NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

Filing Week 2020 postmortem: Who dropped out by the candidate withdrawal deadline?

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.

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