What you need to know about the San Juan County primaries

The political season is upon us. Here’s what you need to know about one position in the race.

Ballots for the Aug. 7 primary were mailed on July 17. Voters should note that San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney candidates, Nick Power and Randy Gaylord, appeared in the primary. Whatever the numbers reveal post-election, both candidates will face each other in the November election as well. The race is considered a “top two” primary because the two candidates will head to the general election.

“I am encouraging voters to compare our records and choose one of us to vote for,” said Power. “This race is too important to sit out.”

Power is a local attorney, who says he represents clients on civil rights, employment, land-­use, whistleblower and election litigation.

Gaylord, county prosecuting attorney, is running for his sixth consecutive re-election, after initially winning the seat in 1994.

Voters should also be aware that both Power and Gaylor are running as Democrats, but the primary is not a partisan race, although the positions are required to choose a party.

“There is no reason to not vote any position just because the voter does not affiliate with the party of the candidate, or because there are only one or two people in the race,” said Gaylord.

County prosecutors in Washington have been partisan positions since statehood in 1889, except for the six charter counties that changed the format.

In 2006, a charter was passed in the islands that all elected positions become nonpartisan, except the prosecuting attorney. When the charter review commission met in 2012, the prosecuting attorney remained partisan. According to Gaylord, there was no clear authority allowing the position to be nonpartisan because under the Washington Constitution Article XI, Section 4, a county charter cannot affect the prosecuting attorney election.

According to Power, the most significant aspect of changing the prosecutor to a non-partisan position is that the race would only appear on the general election. The primary is useful as an early poll for the candidates.

“Primary elections typically favor incumbents because challengers only have a period of a few weeks to make a case to a population that has known the incumbent for a much longer period of time. Primary election results can be a useful indicator,” said Power.

For info, visit www.sanjuanco.com/1221/Elections-Office.