Ninety-five percent of the ballots in primary elections in Douglas County and the two Congressional districts have been counted. From the results my prediction is Dan Newhouse should win Congressman Doc Hastings’ 4th District seat and Congressman Dave Reichert should retain his 8th District seat.
Almost one-third of Douglas’ County’s registered voters cast ballots, slightly higher than the state turnout.
The top two winners in U.S. Congressional District 4 were Republican candidates Clint Didier and Dan Newhouse. In Douglas County Didier won 44 percent of the votes and Newhouse won 14 percent. In the District Didier won 32 percent and Newhouse 26 percent, a margin of 6.01 percent.
Both are ranchers but Newhouse served as state legislator from the Yakima area for six years and as Washington director of the Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013. He was appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat.
Didier has not won an elected office but was appointed to the Federal Farm Service Agency by President George W. Bush. BallotPedia.org reports Didier was endorsed by FreedomWorks, the strongly conservative group of Republicans and in 2012 “was a favorite of the Tea Party” in his unsuccessful campaign for Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands.
Both support repealing the Affordable Care Act, reducing regulation, protecting gun rights and set a priority of reducing the federal debt and annual deficits.
Didier has said, “I have signed a written pledge that I will oppose any and all efforts to increase any taxes on any budget that increases the scope and size of government, so much as one dollar.” I have not been able to determine if Newhouse has signed that pledge.
They differ on immigration reform. Didier did not mention immigration reform as an issue when the Empire Press asked both candidates what specific farm policies he would support. Newhouse’s first response was, “We need immigration reform to ensure a stable workforce.”
Jon Wyss, at Gebbers Farms in Okanogan and Volunteer Vice-President of USA Farmers, a national association of farm, agribusiness, ranch and employers of migrant employers and a leading advocate for immigration reform, posted the following statement on Newhouse’s Facebook page: “You will win the general [election]. We are here to help you.”
Forty-two percent of District voters didn’t vote for either candidate. Democrats received eighteen percent of the primary votes which should most likely switch to vote against the Tea Party candidate, Didier.
Endorsements from Republican leaders would influence Republican voters according to a news report by the Tri-City Herald and the Yakima Herald published August 7, 2014. Hastings is considering an endorsement. Primary candidate Janéa Holmquist, the Moses Lake state senator who hired a Hastings staffer as her campaign manager and won 10.46 percent of the vote, has not announced whether she will endorse either candidate. Candidate George Cicotte from the Tri-Cities who won 6.51 percent of the vote has announced he will endorse a candidate.
The fall election has had approximately twice as many voters as the primary in the past. Even with the larger voter totals, Washington’s Election Day percentages are similar to primary percentages, according to the RealClearPolitics blog by Sean Trende. The reason is voters don’t change their minds during the three months before Election Day.
Didier’s primary and Election Day percentages where almost identical in the 2012 election for Commissioner of Public lands with 41.3 percent in the primary and 41.1 percent on Election Day. His opponent gained all the percentage outside the top two.
My prediction is that Newhouse should win. He should win a majority of voters who didn’t vote for the top two. Even if he wins only half of the other Republicans and all the Democratic votes, he would win with 56 percent.
The 8th Congressional District race was dominated by Congressman Dave Reichert with 72.18 percent of the Douglas County vote and 62.53 percent of the state vote. Reichert’s margin should mean a victory, even if Democrat Jason Ritchie does increase his percentage by 3-5 percent.