Montesano Republican in bid to unseat Kessler

Rather than take on a freshman in the Washington State House of Representatives as he originally announced, Randy Dutton, of Montesano, instead will try to oust veteran representative and majority leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam.

Dutton was the second peninsula Republican to challenge Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, when he announced his candidacy earlier in 2008. The first was Thomas Thomas of Joyce, who still plans to run against Van De Wege.

"When I first announced, I had anticipated another Republican announcing his candidacy for Kessler's position, but when that didn't happen, I decided last week to go after the unchallenged position myself," Dutton said during a Jefferson County Republican meeting in mid-May. "As a majority leader, Lynn Kessler presided over the dramatic increase in state spending. While her actions were perhaps well-meaning, Washington state cannot afford her."

Dutton stated his experience as a Navy business manager will be essential to understanding large budgets and opportunities for saving money. He also plans to encourage a strong business solution to stimulate the state's economy.

Kessler and Van De Wege represent District 24, which includes Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor counties.

Dutton will have to file for candidacy for the representative seat in the first week of June, when all candidates file for placement on a ballot.

The state is switching to a top-two primary election system this year. With the new system voters will be able to vote across party lines. Also, if there are multiple candidates for a seat, the top-two vote winners will move on to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

For more information about Washington's election system, visit the Secretary of State's Web site at or call 360-902-4180.

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