Days of the North American Post

"Kuniyuki Looks to Draw Voters in 1956"

Original Issue Date: September 6, 1956
Reissue Date: October 19, 2011


Although there remain only five days until the Washington State-wide Sept. 11 primary--where candidates for the Nov. 6 U.S. presidential election will be chosen--Japanese Americans living in Seattle, and particularly in the 33rd voting district, are focusing their attentions on the election campaign of Yukio Kuniyuki, himself a Japanese American out of the 33rd District, who is running for state representative.

The 33rd district can be roughly defined as being bordered on the north by Yesler Way, East Cherry and East James Street; on the west by South 11th Street; on the south by Duwamish Avenue, Lucile Street, Brandon Street, and Graham Street; and on the East by the shore of Lake Washington. Residents living in this district are assigned to voting stations beginning with the number 33, hence the moniker: "33rd District."

This year there are a total of eight candidates from the 33rd District--four Democrats and four Republicans--and from these eight, the two top vote-getters from each party will face off in the general election on Nov. 6, where two fo the four will be elected regardless of party affiliation. Put another way, no matter how many candidates declare, the primary election is held to determine the top four vote-getters who will advance to the general election. This system is not limited to the 33rd District but applies to all districts.

A brief profile and introduction of the candidates from the 33rd District can be seen in the accompanying articles; from the four Republicans we have recommended Bensusan and Bosley. For the Democrats, current Speaker of the House and eighth year representative O'Brien has all but secured his spot, while Conner, a sixth year representative, maintains the advantage of incumbency against Kuniyuki and Edwards, who are aiming for Conner's seat. Kuniyumi must defeat Conner if he is to advance to the general election.

The previous state representative primary election was held two years prior on Sept. 14 in 1954; at that time there were nine candidates from the 33rd District, seven Democrats and two Republicans. Thus, the two Republicans, with 1,257 and 1,210 votes respectively, moved on to the general election, while the seven Democrats, led by O'Brien, Conner, and Edwards, struggled amongst themselves for their two spots. The vote count for Democrats that year was as follows:

O'Brien: 3,301
Conner: 2,486

The above went on to compete in the general election

Saddler: 1,308
Copello: 877
Edwards: 754
Jefferson: 471
Newton: 376

Democrats garnered 9,573 votes; Republicans garnered 2,467 votes; and the total vote count was 12,040 votes.

The population for Washington State this year is slated at 1,310,000. This is an increase of 40,000 from that primary two years ago, when the population was estimated to be 1,270,000.

Editor's Note: The North American Post editorial states in the same edition that there would be 1,500--2,000 Nikkei voters in the 33rd District, and Kuniyumi would have an opportunity to advance to the general election. The editorial adds that the election is a major test for Nikkei to prove how their votes can impact on politics. The Sept. 12 edition unfortunately reports that Kuniyumi lost the primary election after being placed third with 1,265 votes.

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