Seattle Times endorsements for selected races in for the August 2016 primary election.

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Update: These are the recommendations for the August primary election, which has passed. Go here to see endorsements for the upcoming Nov. 8 general election ballot.


Editor’s note: The Seattle Times editorial board will be making recommendations for voters in legislative districts throughout King and Snohomish counties, in statewide and federal races and for some local ballot measures on the Aug. 2 primary election ballot. Each endorsement will explain our thinking, but generally we look for moderates with a commitment to work across party lines.

Read summaries of each choice for selected races below. And click here if you’d like to subscribe via an RSS feed to receive updates as endorsements are published.

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U.S. Senator

Patty Murray

Patty Murray for U.S. Senate

Strengths: Shows valuable bipartisan leadership and has been a strong representative for the state of Washington

While Congress grew more dysfunctional in recent years, Murray found common ground and still got things done.”

Read full editorial recommendation –>

U.S. House of Representatives

Suzan DelBene

Suzan DelBene for 1st Congressional District

Strengths: Represented the divergent interests of farm and technology in her sprawling district; nuanced, regionally focused solutions

It says quite a bit about DelBene that the district appears now to be firmly hers. With a solid legislative record over two terms, and minimal competition this year, DelBene easily earns an endorsement for a third term …”

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Rick Larsen

Rick Larsen for 2nd Congressional District

Strengths: Willingness to take positions that go against his liberal base, deep understanding on international trade

The power of incumbency continues to favor U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen. A popular Democrat from the 2nd Congressional District, he is the most credible candidate and deserves a ninth term.”

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Derek Kilmer

Derek Kilmer for 6th Congressional District

Strengths:Pragmatism, has been effective in influencing legislation

His priorities align well with his district, including developing jobs and helping the timber industry move beyond the old fights between conservationists and timber interests and keeping the district’s military installations vital.”

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Brady Walkinshaw

Brady Walkinshaw for 7th Congressional District

Strengths: Intention to move beyond liberal orthodoxy; temperament, pragmatic instincts

The Democrat has the capacity to be a progressive leader from one of the nation’s most left-leaning districts. He also has the temperament, pragmatic instincts and drive to squeeze legislation out of the gridlocked Congress.”

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Dave Reichert

Dave Reichert for 8th Congressional District

Strengths:Advocate for trade and fiscal responsibility; has had some legislative successes in conservation and in human services

Representing the 8th Congressional District, which straddles the west and east slope of the Cascades, Reichert is the closest approximate for a moderate in Washington’s GOP congressional delegation.”

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Adam Smith

Adam Smith for 9th Congressional District

Strengths: Represents diverse voice of constituents in Washington, D.C., works on behalf of military families and veterans

Smith continues to get endorsements from people and groups representing all kinds of citizens. He has spoken out on issues such as abuses of immigrants in federal detention and the $15 minimum wage …”

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Denny Heck

Denny Heck for 10th Congressional District

Strengths: Champion for economic opportunity; leader on federal banking reforms necessary for marijuana legalization

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck is the first and only congressman from Washington’s 10th Congressional District, created in 2012 to represent the south Puget Sound. Voters should choose to keep him there.”

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State Senate

Guy Palumbo

Guy Palumbo for 1st Legislative District Senate seat

Strengths: Small-business owner; impressive public-service résumé

Well-versed in the options before the Legislature, Palumbo has the right approach, supporting local-levy reform, some new revenues and shifting to a carefully constructed approach to statewide collective bargaining for teacher contracts. Importantly, he also acknowledges that any new money must be spent on improving outcomes for students. …”

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Steve Litzow

Steve Litzow for Legislative District 41 Senate seat

Strengths: Effective leader; has much-needed experience for education funding solutions

Litzow already is a key player. He chairs the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee in the Senate, where his party currently holds the majority. He’s used this perch to advance early childhood programs and education reforms, increase education funding and fund charter schools. …”

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State House of Representatives

Derek Stanford

Derek Stanford for 1st Legislative District, House Position No. 1

Strengths: Runs small business; budgeting and auditing background

Stanford runs a small business specializing in analytics solutions and statistical consulting. In the Legislature, he is vice chair of the House Capital Budget Committee and vice chair of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee. …”

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Jim Langston

Jim Langston for 1st Legislative District, House Position No. 2

Strengths: Open-minded about solutions; education and volunteering background

Langston, an Echo Lake Republican, is the best choice for his understanding of the broad challenges facing the Legislature and his open-mindedness about solutions, including new tax revenues for school funding. …”

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Matt Larson

Matt Larson for 5th Legislative District, House Position No. 2

Strengths: Training in both theology and architecture and has a calm, conciliatory demeanor.

Larson mostly avoids the partisan dogma on the left and right. He recognizes the need for new revenue and supports closing unproductive tax exemptions and potentially adding a capital-gains tax. The money must come with reforms, and Larson should educate himself further about the necessity of collective-bargaining reforms for teachers. …”

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>Lillian Ortiz-Self

Lillian Ortiz-Self for 21st Legislative District, House Position No. 2

Strengths: Committed to helping solve the state’s underfunding of basic education; understands issues of equity

Lillian Ortiz-Self, a school counselor and vice chair of the House Education Committee, is committed to helping solve the state’s chronic and unconstitutional underfunding of basic education. She is well-versed in the challenges and possible solutions. …”

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Pablo Monroy

Pablo Monroy for 31st Legislative District, House Position No. 2

Strengths: Understands challenges of McCleary decision; would bring unique perspective to Olympia

Monroy has an entirely unique background — a Latino raised in Pasco, a Navy veteran of the Iraq war, co-owner of Tacoma’s Odd Otter Brewing Company and an effective advocate for ending the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” prohibition of openly gay military members. …”

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Cindy Ryu

Cindy Ryu for 32nd Legislative District, House Position No. 1

Strengths: Her résumé: as a business owner, former Shoreline City Council member and mayor

Ryu is chair of the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee, putting her in the middle of issues important to a district that serves North King and South Snohomish counties. And she intends to expand her focus on serving those Washington citizens who are too often underrepresented. …”

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Ruth Kagi

Ruth Kagi for 32nd Legislative District, Position No. 2

Strengths: Political leanings match her district well, but are tempered with a mature pragmatism

Kagi is a Washington treasure. The North Seattle Democrat has been a champion of the state’s youngest citizens, advocating for the best education from their earliest moments to ensuring care when their families can’t provide it. …”

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Tina Orwall

Tina Orwall for 33rd Legislative District, House Position No. 1

Strengths: Solution-based approach; works across Olympia’s ideological divides

Orwall is progressive on social policy, but her solution-based approach gives her an independent streak. Her experience and nuanced understanding of the education-funding challenges are an asset to her district and Legislature. …”

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Eileen Cody

Eileen Cody for 34th Legislative District Position No. 1

Strengths: Expertise in health-care and hospital-workplace issues; moderation, experience and willingness to compromise

Cody’s experience and expertise in health-care and hospital-workplace issues have been an asset as the state implemented the Affordable Care Act and worked to improve the system. Her background is also valuable as the state struggles to improve its mental-health programs and Western State Hospital. …”

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Judy Clibborn

Judy Clibborn for 41st Legislative District, House Position No. 2

Strengths: Influential and a major force in transportation policy

With the next Legislature facing an enormous challenge to modify taxation, fully fund education and avoid a constitutional crisis, Clibborn’s leadership and deep relationships on both sides of the aisle are vital. …”

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Dan Shih

Dan Shih for 43rd Legislative District Position No. 1

Strengths: Worked in the private equity field and clerked for the prestigious federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.; understands the monumental task of adding at least $3.5 billion to the state education biennium budget

With a superb résumé, a nuanced grasp of policy and a steady temperament, Shih has the potential to be an excellent lawmaker from a legislative district with a history of producing leaders in Olympia. …”

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Janice Huxford

Janice Huxford for 44th Legislative District Position No. 1

Strengths:Small-business background, would bring fresh, multidimensional approach to school-funding reform

For progress in the Legislature, voters should elect Huxford, who has the smarts and has done her homework.”

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Mark Harmsworth

Mark Harmsworth for 44th Legislative District Position No. 2

Strengths: Smart and pragmatic, has shown leadership on transportation issues

In a legislative session with many new lawmakers facing their paramount duty of fixing education funding, Harmsworth’s experience and record of representing his district makes him the best choice.”

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Statewide elected offices

Dave Upthegrove

Dave Upthegrove for Public Lands Commissioner

Strengths: Public-service record, environmental credentials and proven ability to represent diverse interests

Where the next lands commissioner must be effective out of the gate is in the Legislature. … This is where Upthegrove stands above the pack of contenders.”

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Mike Kreidler

Mike Kreidler for Insurance Commissioner

Strengths: Industry knowledge; consumer advocacy; ability to change his mind when the situation calls for change

Kreidler is the clear choice. He should keep working to make his office better and not rest on his successes with the Affordable Care Act here in Washington, which has put him in the national spotlight. …”

Read full editorial recommendation –>

Steve Hobbs

Steve Hobbs for Lieutenant Governor

Strengths: Experience working across the aisle in the Senate, would promote rural economic development

If you have questions about King County Elections, call 206-296-VOTE or go to

If you have questions about Snohomish County Elections, call 425-388-3444 or go to the Snohomish County Election division website.

For questions about Washington state elections, go to the Secretary of State election website.

Hobbs’ decade of service in the Senate is notable for his often steely independence and willingness to buck his party in favor of smart public policy.”

Read full editorial recommendation –>

Kim Wyman

Kim Wyman for Secretary of State

Strengths: Years of experience refereeing elections; bipartisan support

Wyman has more than 23 years of direct experience in election work, probably the most important aspect of the office. And she has the endorsement — and therefore confidence — of county election officials, both Republican and Democrat, from across the state — from King County to Garfield County. …”

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Jeff Sprung

Jeff Sprung for State Auditor

Strengths: Record of fighting fraud, would bring fresh start to Auditor’s Office

Sprung’s record fighting fraud and his familiarity with the latest technologies for legal discovery should reinvigorate an agency that’s seen its morale and stature diminish during [Troy] Kelley’s indictment and extended absence.”

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Duane Davidson

Duane Davidson for State Treasurer

Strengths: Would bring a statewide perspective to education funding, knows how to compromise

Lawmakers need someone to work with them and not just tell them their ideas belong in the waste bin. Davidson could do that well.”

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Erin Jones

Erin Jones for Superintendent of Public Instruction

Strengths: Experience addressing inequity in public schools; ability to bring educators, parents, lawmakers and school officials together.

As a parent of kids who attended public schools, in some of the state’s most challenging school districts, Jones has a deep understanding of Washington’s public school system.”

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Seattle ballot measures

Vote yes on the Seattle Housing Levy

Several aspects of this levy are troubling, and it won’t fix Seattle’s broad affordability challenge. But voters should nevertheless approve this measure because it provides much-needed funding to help the city’s neediest residents, including the homeless and those on the brink of homelessness.”

Read full editorial recommendation –>

Vote no on the Alaskan Way Park

I-123 has no clear financing or execution plan and it would block the community’s existing post-viaduct vision, which already includes a massive waterfront park and promenade.”

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King County Superior Court

Eric Newman

Eric Newman for King County Superior Court Judge Position 44

Strengths: Extensive legal and community experience, has perspective on the demands and consequences of serving as a judge.

Newman edges out the other candidates because of the breadth of his experience, including three years serving as judge pro tempore in King County District Court.”

Read full editorial recommendation –>