(The Center Square) – With just over 36,000 voters in the primary for a city of over 230,000 the race for Mayor of Spokane just passed its first milestone. The two frontrunners moving on to the general election are incumbent Mayor Nadine Woodward and former Secretary of Commerce Lisa Brown.
In Washington state, unlike states where parties put forward the candidate that wins their primary, the state’s primary system is designed to let voters pick whichever candidate they choose regardless of party affiliation.
The system is known as a top two primary, and according to the Secretary of State’s website, “the party preference information has no bearing on how officials conduct the election or who advances from the Primary to the General. Instead, which candidates advance depends solely on how many votes they receive in the Primary.”
For Spokane, those preliminary results out the night of the primary are Lisa Brown and Nadine Woodward with 46.80% and 38.66% of the vote respectively.
“Mayor Nadine Woodward is in a strong position to win re-election. Lisa Brown today hit her high water mark at 46%. The combined votes of Mayor Woodward and Tim Archer, another public safety advocate, comprise over 50% of the electorate,” said John Estey, Executive Director of the Spokane Good Government Alliance in a statement following the primary results.
“Spokane residents care about public safety, housing, and homelessness and they sent a clear message – Lisa Brown is too radical for our city,” Estey added.
Brown’s campaign disagreed, issuing her own statement shortly after the preliminary results were posted.
“The truth is we don’t blame the mayor for homelessness. We blame her for spending millions of dollars on a warehouse without running water and calling it a shelter. We don’t blame the mayor for rising crime. We blame her for a citywide police response rate of 42% and a shortage of 70 uniformed officers,” said Brown. “Spokane deserves leadership that gets results.”
The Center Square reached out to Woodward’s campaign for a statement, but did not receive an immediate response.
For her part, the only word from Woodward post-primary results was a single post to her campaign’s Facebook page.
“Thank you, #Spokane for your support. We are on our way to victory and a major change up of City Council!” the post stated, accompanied by photos of the Mayor at a campaign event with supporters.
Ultimately, the race will be decided in November by the voters.
Those percentages earlier translate to 16,978 votes for Brown, and 14,023 for Woodward, but with numbers for Spokane’s registered voters at 145,295 this equates to a turnout of just over 25%.
With only a 25% turnout for the primary, there is still significant room for either candidate to garner the votes needed to win.