Democrats Take the Lead in Washington State Primary Elections
The results of the Washington State Primary Election August 7 indicate potentially large gains for Democrats in the State Legislature this fall. With voter turnout statewide likely to top 40% in the Primary, the results favor a wave of diverse Democratic challengers.
According to the Seattle Times on 8/14,“Democrats are leading in about 20 state House and Senate races against either Republican incumbents or GOP candidates running for open seats the party had held.” Washington State Democrats noted that votes are still being counted, but “…we are well on track to make double-digit gains in the legislature.” At the federal level, Senator Maria Cantwell crushed the leading Republican challenger in her race, taking 54.7% of the vote to Susan Hutchison’s 24.3%. Additionally, two Congressional seats long held by Republicans are now considered to be in play: WA-8 and WA-3. Republican votes combined were a scant 47% in WA-8 and 51% in WA-3, bolstering hopes for Democratic primary winners pediatrician Kim Schrier and professor Carolyn Long. Election results will be certified on August 24.
Democrats earned a one-vote majority in the State Senate with the Special Election of Senator Manka Dhingra in 2017 and hold a two-seat margin in the State House. The slim majorities nonetheless made for a banner legislative year in 2017, with Governor Jay Inslee signing numerous bills to expand voting access, safeguard women’s health care, establish net neutrality, ban bump stocks, and ban conversion therapy. With the support of Gov. Inslee, wider majorities could signal a more ambitious progressive agenda to come.
Code Blue Washington is a 500-member group of volunteers who canvass, phone bank, text and donate to state and local candidates in key races around the state. Candidates are selected based on district data, membership support and strategic overlap with Congressional races.
Code Blue WA targeted six State Legislature races in the 2018 Primary:
Bill Ramos for State House in LD5
Lisa Callan for State House in LD5
Karen Hardy for State Senate in LD7
Jessa Lewis for State Senate in LD6
Debra Entenman for State House in LD47
Mona Das for State Senate in LD47
All six Code Blue Target Race candidates saw gains against incumbent or district past performance ranging from 2% (Hardy) to 20% (Das), with Ramos and Callan taking commanding leads of 8% in LD5. “We’re committed to helping these fantastic candidates right through election day,” said State Captain Julia Ricketts. “Our volunteers understand that living and voting in a safe blue district isn’t enough – we have to lend our energy and skills to purple and red places on the map to build a real Democratic and progressive majority.” A seventh candidate, Claire Wilson for State Senate in LD30, will be added for the General Election.
“The results we are seeing in Washington are happening because organizations like Code Blue are working for terrific candidates and making a real difference with their actions every day, voter by voter. Code Blue is a terrific way to turn a little bit of time in maximum impact for positive change!” says Tina Podlodowski, Chair of Washington State Democrats.
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