A Republican's guide to surviving a vote to impeach Trump

3. Run in a State With Favorable Election Laws

Newhouse also benefited from Washington’s unusual primary system. Rather than having separate Republican and Democratic primaries, as most states do, Washington has a single primary. All the candidates run together, and the top two vote-getters move on to the general election, even if they are in the same party. (In practice, the system usually produces a Democrat and a Republican, as it did in the Fourth, where Newhouse will face Democrat Doug White in November.) Instead of parties picking a standard-bearer, candidates declare a “preference” on the ballot. That means the state parties are weaker, which tends to produce larger fields of candidates and allow incumbents such as Newhouse to run against the field instead of taking on a single candidate.

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“One argument put forth when we went to the system was this was going to encourage more moderate candidates,” Pirch said. “There’s no strong incentive to become an extremist in the primary—to be the most Republican Republican or the most Democratic Democrat.”

Not coincidentally, Meijer lost to John Gibbs in a traditional primary in Michigan, but David Valadao of California came second in his state’s nonpartisan primary, punching a ticket to the general election. (Valadao faces a dauntingly blue district in November, so Democrats may yet finish what Trump couldn’t and force him out.)

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