Overlooked Washington State elected offices on primary ballot 2020– who are these people?

Overlooked Washington State elected offices on primary ballot 2020– who are these people?


By Glen Morgan


These Washington State wide elected positions need some voter housekeeping this election year.


In Washington State, there are a variety of state-wide offices which are elected on Presidential election years, and which generally operate in obscurity the rest of the time.  Yet, it is still important to have good, or at least marginally decent people elected to these positions.  By posting this article, I save myself countless hours in responding to questions from voters all around the state, so I’m saving myself some time. I’m sorry I didn’t post this four days ago.


Let’s looks at these races and see the options for the current August primary (you should already have your ballot).


Even if you already know who your governor choice is (I posted this article for an overview on that race), and you might even have made a decision in the Lt. Governor and Attorney General race, it is likely you (and your family and friends) may not know who to choose for the other often overlooked state wide elected races.  Specifically, the Insurance Commissioner, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commissioner of Public Lands, and State Auditor are all covered in this article. My bias tends to be towards more conservative, good government types who run real campaigns, and my analysis reflects this bias.  I’m addressing these in order of the most obscure first:


Insurance Commissioner


Here is the official government website for this office.


There are three candidates listed on your ballot.  Here they are:


Mike Kreidler – He is the longtime incumbent Democrat, and is a fossilized politician from the 1970s who is serving out his final elected years as a placeholder in this office until he is either hospitalized during next term or is forced out of office mid term so the Democratic Party can appoint a replacement.  Here is his official profile on the state website.  He has been fined by the Public Disclosure Commission a few months ago based on a complaint I filed against him (see article here, and final settlement/fine document here).  Sometimes politicians just need to relinquish their death grip on office and let it go.  Staff who work there tell me that Kreidler has “Joe Biden Syndrome” and can only effectively function in public with assistance as long as nobody asks him any tough questions.  This office has not been well-run, and there is much to be done to improve/clean up the place.  See how much he has raised (mostly from out of state) at the Public Disclosure Website found here.  See his campaign website here.


Anthony Welti – He is the Libertarian Candidate running for office, and he is the type of person the Republicans should have recruited in the first place.  He has been running a serious campaign for a number of years, he has raised $74,000 (more than the incumbent) and presents a very good  case for changes and fixes he would bring to the office.  I’ve chatted with Mr. Welti a number of times over the years, and recently I interviewed him on a CAPR Zoom event (linked here).  His campaign website can be found here.  You can see how much he has raised on the PDC site linked here (I’ve never seen a Libertarian candidate out fundraise an incumbent politician in the state before).  I am voting for Welti.  This isn’t a close or difficult call.


Chirayu Avinash Patel – This is the “Republican” candidate for office and he is not running a serious campaign.  He was two months late filing his documents with the Public Disclosure Commission, has raised zero funds, and doesn’t really know much about the office.  Yet, he would still be an improvement on Kreidler.  See Patel’s campaign on the PDC site here (not much to see, but at least he finally filed some registration documents late).


Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)


Here is the official government website for this office.


There are six options provided on your ballot.  Here they are.


Chris Reykdal – Chris is the incumbent, and if you want to know who is working overtime and coordinating with Inslee to ensure that your kids receive the worst education possible in 2020, this is the guy leading the descent to educational oblivion.  I’ve generally had a positive relationship with Chris over the years (even after he threw me out of a Thurston County Democratic Party meeting a few years ago), and I have found him likeable, personable and friendly.  However, in recent times, either being in public office has corrupted him, or he is showing some nasty true colors.  I’ve written a few articles about him here and here.  He is the big money special interest darling in this race, and his campaign finance reporting reflects this fact (see here).  He was a HUGE supporter and cheerleader of graphic sexual education and indoctrination programs for your kids in school (which helped lead to the R-90 campaign to overturn this nasty piece of unpopular legislation).  He is not just fiddling while your kids education, aspirations, and future plans go up in flames – he is tossing fuel on the fire and high-fiving Governor Inslee while he does it.  Which makes sense – they both hate Trump and they believe making you miserable will help defeat him.  On the bright side of things – Reykdal has done more to promote and justify home schooling than any other politician in living memory.   Here is a link to his campaign website, and if you believe anything written there, then you probably attended Evergreen.


Only two other candidates have bothered to run real campaigns.


Maia Espinoza – This candidate has run for office before when she ran for the legislature as a Republican in southwest Pierce County for the 28th LD seat and lost to the incumbent.  She managed to garner 42.5% of the vote in that race (see here).  I first met her at this time and I was impressed with her aggressive campaign style and effective communication.  She is an elementary school teacher, a parent, grew up in a military household, a ROTC grad, and founded the Center for Latino Leadership (see here). She founded that group after being offended by Governor Inslee’s insult to a Hispanic group when he implied that most Hispanics were agricultural laborers who picked fruit in the fields.  She was motivated to jump into this race by Reykdal’s sex ed and indoctrination cheerleading efforts, and incumbent Reykdal has sued to prevent her voter’s guide statement from including information about that curriculum in it (see article here).  She is raising money for her campaign (see here), and she will campaign aggressively.  Her campaign website is linked here. She is less conservative than Ron Higgins, but I’m voting for her anyway because I think she has a shot, and the Leftists really, really, really seem to hate her.


Ron Higgins – This candidate has run for this office before.  In 2016, he placed 3rd in a crowded primary and got bounced out of the race (see here), and in 2012, he placed 2nd in the primary (see here), but due to the arcane rules in time for this office, if a candidate received 50% or more in the primary, they moved on to the general without opposition (see here).  Those rules have been changed since that time.  Regardless, he has raised a small sum of money for this statewide office, see the Public Disclosure reports here.  His campaign website is here.  I like his platform, I like his bio, and I like him.  He is a teacher, lives in West Richland and obviously has concerns about the educational system, but he isn’t running the type of campaign needed to replace a well-funded incumbent.  I’d like to see him in public office somewhere if he can’t make it here.


The other three candidates in this race have raised no money and are not running real campaigns.

Commissioner of Public Lands


Here is the official government website for this office.


There are seven candidates on your ballot for this position, but only two are running real campaigns.


Hillary Franz – This is the incumbent and is a darling of Gang Green and is an established part of the government staff infection.  Before her election to this office in 2016 (see here), she was the Executive Director of Futurewise, which is the organization declaring endless war on property owners and the rural poor of Washington State for many years.  Under her direction, Futherwise litigated throughout Washington State against most local jurisdictions who dared to buck the central planners’ grand plans and central planning schemes and global warming dogma pushed by this organization.  Anyone they didn’t sue, they threatened to sue if they didn’t get their way.  When Futurewise wins, the people always lose.  They are the organization who colluded to produce the absurd Hirst decision (see here) , which is one of the key stepping stones towards destroying your ability to own a private well or live rurally, and ensuring only the wealthy can live rurally.  She was qualified for Futurewise by her extremist positions and actions on the Bainbridge Island City Council, and maintains a comfortable lifestyle in part through income derived from a trust fund (according to her F1 reports).  For a time, she flirted with running for Governor (and squandered $400k), and to this day I wish I knew what promises or threats were used by the Inslee crew to get her to back down (if you know – send me the info).  While there are constraints on how extreme she can operate in this office, the position serves as a nice stepping stone to larger political ambitions, and if she squanders public money the way she did on her aborted Governor’s race, there will probably be some stories from this office in the near future.  She is tight with the Big Money Seattle Billionaire crowd and has raised real cash for this campaign, see here. Her campaign website can be found here.


Sue Pederson – While there are a number of Republicans running in this race, Pederson is the only one who is running a real campaign.  She has raised a modest amount of money for her campaign (see here), and if you take the time to read her voters guide statement or go to her campaign website (see here), you would know that she is far more educated, lives rurally (in Grays Harbor) and would be a tremendous improvement over the incumbent placeholder.  It isn’t even close – Pederson has my vote.  However, she has an uphill fight in this race as the Seattle crowd will fight tooth and nail to control this office if they can and the incumbent supports their dreams and schemes for the rest of us.

The other 5 candidates are not running serious campaigns, and have raised zero funds for their campaigns.


State Auditor


Here is the official government website for this office.


There are three candidates running for office and they all have campaigns


Pat McCarthy – The Democrat incumbent in the seat, under his poor leadership, this office has drifted further and further away from serious oversight.  A cozy relationship with some state agencies allows fiscal fiascos like the Nigerian Fraud Scam sucking hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Employment Security Department after the Auditor’s office gives this agency a gold star (everyone’s a winner).  Unfortunately, this is what she promised when she ran for office  – good relationships with the entities over which she is theoretically supposed to “audit.”  Now the department has just become a way to give gold stars and trophies to everyone while occasionally stumbling on minor theft rings along the way.  This department needs some more aggressive management and a serious focus on getting serious to avoid more Nigerian Fraud Scams to proliferate throughout state government now that Washington State has gained international notoriety for being easy pickings for con artists.  She has not raised a lot of money for an incumbent (see here). And her campaign website is very stale (see here).


Joshua Casey – This is another Democrat running for this office, but it isn’t clear what changes would be brought if he prevailed.  This candidate has raised a few thousand dollars (see here), and at least has a campaign website (see here).  It isn’t clear why he is running or how he would be better than McCarthy.


Chris Leyba – This is the only Republican in the race.  He has a good background in auditing police departments.  I’ve interviewed him on a CAPR candidate Zoom event recently (see here), and he would be a big improvement for this office and agency.  I’m sure the state agencies would prefer sleepy gold stars and auditor participation trophies (see “no findings”), but the taxpayers need someone willing to hold these agencies accountable, and abandoning the performance audits which we earned via citizen’s initiative 15 years ago (see here) is just ridiculous.  Leyba understands the office and has done a good job understanding and researching this agency.  He is helped in part by his background doing audits including performance audits on police departments. This is not a difficult choice, and he is the only good choice in this raceHere is how much he has raised for this race (he needs to raise more). Here is his campaign website.


There are four other statewide offices which I haven’t covered yet, and I hope to do so shortly.  These are the Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General and the Lieutenant Governor races.  If you want to know more about the handful of real challengers (out of the 36 who filed) in the Governor race, go here.


I hope this article was helpful.  If you disagree with my assessments, believe I missed something, or just don’t like me, let me know why in the comments below.


*** Please note, after I initially posted this article, I changed the explanation about Ron Higgin’s reason for not being in the 2012 general election when someone helpfully pointed out the backstory. As always, I greatly appreciate it when someone points out my mistakes or provides additional useful information.




Background articles and documents:

Washington State Voter’s Guide 2020 – primary election

Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) – go here to find out who is funding political campaigns


Published with Permission of wethegoverned.com