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Unusually Large U.S. Senate Primary Pits Cantwell Against 28 Other Candidates

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell is running for relection and is joined by 28 other candidates in the Washington primary.
Max Wasserman
At 29 candidates, the pool running for U.S. Senate in Washington is one of the largest ever.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell is running for reelection in Washington this year, but she's not alone. Twenty-eight other candidates are vying for the office in an ususally large pool of primary candidates. 

The field is second in size on to the special election that replaced U.S. Sen. Henry Jackson after his death in 1983.  Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said this year's surge could stem from reactions both positive and negative to the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.

"In the 25 years I've been in elections, I've never seen this many candidates file for office," Wyman said.

There's technically no limit to how many people can run. All you have to do is be a resident at the time of assuming office and pay a filing fee — $1,700 in the case of the Senate race. The funds from federal races go back toward the Secretary of State's office while local election fees go back to the county. 

Candidates appear in random order on the ballot to avoid giving anyone an unfair advantage. In the past, each county would order the candidates differently, which is the fairest method according to some researchers who study elections. 

This year's candidates span the political spectrum and are mostly men with the exception of four women. Ballots need to be postmarked or dropped off at a ballot box by 8 p.m. Aug. 7.