Just as important as knowing the candidates is knowing which candidates represent you in the various legislative districts. One reader said this can be confusing and suggested we find a way of explaining which district the various citizens of the county vote in. As the Tuesday, Aug. 7 primary ballots are going out in the mail today, we thought we’d do our best to try and clear some of this up.
As far as the state legislature, Okanogan County is in parts of two districts, the Seventh and the 12th. The Seventh District is pretty much all of north county and goes from Oroville to Omak, and includes Tonasket, Loomis, Molson, Havillah, Nighthawk, Wauconda, Riverside, Conconully and everything inbetween. While the 12th District covers the rest of the county, like Okanogan, Brewster, Pateros, the Methow, Nespelem and Coulee Dam.
The seventh legislative district, the one we’re most concerned about in the northern end of the county, is currently served by three Republicans, Senator Bob Morton and Representatives Shelly Short, in Position 1 and Joel Kretz, in Position 2. Both representatives are up for reelection to two-year terms. While Rep. Short, from Addy, Wash., has no challenger in the primary, Rep. Kretz, from Wauconda, right here in Okanogan County, faces Bob Wilson, a Republican, from Ione, Wash. Readers will note that we’ve talked about how much our current legislators have done to put forward the unique needs of the Seventh District. So we’re for the home candidate in the primary.
You might also note that we called all the candidates Republicans, while the actual ballot is going to say “Prefers Republican Party,” I don’t think you’ll get any argument from any of those running that they are indeed card-carrying members of the Republican Party.
District 12, is represented by Sen. Linda Parlette and Represetatives Cary Condotta and Mike Armstrong. Both Representatives are Republican and from Wenatchee and also face “Prefers Republican Party” challengers.
Closer to home, we are represented by county commissioners in three districts. Jim Detro is the county commissioner for Position 3, which covers the North County area and is not up for election this go around. He has two years left on his four-year term. However, Andy Lampe, in Position 1 and Don “Bud” Hover, in Position 2, both face challenges to their seats on the county board. Lampe, from Omak, will face off in the primary against fellow Republican, Shielah Kennedy, from Okanogan and against Democrat Albert Roberts, from Omak. Hover, from Winthrop, faces another Republican, Ray Campbell, from Carlton. Those of us in the north county in Detro’s district, won’t be voting for any of these candidates in the primary, but will get a chance in the general election. Those living in the same district as Lampe or Hover will get a chance to cast their vote, whittling it down to the top-two vote getters who then appear on all Okanogan County voters’ general election ballots in November.
There are nine candidates for governor, including two Democrats, four Republicans, two Independents and one with no preferance. Since we now have a top-two system, we might see two Democrats or two Republicans or even two Independents in the general election.
Now for the really confusing one, since the 2010 U.S. Census, there’s been some redistricting going on. Okanogan County is no longer split between the Fourth and Fifth Congressional Districts. While most of us living in the Hwy. 97 cooridor of Okanogan County were in the Fifth District before, and represented by Republican Cathy McMoorris Rodgers, we are now back in the Fifth District, which is represented by Republican Doc Hastings from Pasco. Hastings, who is on our primary ballots, faces challenges from Republican Jamie Wheeler from Kennewick and Democrats Mary Baechler of Yakima and Mohammad H. Said of Ephrata. This isn’t the first time we’ve switched from the Fourth to the Fifth Congressional District. Back in the Tom Foley days we were part of his Fourth District and were switched into Hasting’s Fifth, then back again after Foley was out of office. So Cathy McMorris, who has been one of our legislators since back in her state Seventh District days, will no longer be our member of congress if you live in Okanogan County.
We know this sounds a little like Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s “Who’s on First” but hope this clears up some of the confusion about who votes for whom and where.