Ballots mailed out this week
Methow Valley voters will help narrow down the field for Okanogan County sheriff, the 4th Congressional District (the seat currently held by Republican Dan Newhouse), and the U.S. Senate (the seat currently held by Democrat Patty Murray) in the Aug. 2 primary. Ballots will be mailed Friday (July 15).
Incumbent Sheriff Tony Hawley is being challenged by Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow and Kevin Newport, a sergeant for the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Public Safety Department and former Okanogan County sheriff’s deputy. All three prefer the Republican Party.
There are seven candidates challenging Newhouse, who’s served four terms in Congress. Loren Culp, Benancio “Benny” Garcia III, Corey Gibson, Brad Klippert, Jacek Kobiesa and Jerrod Sessler all prefer the Republican Party. Doug White is the sole Democrat in the race.
Seventeen candidates are challenging Murray, who’s served five terms in the Senate. Five prefer the Democratic Party, three prefer the Republican Party, one declared himself a “JFK Republican” and one a “Trump Republican,” one prefers the Socialist Workers Party, and two state no party preference.
Two other races in District 3, the northern part of Okanogan County, are contested — the Okanogan County commissioner seat currently held by Jim DeTro, who is not seeking re-election, and the Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) seat held by Jerry Asmussen, who faces one challenger.
Four candidates are running for the county commissioner seat: teacher Kari Alexander; plant manager and oil-tanker driver Lloyd Caton Jr.; Aaron Kester, who worked in industrial engineering and is active in community groups; and Oroville Mayor Jon Neal. Alexander and Kester are running as independents and Caton and Neal prefer the Republican Party. Methow Valley voters will choose among the top-two finishers in the general election, but don’t get a say in the primary.
Tonasket resident Joseph Enzensperger is challenging incumbent Asmussen for the District 3 PUD commissioner seat, which is nonpartisan. Both candidates will advance to the general election, when the race will be on the ballot for Methow voters.
The Methow Valley is now in the Washington’s 7th Legislative District. Incumbent Republicans Shelly Short and Joel Kretz are running unopposed; incumbent Republican Jacquelin Maycumber is opposed by farmer Lonny Ray Williams, who also prefers the Republican Party.
Numerous county offices, including treasurer, county clerk and prosecuting attorney, are on the ballot. All candidates are running unopposed. Incumbent Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, a Democrat, has seven challengers.
The top-two vote-getters in each race, regardless of party preference, will advance to the general election on Nov. 8.
Public Hospital District No. 1 of Okanogan and Douglas Counties, which runs Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster, is asking voters to support a one-year special levy of $844,000 to finance and maintain the availability of essential health care services. The levy would pay for maintenance, development and expansion of health care facilities and services. If approved, the levy would result in an additional 33 cents per $1,000 of assessed value by current estimates.
All voting in Washington is by mail. Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 2 (be sure you get a postmark and don’t simply drop the ballot in a mailbox). Ballots can also be dropped in the drop box in front of Twisp Town Hall or at the Winthrop Barn through Aug. 2 by 8 p.m.
Register to vote
There’s still time to register to vote. People age 18 and older have until July 25 to register online or by mail. People can register in person up to Election Day at the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office.
There are some changes this year: As of Jan. 1, anyone convicted of a felony who’s not currently serving a sentence of total confinement in prison will automatically have their right to vote restored. This applies to convictions in Washington, another state or in federal court. Once their right to vote has been restored, these individuals must register to vote either online, by mail or in person.
If you are 16 or 17, you can sign up as a future voter (online, by mail or in person) and be automatically registered to vote when you turn 18. Also new this year: Anyone who turns 18 between the August primary and the November general election can vote in the primary.