Post Primary Election Update
By Matthew Green
In the August 7 primary election, voters picked their favorite candidates in two races previously profiled in OP&L.
For county commissioner, incumbent Democrat Cathy Wolfe led her race with 33%, but may still have been disappointed to see 67% of the vote go to one of her three opponents, each of whom had criticized Wolfe’s tenure on the commission.
In the November 6 general election, Wolfe will face the leading challenger, Karen Rogers, the Olympia City Councilmember who won 30%.
Both Wolfe and Rogers list themselves on the ballot as Democrats. Wolfe’s best showing came in the most Democratic parts of Olympia, such as the South Capitol neighborhood where she won over 50%, with Rogers at about 30% and the other two candidates far behind. Meanwhile, Rogers’ strongest areas were more conservative parts of Olympia, especially several precincts near Lacey, where she won 40% to 45%, about 10% ahead of Wolfe.
There was only one self-described Republican in the commissioner race: Ken Jones, former Mayor of Tenino, who won only 25%, and did best in Lacey and south county precincts. For comparison, the Republican candidates for Governor took 44% of the vote in Thurston County. This suggests that significant numbers of Republican voters crossed over to support one of the Democrats for county commissioner, most likely Rogers. Rogers has criticized Wolfe from a conservative direction and has explicitly appealed for south county votes in her campaign.
The fourth candidate, port commissioner, George Barner (running as an “Independent Demo,” took 12% of the vote.
For Public Utility District Commissioner, Linda Oosterman won 55% in the primary, and will face off in the general against Steve Fossum, who won 24%. Justin Kover was third with 20%.
On the issue of the PUD providing public power in Thurston County, Oosterman has declared her need to gather more information, Fossum has supported it, and Kover had expressed the most opposition to it.
Both the county commissioner and PUD commissioner races were limited to voters in District 1 (the middle third of the county), but all county voters will get to choose in the general election.
OP&L will profile the candidates in the other county commissioner race and in two county judge races in upcoming issues. ◙