Editorials

Return incumbents to congressional seats

If the Aug. 5 primary results were any indication, the South Sound’s four incumbent members of the U.S. House of Representatives can go ahead and book their red-eye flights back to D.C. for the next session.

Although Congress’ approval rating is a dismal 14 percent – and low ratings typically translate into high turnover at election time – voters in Washington’s 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th congressional districts don’t appear to be inclined to throw out their representatives come Nov. 4. Three of four incumbents won handily, and the fourth had a reasonably comfortable margin of victory.

We agree with the primary voters’ assessment. The four incumbents are solid performers, and their challengers are either not up to their level or do not make the case for replacing them.

Here’s how we see it:

6th District (from Tacoma to the Olympic Peninsula) – The race pits two Gig Harbor residents, Democratic incumbent Derek Kilmer and Republican Marty McClendon, a Realtor, medical sales representative and pastor. Kilmer, who served in the state House and Senate before election to the U.S. House in 2012, won almost 59 percent of the primary vote against three challengers. He deserves a second term.

8th District (eastern Pierce County, southeastern King County and some of Central Washington) – Republican incumbent Dave Reichert of Auburn, a former King County sheriff, is seeking his sixth term. In the primary he won almost 63 percent of the vote against two challengers. Democrat Jason Ritchie, an Issaquah business owner, is a well-spoken challenger, but the 8th grew more conservative after redistricting, making it even harder for a Democrat to win. Reichert is the better fit for the district and an important link to the House’s Republican majority.

9th District (Northeast Tacoma, South Seattle and Bellevue) – Bellevue Democrat Adam Smith, a former state senator, is seeking a sixth term against Republican challenger Doug Basler, a Kent producer of TV commercials. Smith won 64 percent of the primary votes, and voters should stick with him in the general election.

10th District (Lakewood, University Place, Puyallup and Olympia) – Democrat Denny Heck had the closest primary margin of victory, winning 51.5 percent of the votes in a field of four candidates.

The second top vote-getter at 41.2 percent was Republican Joyce McDonald, a former state representative and current member of the Pierce County Council.

We like McDonald’s work in the Legislature and on the County Council, but Heck better reflects the left-leaning, Olympia-centric 10th. He should get a second term.

To read more election endorsement editorials, go to www.thenewstribune.com/endorsements.

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