This morning, a number of Democratic candidates for statewide and federal office woke up to the reality that they are not running close enough behind the top two-vote getters in their respective races to hold out hope of being able to go on to the November general election (which is in actuality just a runoff, since we don’t have a real primary in Washington).
Among those candidates are Greg Nickels and Craig Pridemore, who filed to run for the offices of secretary of state and auditor, respectively. Each man has bowed out of his race in a classy, graceful fashion… by congratulating the winners and thanking supporters via Facebook, while saying nothing negative about anybody.
Nickels is the former mayor of Seattle; Pridemore is the incumbent state senator from the 49th LD (Vancouver and urban Clark County).
Here’s what Nickels had to say about his third-place finish earlier today:
They say if you are thrown from a horse you should get back on. In a sense that is what I was doing in my run for Washington Secretary of State and, while the results were not what I had hoped, I am very glad I did! It was a great experience and I am grateful for the opportunity and for the wonderful support so many of you gave me.
I congratulate the two candidates who are advancing, Kim Wyman ® and Kathleen Drew (D), both ran positive and effective campaigns.
Pridemore, meanwhile, posted the following statement late last night, after the early returns were all in (which showed him in third place):
Thanks to everyone for fourteen amazing years. Few people get the chance to experience what I’ve had the chance to experience. You all mean more to me than I’ll ever be able to express.
This evening, he added:
I do formally concede the State Auditor’s primary to James Watkins and Troy Kelley. They have my sincere best wishes in all their endeavors in the months and years ahead.
Pridemore’s loss to Kelley and Watkins gives him the unfortunate distinction of being the only candidate the Washington State Democratic Party nominated for statewide or federal office in 2012 who did not survive the winnowing election. Washington does not currently have a real primary, so voters don’t get to pick the parties’ nominees as they do in nearly every other state.
Instead of a real primary, Washington has a goofy, poorly conceived “Top Two“system, where the top two vote getters (as the name suggests) advance to a runoff regardless of party. Consequently, the Democratic Party selected its 2012 nominees by convention instead of through a primary.
We at NPI believe the “Top Two” system is unconstitutional, and the Democratic Party does so as well. The party is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the “Top Two” system unconstitutional, so Washington can readopt a real primary system that protects voter choice in the general election and respects everyone’s First Amendment right to free assembly.