By Mario Lotmore | Lynnwood Times Staff
Editor’s Note: For clarification, at the time of this article, the Unity Tour of Washington state was not finalize and was in a conceptual stage. The intended purpose of this tour was for candidates to share a message of togetherness for all Washingtonians.
On Monday, August 17, former Washington state gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed officially filed a declaration of write-in candidacy with the Washington Secretary of State to run for Lt. Governor.
According to RCW 29A.24.311 and RCW 29A.60.021, none of the other candidates that ran for Lt. Governor would be eligible as a write-in candidate. If a write-in candidate lost the same race in the Primary, either as a regular candidate printed on the ballot or as a declared write-in, that candidate is ineligible and cannot file in the General Election as a write-in candidate for the same race.
Because Freed ran for Governor and lost in the Primary Election, he is eligible to run as a Lt. Governor write-in candidate in the General Election.
Freed is the only Republican against two democrat challengers for the November 3rd General election – Senator Marko Liias (21st Legislative District) and Congressman Denny Heck (10th District). Heck received 25.01% of the primary vote, whereas; Liias received 18.53%.
Freed ended his 2020 gubernatorial run placing third (8.94%) behind Governor Jay Inslee and fellow Republican Loren Culp with 50.14% and 17.41% of the vote, respectively.
Freed, the former mayor of Bothell, oversaw the greatest revitalization of a downtown in Washington history with $450 million in private investment. He served on the King County Mental Health Advisory Board and advocated against building heroin injection sites in King County.
When asked by the Lynnwood Times what he will bring to Washington state as Lt. Governor, Freed stated: trade, combating addiction, and collaboration.
“As Lt. Governor my role will be split between the Executive and Legislative. To control what bills are going to the floor for debate is very critical. I will be in a position to stop bad bills moving forward. As a former mayor it is critical to collaborate. As Lt. Governor I can help bring civility and calm to the position.
“The Lt. Governor focuses on trade. I have lived in Egypt, Pakistan, own a house in the Philippines and visited 49 countries in the world. I understand and value different cultures… The current Lt. Governor has left us far behind when it comes to trade.
“When Trump was negotiating a trade agreement with China and then USMCA with Mexico and Canada, we didn’t have a seat at the table because of the animosity that was created between the Federal and State governments…that put the people of Washington behind.
“Also, as your next Lt. Governor, I will do my best to help Boeing. They aren’t receiving a lot of support. We want an environment for businesses to know Washington is open for business.
“Lastly, I support the Pathway to Recovery Program and the opportunity to work with youth. My experience makes me uniquely qualified for the position. We are failing with alcohol and drug addiction. It will be a big focus of mine.”
Freed and his family have started health centers overseas, drilled wells to serve over 2,000 tribal members in Kenya, and built over 150 homes for the poverty-stricken in the Philippines following a devastating earthquake.
Freed hosted an event at his home on Saturday, August 15 to launch his write-in campaign. Over forty individuals attended and dozens more were on zoom. Two of the attendees were former Republican Lt. Governor candidate Marty McClendon and current Republican candidate for State Auditor, Chris Leyba.
“Josh is the right person…his background as a mayor of Bothell, his background as working with both sides, his even keeled as a presiding officer of the Senate is very important,” said McClendon. “The fact that he will break every single tie, the fact that he would influence what and how bills come to the floor, and how the Senate will operate is a breath of fresh air. He would be an absolute check against the Democrat majorities and a Democrat Governor if that were the case.”
Freed has joined fellow Republicans Leyba, McClendon, candidate for Attorney General, Matt Larkin, and candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Maia Espinoza on a Unity Tour of Washington state. Freed has encouraged Culp to join the slate of candidates on the Unity Tour.
Freed confirmed with the Lynnwood Times he will be voting for Loren Culp to be the next Governor of Washington state.
“I will be voting Culp for Governor on November 3rd.”
If successful, Freed will be the first Lt. Governor in Washington state to win by a write-in campaign. In the 1994 Primary, Linda Smith (R-WA 3rd District) won against her Republican challengers in a write-in effort with 29% of the vote. Smith then won against the Democrat incumbent Jolene Unsoeld in the General Election with 52% of the vote.
The vote tally for all Republican candidates in the 2020 Primary for Lt. Governor was 42.93%.
According to a 2018 Write-in Voting Election Clearing House Notice by current Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, “Votes for declared and undeclared write-in candidates must be tabulated as intended by the voter.”
Freed told the Lynnwood Times during the Saturday interview, “Denny Heck and Marko Liias’ platforms aren’t right for Washington state. I am concerned about what is happening with drug addiction in the state. No one is leading that charge in Washington state and therefore we are seeing a rampant rise in crime…I will be the one to lead the charge to return safety and civility back to Washington state. Denny Heck nor Marko Liias have made that part of their platforms, but we must.”
The Lynnwood Times contacted both Liias and Heck for statements to a Freed write-in candidacy.
“We’re focused on bringing together a coalition of people from all across the political spectrum here in Washington state and presenting a vision to voters that’s focused on a shared common purpose: recovering from COVID-19,” Kelty Pierce, Campaign Manager, provided on behalf of the Heck campaign. “We look forward to making our case over the coming weeks.”
Liias provided a more direct response.
“The Republicans failed to recruit credible candidates for many statewide offices this year, so are left with a gun rights extremist for Governor, and a write-in for Lt. Governor. I welcome Freed to the race and will remain focused on my campaign.”
The Lt. Governor is President of the Senate which presides over parliamentary procedure and chairs the Senate Committee on Rules which determines which legislation advances to the Senate floor. As Lt. Governor, one would become the Acting Governor when the Governor leaves the state or unable to serve, serves on and appoints members to over 100 different boards and commissions throughout the state, and promotes trade and economic development on the international stage.
“We need servant leaders who have the courage to change what isn’t working. By looking at creative ways to serve and support our communities, we can make a real impact in so many lives,” Freed provided in an official press release. “As your next Lieutenant Governor, I look forward to shepherding that debate in our State Senate while helping to make real changes with meaningful and positive impacts for so many of our struggling families and friends.”
For more information on each Lt. Governor candidate visit their websites below: