OKANOGAN – Okanogan County has a new Superior Court Judge in Henry “Hank” Rawson, who won a winner-takes-all primary vote in a race against Prosecutor Karl Sloan.
While Rawson had nearly 60 percent of the vote as of the Aug. 7 election night count, well over the 50 percent required to stand alone on the Nov. 6 general election ballot for Superior Court Judge, Position 1, his lead grew to 60.15 percent (4304 votes) as of the last count held Aug. 10. In the non-partisan judge’s race Rawson, who currently serves as a District Court Judge, received 4,304 votes to Sloan’s 2851, a result unlikely to be changed in the next ballot count scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 15. Rawson will take the seat being vacated by long-time Okanogan County Superior Court Judge Jack Burchard who has decided to retire after 19 years on the bench.
Rawson was elected to the District Court in the fall of 2010, following Judge David Edward’s retirement, Rawson, a resident of Okanogan, had a private law practice and has served as Omak’s Municipal Judge since 2002
Chris Culp, the incumbent for Okanogan County Superior Court Judge Position 2, ran unopposed and received 5,512 votes in the primary. He too will stand alone on the November general election ballot. Culp was appointed and assumed the duties of the newly authorized second position as county Superior Court Judge in 2011 for a one-year term. Previously, county residents elected him as District Court judge in November of 1986 and voted to retain him in that position in six subsequent elections.
Possibly the biggest upset of the primary election was the ousting of incumbent Andrew Lampe, a Republican, as Okanogan County Commissioner, District 1. Lampe, who has served two terms in the position, was beat out by fellow Republican Sheilah Kennedy, who received 839, votes, or 40.32 percent of those cast by voters in District 1. Democrat Albert Roberts received 720 votes, or 34.6 percent of those cast. Kennedy and Roberts will appear on the top-two general election ballot in November to fight for the position as commissioner, a race that will be decided by all eligible voters in the county, rather than just those who live in District 1.
While different parties will be represented in the District 1 race, two Republicans will battle it out for District 2. Incumbent Don R. “Bud” Hover got 1363 votes in the primary, or 55.2 percent and Ray L. Campbell, got 1106, or 44.8 percent of the votes. Again, all eligible county voters get a chance to select the next District 2 commissioner in the general election.
County voters prefer incumbent Joel Kretz for Seventh District Representative in Position 2, more than three to one over fellow Republican Robert “Bob” Wilson. Kretz, the hometown favorite from Wauconda, received 2,738 of the votes, or 77.48 percent. Wilson, received 796 votes, or 22.52 percent. Statewide, Seventh District voters cast 15,919 votes for Kretz to 9,727 for Wilson. Both will face off in the upcoming general election.
Rep. Shelly Short, the incumbent for Position 1 in the Seventh District, appeared alone on the primary ballot and received 3,047 votes from Okanogan County. The Republican 23,973 total votes from the Seventh District.
Twelfth District voters in Okanogan County, also preferred incumbents. Cary Condotta in Position 1 received 1837 votes over fellow Republican Stan Morse who received 861. Condotta earned 16,288 12th District-wide votes to Morse’s 8,801. Mike Armstrong in Position 2 had 1822 votes over fellow Republican Brad Hawkins who received 900. The total 12th District vote count for the incumbent was 14,984 to 10,634.
For Washington State governor, Okanogan County voters bucked the statewide trend and voted for Republican Rob McKenna over all the other eight candidates for the office being vacated by Christine Gregoire. McKenna received 4,232 of his votes from Okanogan County. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, received the next highest with 2,752. Statewide, however that trend was reversed and Inslee received 624,052 votes to McKenna’s 568,159. Together the two earned over 90 percent of the votes and will battle it out in November.
After the recent redistricting, Okanogan County has become part of the 5th Congressional District and four people sought the office of U.S. Representative in the primary election. Incumbent Doc Hastings, a Republican, did the best pulling 4,498 votes to his next nearest challenger, Democrat Mary Baechler, with 2,323. Hastings did even better statewide, receiving 58,018 votes to Baechler’s 26,141.
Okanogan County voters preferred incumbent Maria Cantwell from the eight candidates for U.S. Senator. The Democrat edged out Republican Michael Baumgartner as her nearest opponent in the primary. This result was reflected by all state voters, although Cantwell received even higher approval statewide. She and Baumgartner, who combined for 86 percent of the total vote, will meet in the general election.
Voter turnout in Okanogan County was 38.6 percent. As of Aug. 10 there were 8,048 votes counted with an estimated 1,050 left to count, according to the Okanogan County Auditor’s office. The next ballot count was scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 15 with the election set to be certified on Sept. 21, 2012.