With the August 1st primary in the rear view window, many area citizens are wondering why interim Sheriff Jerry Hatcher and Kennewick Police Sgt. Ken Lattin will again face each other in November.

About 1,200 votes separated the two, with 18 percent of registered voters casting ballots. Hatcher won the primary over Lattin.  However, many people, especially on social media, are wondering why despite Hatcher getting the nod, they will do it again come November?

It's due to the top-two candidate system we now operate under in Washington state. In the top-two system, the two biggest vote recipients in all races from city council, school board etc on up through Congressional advance from the primary to the November general election. This is regardless of party affiliation. That's why Dan Newhouse and Clint Didier, both Republicans, contested each other for Congress two elections in a row. They were the top two vote getters.

City council or school board races don't have party affiliation but they still use the same system, as do county sheriff races.

Early on in 2017, after the retirement of Benton County Sheriff Steve Keane, there were 3 candidates interested. But only two, Hatcher and Lattin, officially filed for the election. So with only two candidates, they both advance-regardless of the vote counts. Hatcher was appointed interim Sheriff as he's been with the department for many years.

So, despite the results, that's why Lattin and Hatcher will again square off in November.


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