Yakima businessman Ben Shoval dropped out of the House race in the 14th Legislative District last week, but that didn’t stop the state Farm Bureau from supporting him.
In its list of primary endorsements released late Wednesday afternoon, the organization endorsed Shoval over the three opponents who are still in the race. Those are Republican Gina McCabe, a Goldendale hotel owner; Democrat Paul George, a Yakima resident and former city councilman; and Yakima Republican Adam Yoest, a sergeant first class in the state Army National Guard.
Washington State Farm Bureau spokesman Scott Dilley said the endorsements in congressional, legislative and county races were made based on the recommendations of county Farm Bureau chapters.
“If we are going to change our endorsement it would need to initiate with the Yakima County Farm Bureau to make the change,” Dilley said in a phone interview from Olympia.
Shoval exited the race on June 30, citing internal poll numbers that showed he was unlikely to finish in the top two. Shoval, who endorsed McCabe, will still appear on the ballot.
Dilley said the Yakima County Farm Bureau had submitted its recommendation to endorse Shoval and the state group had already formalized the list prior to Shoval’s announcement.
“This is quite unusual,” Dilley said. “Normally we don’t have candidates dropping out in the middle of a race like this.”
The legislative candidates are seeking to replace retiring Rep. Charles Ross, R-Naches, who is running for Yakima County auditor. The district includes part of Clark County and all of Skamania and Klickitat counties, but Skamania and Klickitat don’t have county Farm Bureau chapters, Dilley said.
Another noteworthy detail from the list is the absence of an endorsement in the crowded 4th Congressional District race. The state Farm Bureau did endorse three U.S. House incumbents in their races: Jaime Herrera Beutler (3rd District), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (5th) and Adam Smith (9th).