The vacancy left by outgoing Congressman Denny Heck has brought a wave of would-be successors in Washington state’s 10th Congressional District.
Nineteen candidates will be on the ballot this August for the primary election to replace him, each providing their best case for what role they’d play in Congress’s response to the coronavirus recession and how they’d serve constituents of the 827-square-mile district.
Eight of those candidates are running as Democrats, eight are running as Republicans, one is running as an independent, one is in the Essential Workers Party and one has filed as a member of the “Congress Sucks Party.”
Washington’s 10th Congressional District was created in 2011 as part of a realignment of districts following the 2010 United States Census. Heck has been the only person to serve as representative in the district, with many having labeled it as a district made from the Olympia congressman, a fairly moderate Democrat.
And with the August primary election less than a month away, it’s likely two moderate Democrats could retain it. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, which measures how strongly a district leans either Republican or Democrat compared to the nation as a whole, Washington’s 10th ranks fairly moderate at D+5, based on the last two presidential election cycles.
Democrat candidates Kristine Reeves, Beth Doglio, Marilyn Strickland and Phil Gardner have been seen in recent months as possible frontrunners, having raised at least $1 million between the four of them.
During a recent candidate forum hosted by the Washington State Wire, Gardner, a former press secretary for Heck, accused his three other opponents of “red boxing,” which is a campaign finance theory allowing candidates to accept super political action committee money through campaign finance loopholes.
The Nisqually Valley News generally reaches out to candidates with a questionnaire inquiring about their candidacies each election cycle. In the case of this race, seeing as how there are more than a dozen candidates, the paper has decided to round up information, both biographical and political, for its readers. Quotes from this story come from the candidates’ statements in the Secretary of State’s voters pamphlet.
Washington state’s primary election will take place Tuesday, Aug. 4. The two candidates with the most votes will move on to the general election in November.
Jackson Maynard (R)
Jackson Maynard, currently serving as legal counsel for the Building Industry Association of Washington, has served as both a prosecutor and staff attorney for the Washington state Senate. He said he is running to help the region recover from the ongoing coronavirus recession.
According to the state voter’s pamphlet, Maynard has a three-pronged approach to this issue, which includes streamlining home construction, pushing for a bipartisan infrastructure program and supporting technological innovation, such as telemedicine and in schools, to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The most important issue facing our district is the recovery from the economic devastation of the COVID crisis, which poses a national and domestic security threat,” his campaign wrote.
Maynard has served as a board member on the Thurston County Bar Association, a board member on his local homeowners association and a leader at his church.
Todd Buckley (I)
Todd Buckley, a data analyst at Intel and Microsoft, is running as an independent for the seat to address the voters’ needs and curtail special interest and corporate needs.
He hopes to utilize his nonpartisan approach to help work across the national divide in political parties.
“If there was ever a time to be independent, now is that time. Let’s unite and show the world the true meaning of freedom once voiced by Albert Camus: ‘Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better,’” his campaign wrote. “Your interests, health care, education, infrastructure, and more prosperous life after COVID-19: they matter more than corporations’ interests.”
Buckley has attended classes at Pacific Lutheran University, where he swam, and the University of Washington.
He has also been involved in Redefine Tacoma, an environmental justice and clean energy advocacy group, as well as United Way and Washington Women’s Employment and Education.
Nancy Dailey Slotnick (R)
Nancy Slotnick, co-owner of a small security risk consulting firm and a U.S. Army veteran, originally mounted a run for Heck’s seat back in 2018, but ultimately lost, garnering 4.3 percent of the vote as an independent.
But she’s back and has been the Republican campaigning in this election cycle for the longest.
Slotnick holds a master’s degree from Franklin University as well as a bachelor’s degree from Thomas Edison State University.
“I believe in being careful with taxpayer money and support balancing the federal budget,” Slotnick’s campaign wrote. “Before COVID-19 required a massive aid package, we were borrowing heavily. It’s one thing to respond to a crisis, it’s altogether unsustainable to borrow during good times.”
If elected, Slotnick said she’ll work to reform the U.S. Veterans Affairs health care system and defend Social Security.
Her campaign has also earned some notable Republican endorsements, including former 28th Legislative Rep. Dick Muri and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Kristine Reeves (D)
Former 30th Legislative Rep. Kristine Reeves, who also has served as director of economic development for the state’s military and defense sectors, is running to have voters send a “working mom” to Washington, D.C.
Having worked for Sen. Patty Murray and Gov. Jay Inslee’s administrations, Reeves said she’s proud to have spent much of her career supporting veterans and military families.
“We need determined, unflinching leadership to combat this public health and economic crisis,” her campaign wrote. “I will never let Trump and Republicans take away our health coverage. I will drive an economic recovery that puts middle class families first.”
Reeves has garnered a coalition of endorsements thus far, including those from the American Federation of Teachers, Washington State Fire Chiefs and the Washington Education Association.
Congressmen Adam Smith and Pete Aguilar have also both endorsed Reeves. Her campaign has also gained support from many state legislators, including Sen. Joe Nguyen, D-White Center, and Rep. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle.
She’s the top dog fundraiser in the race for the 10th Congressional seat, having raised more than $274,000 as of press time. That could change soon as the second-quarter Federal Election Commission numbers are released.
Joshua Collins (EWP)
Having switched parties from Democrat to Essential Workers Party earlier this year, truck driver Joshua Collins is hoping to leverage his working class background and left-leaning policies to earn over voters exhausted with the status quo.
“Since I was 15, I’ve worked and paid taxes, and watched Congress waste my hard-earned money on corporate bailouts and overpaid contracts for their friends, while saying we can’t afford health care, higher wages, or solutions to the housing crisis. This has to change,” his campaign wrote.
His priority issues include federal rent control, passing the Green New Deal and addressing the “roots of racism … embedded in the fabric of American society since before our nation was founded.”
Another one of Collins’ priorities is to fight for hazard pay for all workers during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as rent and mortgage relief.
Collins, who lives in Olympia, has garnered endorsements from the Rose Caucus, of which he is a founding member, as well as the Washington Youth Climate Strike and Our Revolution Washington.
He’s also been directly involved with a number of activist groups and organizations, including Sunrise Movement and Climate Trike.
Rian Ingrim (R)
Combat veteran and small business owner Rian Ingrim, of Lakewood, announced back in February his intention to run for Washington’s 10th Congressional District.
“I believe the major issues we face today are best solved by a renewed allegiance to the Constitution,” his campaign wrote. “These rights are not negotiable for any American and the Bill of Rights should never be assaulted by the government as it has been in recent years.”
Ingrim’s top priorities include working on common sense imigration reform, revitalizing the nation’s pharmaceutical industry and bringing it back to the 10th, helping solve food insecurities, and supporting small businesses through deregulation.
“I believe in competitive and transparent private health care, free enterprise, reciprocal trade, supporting our military, school choice, and the family as the backbone of America,” his campaign wrote.
Gordon Allen Pross (R)
Gordon Allen Pross, a Republican from Ellensburg with a plan to restructure the nation’s tax system, is running again to represent Washington residents in U.S. Congress more than a decade after his first run.
One of his primary issues is to increase the strength of the American dollar.
His proposal to create a 28th amendment would “abolish every tax, fee, write off, loophole and shelter,” and replace those with a 10-percent tax on “100 percent of America’s income to pay down 100 percent of America’s tax.”
Richard Boyce (CSP)
Running within the “Congress Sucks Party,” retired service member Richard Boyce is looking to curtail actions by the federal government he deems unconstitutional.
“I’m not ‘woke.’ I understand postmodernism, critical theory and their tear down culture. The only rights in America are the rights found in the Constitution,” his campaign wrote, adding that he’d donate $10,000 monthly from his salary to charity.
Boyce, whose campaign is based in Lakewood, is also pushing for a pause on immigration and a “review of Islam and its influence on immigration worldwide.”
He has also proposed making stark cuts to federal taxes and changing the funding sources for social welfare programs over to the states.
Mary Bacon (D)
Third-generation U.S. Army veteran Mary Bacon is looking to use her years as president of a labor union, fighting for worker rights to win voters in her home district.
Having been an environmental scientist, health physicist and shipyard worker by trade, Bacon said she’s running to bring a national focus on the 10th Congressional District, as well as increase the minimum wage and ensure continued funding of military branches.
“”As a former shipyard worker, I have experienced the agony of a paralyzed Congress. As the congresswoman for District 10, I will support fiscal responsibility and constructive debate while working toward resolution,” her campaign wrote. “I am respectful, honest, and I get results via a collaborative process by way of data-driven decision making and reasonable negotiations.”
Beth Doglio (D)
State Rep. Beth Doglio, currently the campaign director at Climate Solutions, a regionally-based clean energy economy nonprofit, is looking to gain resident’s votes by way of fighting for clean energy legislation while also looking to solve widespread national problems, such as homelessness.
“As a state representative, I built diverse coalitions and passed landmark housing, clean energy jobs, and worker protection legislation,” her campaign wrote. “I’m running for Congress to continue fighting for South Sound families, seniors, veterans, and our most vulnerable.
Doglio, who represents the 22nd Legislative District, has garnered many big-name endorsements, including ones from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-V, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. She’s also gained the endorsement of both the Pierce and Thurston County Democrats and more than four dozen state senators and representatives.
Doglio also has the funds to compete; so far, the candidate has raised $239,639 and has the most cash on hand out of any candidate.
Don Hewett (R)
An executive engineer with military experience, Don Hewett is running to bring a voice to those he sees as voiceless and return some “common sense” to the government.
“This is my home; my dog is in this fight,” his campaign wrote. “My greatest desire is to have your voice heard; this is a country of the people, by the people, for the people. I will fight for our rights, working to stop our government from eroding our rights.”
Some of the issues Hewett has chosen to focus on include improving public education, maintaining the strength of the military, and lowering taxes to help strengthen the United States’ middle class families.
Phil Gardner (D)
A former aide for Congressman Heck of nearly a decade, Phil Gardner is running to build off his former boss’s work ethic to help revitalize the economy in the years following the coronavirus recession.
“Public service is important in my family, and I’m running for Congress to continue serving my community in the best way I know how,” Gardner’s campaign wrote. “Donald Trump and his Republican allies have made it clear that we need leaders with strength and values to fight for people and deliver results.”
If elected, Gardner would be Washington’s first openly gay congressman.
Gardner has received support through endorsements from the Pierce County Democrats, Young Democrats of Washington, State Auditor Pat McCarthy and the Washington Stonewall Democrats.
According to the Secretary of State voters pamphlet, Gardner said he plans on fighting for a universal health care measure.
“As a patient with preexisting conditions who relies on daily prescriptions, I’ll fight for a cap on drug prices and to end surprise medical billing,” his campaign wrote.
Gardner’s campaign wrote that he also helped Heck bring back $25 million in federal funding for the Puget Sound’s endangered orcas and passed the COMMUTE Act to relieve congestion around Interstate 5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, among other efforts.
Eric LeMay (D)
A well-known name in the South Sound community and one who’s grown up around the 10th Congressional District, Eric LeMay is running on issues pertaining to the public education system, the environment and struggles within the nation’s infrastructure.
“We need to prioritize our infrastructure, better protect our environment by addressing the health of our aqueducts, drinking water and great watersheds. And we need to produce a health care system that better makes care available to the most vulnerable throughout the district,” his campaign wrote.
LeMay’s grandfather, Harold LeMay, founded Harold LeMay Enterprises, which is one of the largest refuse companies in the state. His family would go on to find success in farming and other businesses, including LeMay Pacfic Disposal.
LeMay is the founding director of the Harold LeMay Car Museum near the Tacoma Dome, and he’s also worked as a marketing director for a Seattle-based architecture firm. He currently owns two businesses in the cleaning and automotive care industries.
Marilyn Strickland (D)
Former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, who served both on the council and in the executive office from 2008 to 2017, is looking to push her background in city leadership and business development to win over voters this August.
“It’s time to boldly pursue housing for all, universal health care, a clean energy grid, and an economy that works for everybody,” her campaign wrote. “In Congress, I’ll expand career and technical education and apprenticeships, and protect a woman’s right to choose ... I’ll take care of our military service members, their families, and veterans. As the daughter of a soldier, I know they deserve opportunity and security for their sacrifices.”
Strickland has also served as the president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
On Sunday, The Seattle Times published an article from its editorial board endorsing Strickland, citing her leadership as mayor of Tacoma and her experience she utilized as head of Seattle’s chamber of commerce.
“America will need pragmatic problem-solvers to recover from COVID-19, the resultant economic crisis and the cultural clashes that have coursed nationwide,” the Times editorial board wrote. “Strickland’s resume matches well for the 10th District’s need for strong federal advocacy.”
She also previously earned the endorsements of two former Washington state governors — Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke — as well as former Democratic presidential nominee Andrew Yang.
Dean Johnson (R)
Puyallup council member at large Dean Johnson, who’s served two terms on the council, has served as pastor of multiple churches in the Spanaway, Lakewood and Tacoma area.
He’s also served as executive director of the Breast Cancer Network of strength and is currently employed as a personal stylist.
“Public safety measures to protect us are important, however, we must also protect our jobs, businesses and retirement investments which are essential to support our families,” Johnson’s campaign wrote of the virus.
If elected, Johnson said he would uphold the “whole Constitution,” as well as work to protect religious freedoms, civil liberties and social security.
“Drug abuse and mental illness is a national crisis,” his campaign wrote. “We must expand drug rehab centers and prioritize the expansion of state mental health facilities.”
Ryan Tate (R)
A software engineer for a digital banking firm, Tate said he’s running to balance the federal budget and use his business background to leverage beneficial trade agreements with China. He also said he’s running on solving mental illness, the homeless crisis and reforming the corporate tax rate.
Tate, who lives in Tacoma, characterizes himself as a moderate Republican.
“We must ensure we are a nation leading the world in education, innovation and break-through ideas,” his campaign wrote. “We must ensure every American has access to quality higher education and advanced health care. We must ensure that entrepreneurs have access to capital that promotes small business and U.S. exports.”
Tate says he’s also for raising the federal minimum wage to account for the rise in housing, food, energy, education and health care costs over the last five decades.
While Tate hasn’t served in public office, he has served as a congressional intern for former Congressman Darrell Issa.
Ralph Johnson (R)
Republican congressional candidate Ralph Johnson did not submit any information to the Washington Secretary of State, nor has he made any filings with the Federal Election Commission.
A campaign website could not be found either.
Sam Wright (D)
Having served two years in the U.S. Army Infantry with also five decades of fish population management and habitat management, Sam Wright is running to advocate for health care and post-secondary education as a basic human right.
Wright is the self-proclaimed founder of the Human Rights Party in 2012, providing both candidates and voters with an alternative to the two-party system.
“For education, we need to recognize the essential role of post-secondary education training as part of our 21st century definition of basic education,” his campaign wrote. “Tuition fees in state college systems must be drastically reduced or eliminated.”
Randolph Bell (D)
Democratic congressional candidate Randolph Bell did not submit any information to the Washington Secretary of State, nor has he made any filings with the Federal Election Commission.
A campaign website could not be found either.