Loren Culp will carry the Republican flag against Gov. Jay Inslee in the Nov. 3 general election, with new vote totals Wednesday confirming his second-place finish in the Aug. 4 primary.
As of Wednesday evening, Inslee, the Democrat seeking a third term, maintained a commanding first-place lead with 52% of the vote. Culp, the police chief of Republic, Ferry County, was in second place with about 17%.
Among Culp’s nearest Republican rivals in the 36-candidate gubernatorial primary field, former Bothell Mayor Joshua Freed had about 8% of the vote, while longtime initiative sponsor Tim Eyman had about 7%.
While hundreds of thousands of votes remain to be counted, neither Freed nor Eyman gave any indication they were holding out hope for a comeback.
In a post on his gubernatorial campaign’s Facebook page, Freed invited supporters to a Bible study, writing, “Washington is in a very dangerous position right now on multiple levels with the only true hope coming from God.”
Eyman profusely thanked supporters in an email, and while not mentioning Culp by name, wrote, “We all must do all we can to save Washington from four more years of Inslee.”
The state Democratic Party turned its attention to Culp, attacking him in a news release as “dangerous and irresponsible on public health” for his refusal to abide by mask-wearing mandates at his large campaign rallies.
Yakima doctor Raul Garcia, who had run as a moderate and was endorsed by some big-name current and former elected Republicans, failed to gain enough traction with GOP voters and was in fifth place, with 5% of the vote as of Wednesday.
State Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, the only current Republican elected official in the race, was running sixth, with 4% of the vote.
Wednesday’s additional vote counts did not appear to alter the trajectory of other statewide or Congressional races.
Other statewide races
In the 11-candidate scrum to become the next lieutenant governor, it continued to look likely Wednesday that two Democrats would advance to November.
Denny Heck — who stepped into the race after announcing his retirement from U.S. Congress late last year — was leading Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, 27.3% to 16.9%. Republican Ann Davison Sattler was drawing 11.7%. Those percentages were almost identical to Tuesday night’s initial primary results.
In another closely watched race, Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman Wednesday evening maintained a consistent lead over her Democratic challenger, Rep. Gael Tarleton of Seattle. Wyman led Tarleton 50.5% to 44.3%.
State Senate race narrows
Meanwhile, GOP state Sen. Steve O’Ban, of University Place, pulled nearly even with Democratic challenger and University Place School District director T’wina Nobles to represent the 28th District Senate seat.
In the most expensive legislative race so far this year, O’Ban Tuesday night was behind Nobles by about 2 percentage points. By Wednesday evening, O’Ban had clawed back to trail Nobles by just 23 votes.
10th Congressional race at play
In the 10th Congressional District, the only U.S. House race in Washington without an incumbent, former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland looked assured of advancing to the general election with 22% of the vote, while state Rep. Beth Doglio grew her narrow lead for the second November spot.
Doglio led former state Rep. Kristine Reeves 15% to 13%, a gap of about 2,000 votes in the 19-person race. Doglio built her advantage in Thurston County, where she lives and where she is the leading vote-getter with 21%.
All three women are Democrats, meaning the November matchup will almost certainly be between two Democrats. Heck, a Democrat running for lieutenant governor, has held the 10th District seat since 2012, shortly after it was created.
Doglio on Tuesday night said she would continue to monitor results as they come in.
Reeves on Tuesday said we may not know the outcome for several days. “I remain hopeful that as later counts come in we will emerge victorious,” she said.
Incumbents maintained healthy leads in every other congressional race in Washington.
8th Congressional race
Rep. Kim Schrier, the Sammamish Democrat representing the 8th Congressional District, had the lowest showing of support among incumbents, taking about 44% of the vote. Three Republican challengers had a combined 48%.
Schrier is the first Democrat elected to represent the district, defeating Republican Dino Rossi in a $30 million race two years ago following the retirement of Dave Reichert, the former King County sheriff who had held the seat since 2005.