Election results could expand number of major political parties

By Evan Smith

Results of the November general election could expand the number of major political parties in Washington.

The Libertarian Party could join the Democratic and Republican parties with major-party status for the next four years if Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson can get at least 5 percent of the votes for president in the state. A recent Stuart Elway Washington poll showed Johnson getting support from 7 percent of likely voters. Washington Libertarians cite a poll that shows Johnson at 16 percent.

The Green Party also could reach the 5 percent threshold for major-party status, but the most recent Elway poll showed Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein with 4 percent.

Qualification for major-party status is based solely on the statewide vote for president. The Libertarians can’t qualify based on the number of votes their candidates get for a statewide office. For example, it doesn’t matter how many votes the Libertarian candidate for state attorney general gets as the only challenger to the incumbent Democrat. It certainly doesn’t matter how many votes Libertarian Alex Hels gets in the 21st Legislative District or any of the nine other Libertarian legislative candidates on November ballots around the state gets.

Major-party status could bring elections for Libertarian precinct committee officers (PCOs) in 2018 and 2020.

It also could mean that those Libertarian PCOs could nominate replacements for any elected Libertarian office holder. So if Hels would win and then resign, Libertarian PCOs from around the district would meet to nominate three candidates, whose names would go to the Snohomish County Council, which would make the appointment. Hels is challenging incumbent Democratic State Rep. Strom Peterson in the 21st Legislative District, which includes most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood, all of Mukilteo and part of south Everett.

The most visible aspect of major-party status would be a Libertarian (and perhaps Green) place on the 2020 presidential-primary ballot. So we could choose to vote as a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian, (or perhaps a Green). Each major party, old and new, will have a section of the primary voters’ pamphlet.

Washington Libertarians will be well prepared for major-party status. They already are seeking PCOs and possible PCO candidates. In addition to the 10 Libertarian legislative candidates in the general election, there were 10 more who lost in the primary. In addition to Libertarian attorney general candidate Joshua Trumbull on the November ballot, there were four other Libertarians running for statewide office in the primary, along with one for U.S. Senate and three for the House of Representatives.

The Green Party, on the other hand, has shown little effort to seek openings for state and local office and had only one candidate in any of the state’s 10 congressional districts in the primary.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

Everett
Snohomish County likely to feel more like winter, beginning Monday

Get ready for a mix of rain and snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Patrick Kunz speaks during his sentencing on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington.(Annie Barker / The Herald)
Everett gymnastics coach who spied on students sentenced to 6 months

Patrick Kunz, 47, pleaded guilty to charges of voyuerism and possession of child pornography last month.

Traffic moves along Highway 526 in front of Boeing’s Everett Production Facility on Nov. 28, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / Sound Publishing)
Everett transgender mechanic alleges Boeing treated her ‘like a zoo animal’

For years, Boeing allowed toxicity “to fester and grow” at its Everett factory, according to Rachel Rasmussen, an employee from 1989 to 2024.

Monroe High School (Monroe School District)
Monroe High School teacher accused of sexual misconduct, put on leave

Few details were not available Thursday afternoon. Police were seeking information from the public.

Everett
After 10 months, police make arrest in fatal Everett shooting

Police believe Malik “Capone” Fulson killed Joseph Haderlie, 27, in April 2023 outside an apartment complex on Casino Road.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

Ryan Rafter appears in court for sentencing Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of Everett father

In April 2022, Ryan Rafter, 42, shot Christopher Buck, 29, to death after breaking in to his home to steal drugs.

Marysville
Driver strikes, kills Marysville man who was crossing I-5 in Seattle

The man’s car had broken down near Mercer Street. Troopers reported that he was struck when he tried to cross the freeway.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Police: Darrington woman stabbed, buried 5-year-old daughter

The woman reportedly told investigators she was hearing voices before she killed her young daughter on Valentine’s Day.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.