Top Two System - One Party Races

Although state officials had predicted single-party contests would be rare under the new system, there could be a half-dozen legislative races this year with candidates from the same party running against each other in November.

In the past, candidates who won the primary in districts heavily dominated by one party would generally coast to a win in November. Now they face prolonged and expensive fights.

Secretary of State Sam Reed acknowledged the whole thing "is strange. Weird for all of us. We've never seen anything like this in our state."

The chairmen of the state Democratic and Republican parties disagree with the ruling. They've long opposed the top-two primary and are looking for ways to kill it in court.

"Republican voters in Seattle have the right to vote for a candidate in the general election. And that right is being taken away from them," Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz said.

"Democratic voters in Eastern Washington have the right to vote for a Democrat in the general election and that right is being taken away from them."

There's some speculation that the state treasurer's race could end up with two Democrats in the general election.

Before the top-two system was created, the parties used the state primary to winnow the field of candidates down to those who would be their nominees in the general election.

Parties liked it better because voters had to choose a party ballot and pick only from that   party's candidates.

The new nominating process is being handled differently by each party and that has led to some intraparty wrangling. Both agree it's too early to say how this will all play out.

"We'll find out how satisfied the voters are with the top two," said Esser, the state Republican Party chairman.