democrats or Republicans when they file in July.

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The nominees will be chosen at county conventions: June 11 in King County, June 18 in Snohomish County. Most delegates to those conventions will be elected at tonight’s caucuses.

Information about the King County caucuses is available by visiting www.kcgop.org online or calling 425-990-0404. Information about the Snohomish County caucuses is at www.snocogop.com/home or 425-258-3435 before 3 p.m.