Community Government

Candidate filing for 2024 election begins next week

Posted on May 2nd, 2024 By:

Political candidates can formally file to run for office in the 2024 election starting next week. But plenty of would-be officeholders have already declared their campaigns and begun raising money. 

David Olson, a Peninsula School Board member, is running for state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Three candidates seek a seat in the Legislature being vacated by Gig Harbor Republican Spencer Hutchins. And an independent is challenging Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Gig Harbor. 

State Sen. Emily Randall, a Bremerton Democrat whose district includes the Gig Harbor area, is among several candidates running to replace U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. She recently picked up a key endorsement from one of the state’s top Democrats. 

Election basics 

Candidates can file to run for office between May 6 and May 10. Click here for information from the Pierce County Elections Office on how to file.

The primary election will be Aug. 6 and the general election Nov. 5. 

Among the races that will appear on local ballots are both 26th Legislative District House seats; the Sixth Congressional District seat being vacated by Kilmer, who announced last fall that he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2024; and all statewide executive offices, including governor, attorney general and state schools superintendent.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction 

Olson, a Peninsula School Board member for 11 years, is running to replace incumbent state Superintendent Chris Reykdal.

The retired Navy diver, who now works in the banking industry, has raised over $34,000 for his campaign, according to filings with the Public Disclosure Commission. Only Reykdal ($102,000) and Reid Saaris ($213,867) raised more. 

David Olson

Delegates at the 2024 state Republican convention earlier this month in Spokane endorsed Olson’s campaign. 

In a recent interview, Olson said he is running to restore local control to school districts across the state. He was sharply critical of Reykdal. 

Olson cited PSD’s successes in barring cell phones from classrooms, incorporating AI into learning and creating a literacy task force to improve reading education. 

“I’ve seen us do some really good things in the Peninsula School District,” Olson said. “Over half the kids in the state of Washington can’t read or write or do math or science at grade level. I’d like to run for the office to see what I can do to make changes in the system to help our kids across the state do better and achieve better results.” 

Convention speech 

In his speech to the state Republican convention, Olson touted his efforts to ban the teaching of critical race theory in the Peninsula School District in 2021. 

“I was the first school board president, the first school district in the state, to ban controversial social issues such as CRT, DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and all that horrible stuff,” Olson told the delegates. “That was a big, proud moment for me and my school board that we were able to ban those horrible, socially divisive programs that tell our children to be divisive and that they’re oppressive and victims.”

Olson also promised to support career and technical education, citing his background as a Navy underwater welder. And he criticized the country’s university system, a target of conservatives.

“If every single high school graduate, in my opinion, went into the skilled trades and didn’t go to a four-year university,” Olson said, “they could all go bankrupt and that would save America.” 

Two Republicans seek Hutchins’ seat

Two Republican candidates are running for the House of Representatives position being vacated by Rep. Spencer Hutchins, R-Gig Harbor. Hutchins announced in February that he would not seek a second term in Olympia, citing family and financial concerns.

Jesse Young

Hutchins’ immediate predecessor in the seat, Republican former Rep. Jesse Young, is one of them. Young gave up the seat in 2022 to run for the state Senate. Democratic incumbent Randall defeated Young in that campaign.

Also running as a Republican in the 26th District is Jim Henderson, a business owner and lobbyist from Gig Harbor. Both Hutchins and state Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Gig Harbor, endorsed Henderson.

Henderson is the founder and president of Landlord Solutions, Inc., a Tacoma-based business that provides tenant screening, eviction assistance and other services for property owners. Landlord Solutions’ website describes Henderson as “a lobbyist for the Rental Housing Association of Washington, Tacoma Pierce County Realtors Association, and the Washington National Association of Residential Property Managers.”

Democrat Richards running again

Jim Henderson

The only Democrat yet in the race for Hutchins’ seat is Adison Richards, who ran a competitive and cordial campaign for the same job in 2022. Hutchins defeated Richards by fewer than 800 votes that year in an election in which nearly 75,000 were cast.

Richards, a Peninsula High graduate, now lives in Bremerton and works for Kitsap Tenant Support Services. The 26th District includes the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas, South Kitsap County and parts of Bremerton.

He cited public safety, rising costs and housing and homelessness as his key issues. 

Richards said he opted to run again because “I love our home, I love the place I grew up in. I’ve lived in every part of the district. I want to use my experience … to work on the pressing issues facing our state.”

Adison Richards

Richards has raised over $59,000 for his campaign. PDC records show Young with $22,000 and Henderson with $17,000.

26th Legislative District Position 2 

State Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Gig Harbor, is seeking a sixth term in the state House representing Position 2 in the 26th District.

Caldier, a dentist and former Port Orchard resident who moved to Gig Harbor in 2023, has raised nearly $19,000 for her 2024 campaign, according to Public Disclosure Commission filings. She served on the Health Care and Wellness; Regulated Substances and Gaming; and Innovation, Community and Economic Development and Veterans committees during the 2024 legislative session.

Challenging Caldier is Josh Smith, a former National Weather Service meteorologist and state Elections Division employee running as an independent. Smith is a Gig Harbor resident.

“My whole life, I’ve really identified as an independent or nonpartisan person,” Smith said of running for office without a political label. “I don’t really see myself as a member of either political party. I think that right now in the U.S., a lot of people identify as independents. They don’t really see representation in our government structures as much as people that identify with both of the political parties.”

Smith said campaign finance reform is his top priority. He supports implementing a democracy voucher system, in which voters would receive vouchers that they could donate to candidates who agree to not accept donations over a certain threshold. The city of Seattle employs such a system in its city elections.

Michelle Caldier

Smith has about $4,600 in his campaign coffers.

Sixth Congressional District 

The 26th District’s other representative in Olympia, state Sen. Emily Randall of Bremerton, is among several candidates seeking to succeed Kilmer. Randall won a second term in the Senate in 2022.

Randall’s campaign picked a key endorsement recently from U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a fellow Democrat.

“I was a little surprised, because I know she doesn’t usually get involved at this stage,” Randall told the Washington State Standard. “It’s definitely a signal to folks in D.C. and politically engaged people that I have a record, and Patty Murray’s support.” 

Emily Randall

Two U.S. representatives, Marie Glusenkamp Perez of Vancouver and Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, also recently endorsed Randall. So did state House Speaker Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma and state Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig of Spokane.

Kilmer endorsed Hillary Franz, the state land commissioner, when he announced late last year that he wouldn’t seek another term. Kilmer’s predecessor, Norm Dicks, is also backing Franz, who dropped out of the race for governor to campaign for Congress. 

State Sen. Drew MacEwen of Shelton and Elizabeth Kreiselmaier of Gig Harbor are Republican candidates for the seat. Kreiselmaier also ran in 2020 and 2022, losing to Kilmer both times.

The Sixth Congressional District race shapes up to be an expensive one. Franz leads the way with $580,000 in cash on hand through the end of March, according to Federal Elections Commission filings. Randall has almost $367,000.

MacEwen has $36,500 and Kreiselmaier $1,365.