What are the priorities of older Washingtonians in one of the country’s most closely-watched midterm congressional races? An A-A-R-P Washington survey out today focuses on people 50 and older in the state’s 8th Congressional District, which is an open seat after Congressman Dave Reichert decided to retire this year. It finds more than 90-percent of respondents believe Medicare is important for people’s health in retirement, more than 80-percent believe Social Security is important, and more than 70-percent are concerned about prescription drug costs. A-A-R-P Washington State Director Doug Shadel says the results are no surprise.
“It’s just a reinforcement of what the candidates probably already know, that they need to make sure that Medicare, Social Security are there for us, and that we do something about the soaring cost of prescription drugs.”
Multiple polls show former Republican state senator Dino Rossi and first-time Democratic candidate, pediatrician Kim Schrier, are in a dead heat in this race. Reichert has been the district’s Congressman since 2004. More than half of survey respondents said political divisiveness is a major concern. And they believe the U-S economy is getting stronger, although three-quarters say the economic success isn’t helping them.
Older voters consistently turn out in the highest numbers. In 2016, Census numbers show people older than 65 had the highest voting rates, with more than 70-percent casting ballots, and those ages 45 to 65 not far behind. Shadel says that makes this population a powerful part of the electorate.
“The older voter is probably the single most important voting bloc in any election, and this year’s election is no exception. So, candidates running for office really ought to pay attention to what those 50-plus voters are thinking and what their priorities are.”
A-A-R-P is sponsoring the only debate between Rossi and Schrier at Central Washington University on October 17th. The Washington State Debate Coalition is hosting this contest.