Sometimes, in the annual Washington State election cycle, it’s the Monday after filing week that’s more interesting than the week itself.
Why? Because that’s the deadline for candidates to withdraw from consideration
Not many did so for 2020. But two candidates who did drop out stand out.
Steve Hobbs, state Senator for the 44th Legislative District, decided to exit of the race for Lieutenant Governor this year. Two credible Democratic candidates remain: State Senator Marko Liias and United States Representative Denny Heck.
Senator Hobbs is a lieutenant colonel with the Washington National Guard and is presently on assignment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is in charge of multiple tasks, among which are overseeing the support of food banks, in Western Washington state. Considering his responsibilities, it would have been hard for him to provide proper attention to a statewide campaign for office.
It appears he had second thoughts about actually going through with his campaign after he made his candidacy official.
Hobbs also ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2016, and did not make it through the Top Two election. In 2012, he ran for Congress in the 1st Congressional District, and failed to advance through to the November general election runoff.
The second and more surprising candidate withdrawal is in the 5th Legislative District, where Republican candidate Todd Smelcer has dropped out.
This leaves only two Democrats, Mark Mullet and Ingrid Anderson, for a legislative race in a district that until recently was considered an impregnable Republican fortress. Given that the Republicans would absolutely have to take the 5th as a precursor of winning a Senate majority this year, their failure to field a candidate — any candidate — is truly head-scratching.
Mark Mullet has taken heat from fellow Democrats for his inexplicable stances against the adoption of I‑1000 and taking advantage of a bill to avert millions of dollars in cuts to librarians, counselors and assistant principals to increase funding for charter schools. Mullet has also flatly opposed progressive tax reform ideas like a capital gains tax on the wealthy, which Washington desperately needs.
Mullet’s challenger Ingrid Anderson is a Registered Nurse specializing in emergency and psychiatric care at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue and a member of the Washington State Nurses Association. She enjoys the enthusiastic support of the state’s labor community and grassroots progressive organizations.
Smelcer’s withdrawal means that the dynamic in the 5th this year will be more comparable to a Seattle legislative district, where the November runoff typically features two Democratic candidates for a state House or state Senate race.
With no Republican on the ballot, Republican voters will be forced to choose from between two Democratic candidates, write in a name, or skip the race.
No matter the outcome, the Senate Democratic caucus wins.
Here’s the full list of candidates who withdrew for state-level offices:
- Lisa Thomas (was running for Governor with no party preference)
- Steve Hobbs (was running for Lieutenant Governor as a Democrat)
- Bruce Overstreet (was running for State Representative, Position #1, in the 38th Legislative District in Snohomish County, as a Democrat)
- Glenda Breiler (was running for State Representative, Position #1, in the 22nd Legislative District in Thurston County, as a Democrat)
- Grant Romaine (was running for State Representative, Position #1, in the 23rd Legislative District in Kitsap County, as a Republican)
- Leonard Christian (was running for State Representative Position #1, in the Spokane area 4th Legislative District, as a Republican)
- Mark Routon (was running for State Representative Position #1, in Seattle’s 43rd Legislative District, as a “Worker’s Justice” candidate)
- Jeff Jared (was running for State Representative Position #1, in the Eastside of King County’s 48th Legislative District, as a Libertarian)
- Mine Conrad (was running for State Representative Position #2, in the Spokane area 4th Legislative District, as a Republican)
- Will DeWitt (was running for State Representative Position #2, in the Spokane area 4th Legislative District, as a Democrat)
- Todd Smelcer (was running for State Senator in the Eastside of King County’s 5th Legislative District as a Republican)
If you have a question about candidate withdrawals at the local level, let us know in the comments and we’ll be glad to field it.