Primary election politics can have significant impacts

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category icon Columns, Opinion

Primary elections are funny creatures. They can take on many different meanings. For candidates who win the primary, they point to the results and declare themselves on a roll and deserving of support. Politicos study the results much like they do polling data. This helps them determine who should be considered for general election support both financially and otherwise.

The Primary is often referred to as a “beauty contest” because it most often doesn’t determine who is the ultimate winner, unless the district dynamics are such that the primary victor has no real opposition in the general.

Ballot returns for the primary this month came in slowly until a rush at the last minute on Tuesday, newspapers reported.Most voters are busy enjoying the summer taking vacations and working in their yards. They have little interest in politics in early August. When October rolls around, voters start to take an interest in what is going on.

Hurting the primary candidates is the sheer amount of office seekers. I got four calls this season from friends and relatives asking me about the myriad of folks running for a position. Many voters get frustrated and pass over some offices or just don’t participate.

Often times when a candidate in a primary race does poorly their support dries up. People think they are unelectable.

The outcomes of this week’s primary will be studied, debated and analyzed and will ultimately have a significant impact on those seeking public office.

Matt Johnson is the vice president of government affairs for the Washington Retail Association. For more information, visit