There may be nothing more creative than a Washington candidate entering an election for which he or she has no chance of winning and taking a flier when filling in the "party preference" space on the petition for candidacy.

Because the Washington top two primary does not select a Democratic and Republican winner, a candidate can — in theory, anyway — move on to the general election without a D or an R after his or her name. It has never happened in a statewide race since the primary law took effect, but hope springs eternal for some candidates.

It can be a way of standing out in a large gaggle of candidates for a particular office. Attempts at creative naming often happen in a race with a slew of relative unknowns and can signal, with a wink and a nod, something or everything about their beliefs.

This is beyond the smattering of candidates from real, but small, established political organizations like the Socialist or Socialist Workers, Libertarian or Green parties. They may get their day in the sun and survive a contested primary at some point, although it wouldn't be wise to bet the rent it will be in 2020.

This campaign season, in a governor's race that tops three dozen candidates, Washington voters will have a candidate claiming to prefer the American Patriot Party, which should not be confused with the Stand Up America Party listed for another. There is a candidate listing the Propertarianist Party and another preferring the Fifth Republic Party. (Apparently I lost track of the Fourth.)

Three gubernatorial candidates claim to prefer the Trump Republican Party, which would seem to be a redundancy considering President Donald Trump is the head of the GOP.

It's at least less confusing than a Central Washington legislative candidate listing himself as a Classical Democrat — is that a Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson kind of Democrat? Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both ran as new and different kinds of Democrats, and they haven't been out of office long enough to be "classics," even applying the standard used to denote "classic rock."

The race for an open seat in the 10th Congressional District also has drawn a crowd and a couple of innovative party monikers. One candidate claims preference for the Essential Workers Party, which may be a dig at COVID-19 shutdown rules that deem some jobs essential and others nonessential, or could signal that this person knows the essence of being a worker. In either case, he's likely to trail another candidate who lists the Congress Sucks Party as his preference.

After all, for every person who thinks their job is essential, there's probably two who think Congress sucks.

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