2024 elections: Packed races begin to emerge

Washington’s candidate filing week began Monday (May 6), giving prospective candidates five days to officially register with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Several candidates previously announced their intention to run and have already been actively campaigning, but they must now file the official paperwork. Candidate filing week ends at 5 p.m. Friday.

High-profile elections scheduled this year include the U.S. presidential election to governors, senators and local officials.

Voters on the North Olympic Peninsula will choose a new member of the U.S. House of Representatives as the region’s incumbent, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, announced late last year he won’t seek re-election.

Kilmer’s 6th Congressional District seat isn’t the only one on the Peninsula without an incumbent running. State Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Lake Sutherland, is running for Commissioner of Public Lands and state Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, is running for Van De Wege’s Senate seat.

Several candidates have already announced their intention to run for Chapman’s House seat.

6th Congressional District

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, D-Grays Harbor, announced last year she would run for the 6th District seat and already secured several endorsements from local officials, including Kilmer.

Also running for the 6th District seat is state Sen. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, so far the only Republican to enter the race.

State Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, also has announced her candidacy, but as of Monday, she had yet to register with the Secretary of State’s Office.

24th Legislative District

Chapman filed for the 24th Legislative District’s Senate seat in addition to Marcia Kelbon, a Quilcene Republican who’s previously run for Jefferson County commissioner.

Several candidates previously announced their intention to run for Chapman’s House seat. As of Monday afternoon, Democrats Adam Bernbaum of Port Angeles and Nate Tyler of Neah Bay both had registered, as had Republican Matt Roberson, also of Port Angeles.

Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Port Townsend, who’s served in the district’s Position 1 seat since 2011, also registered. No other candidates had yet filed for Tharinger’s seat.

Clallam County

The Clallam County District 2 Commissioner seat currently held by Randy Johnson is up for election this year. Johnson, an Independent, announced his intention to seek re-election in March and was registered Monday morning.

Port Angeles Mayor Kate Dexter, a Democrat, who previously announced her intention to run for Johnson’s seat, also registered.

Two commissioner seats on the Clallam County Public Utility District No. 1 commission are up for election, as both positions were vacated by previous incumbents. The two people chosen to fill the board vacancies — Phyllis Bernard and John Purvis — have both registered as candidates for their seats.

The District 3 commissioner seat is currently held by Bernard, who was chosen by the board in April to replace former Commissioner Jim Wadell, who died of pancreatic cancer in February.

Bernard, an at-large member of the Olympic Medical Center Public Hospital District, has registered as a candidate for a six-year term as PUD commissioner.

Purvis, formerly assistant general manager at the PUD, has served in the District 2 seat since last year, when he was chosen to replace former commissioner Rick Paschall, who resigned from the seat in March 2023. Purvis is registered for a two-year term on the board.

Jefferson County

The Board of Jefferson County Commissioners’ District 1 seat, currently held by Kate Dean, is up for election this year. Dean announced in March she would not be seeking re-election. The District 1 seat covers Port Townsend and part of the upper Quimper Peninsula.

Heather Dudley-Nollette, the executive director for Bayside Housing and Services, announced last month she would seek the District 1 seat and registered Monday. Also registered for the seat was Port Townsend City Council member Ben Thomas, whose term on the city council is set to run until 2025.

The District 2 seat on the Board of County Commissioners also is up for re-election this year, and incumbent Heidi Eisenhour, D-Port Hadlock, registered Monday.

Dan Toepper, incumbent District 3 Commissioner for Jefferson County Public Utility District No. 1, registered for another six-year term. Toepper, who currently serves as vice president of the board, was first elected in 2018.

Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Position 1 also is up for election. The seat is currently held by Brandon Mack, who registered as a candidate for another term.

Statewide races

There are a number of statewide races also scheduled to take place this fall, and candidates are already piling up for the August primary election, which will narrow each race down to the top two vote-getting candidates.

Statewide positions include U.S. senator, governor; lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state; commissioner of public lands, treasurer, auditor, superintendent of public instruction, insurance commissioner and three supreme court positions.