Meet the Candidates: Congressional primaries in Washington and Wyoming Tuesday

By Congresspedia asst. editor Avelino Maestas

(For all candidate profiles, see the Wyoming and Washington portals.)

It is anything but business-as-usual for voters in both states holding their congressional primaries on Tuesday. In Wyoming, every seat in the congressional delegation is up for election this year and in Washington state, voters will try out a controversial new primary election system that has already garnered protests from the state's political parties and a Supreme Court ruling.

Washington’s new “top-two” system, designed by Secretary of State Sam Reed, removes the party apparatus from primary elections. Under the new rules, the two candidates who receive the most votes in a given race will move on to the November election, regardless of party affiliation.

Leaders of the state Democratic, Libertarian and Republican parties all objected to the change, arguing it dilutes voters’ choices. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled there was no proof the system confuses voters, since there is no precedent for that type of election.

For more on the Washington and Wyoming races, and our Wiki the Vote project, click through.

The tightest race in Washington is in the state’s 8th congressional district, challenger Darcy Burner (D) is challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert to a rematch of the 2006 election, which Reichert squeeked out with 51.5 percent of the vote.

After the death of Sen. Craig Thomas (R) in 2007, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal appointed state Sen. John Barrasso to the seat. However, with four-years remaining in Thomas’ term, a special election will be held in November to determine who will hold the seat through 2012, with the Tuesday's primary winners on the ballot. Despite earlier conjecture, no Republicans are running against Barrasso in the primary. There are two Democrats: Nick Carter and Keith Goodenough are vying for the chance to challenge Barrasso.

Sen. Mike Enzi is in a similar situation, with no primary competition but a couple of Democrats in the race. However, Wyoming Republicans in the state do have one contested race: that for the at-large congressional district currently held by Incumbent Rep. Barbara Cubin (R), who has announced her retirement. Four Republicans are seeking a spot on the November ballot and the winner will face Democrat Gary Trauner in the general election.

As part of Congresspedia's Wiki the Vote project, our citizen-editors have been tracking and profiling each of the candidates in the primary. We’ll have more on the winners Wednesday (including more in-depth descriptions of challengers), so stay tuned then. In the meantime, if you know something about any of the races listed above, or any race in the country, we want to hear from you. Log in to our Wiki the Vote project, find your state, and upload some information about a candidate or incumbent there. It’s easy, and you can always contact one of our staff editors for help.