Parties Differ on Washington Primary Results

Posted August 20, 2008 at 4:02pm

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) may have won the battle, but the war is still a tossup.

In Washington state’s new top two primary on Tuesday, Reichert received more votes than his 2006 repeat challenger Darcy Burner (D). The primary system, which is new as of this cycle, allows the top two highest vote-getters to advance to the primary.

In Tuesday’s primary, Reichert received 47.9 percent of the vote, meanwhile Burner received 44.5 percent of the vote out of 77,264 votes cast.

But more Democrats in the 8th district cast ballots than Republicans, and Democratic candidates received more votes than Reichert, which follows a trend seen in recent Washington state primary cycles. Reichert, the only Republican in the primary, received 36,970 votes Tuesday, while the three Democrats running, including Burner, received 38,320 votes.

Turnout was particularly low for the August primary, which could have also influenced results.

Burner campaign pollster Celinda Lake downplayed the results in a memo.

“In fact, despite his turnout advantages, the incumbent has been held under 50 percent of the primary vote, and the combined Democratic vote is greater than the Republican vote,” Lake wrote. “This is sobering news for Reichert.”

A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, Ken Spain, said Burner’s prediction that a big primary win would aide her campaign has backfired.

“Ignoring the fact that Sheriff Reichert didn’t spend large sums of money running in this primary, Darcy Burner admittedly cast this race as a preview for the general election in an effort to establish some sort of credibility for her re-run candidacy,” Spain said.