Analysis by Brad Boswell, CleanTech Alliance lobbyist, August 8, 2018.
The preliminary votes have been cast for the 2018 Primary Election. While there are still votes to be counted, initial results are indicating a strong Democratic wave throughout the state and nation.
Overall, statewide voter turnout was unsurprisingly low at just under 25%, however this is expected to increase to about 35% by next week’s final vote count as absentee ballots continue to roll in.
With half of the state Senate and the entire House of Representatives up for reelection this cycle, and narrow margins of control in both houses, stakes are high. This midterm election also includes all 11 Congressional seats—all 10 US House of Representatives positions and one US Senate seat (Sen. Maria Cantwell).
Washington State is a top-two primary state, meaning that the two candidates with the most votes—party notwithstanding—will move forward to the general election in November. These results, while not a perfect representation of how the general election will go, are a good indicator of where the public is at, both partisan and participation wise, and what the likely makeup of the Legislature will be come the 2019 lawmaking session in January.
To demonstrate this strong Democratic turnout, less than 10 districts were considered ‘toss up’—meaning they were equally likely to go to Republicans or Democrats—going into the election. Based on last night’s results, 19 are now in this category with several surprising potential incumbent upsets. At the moment, Senate Democrats are ahead in four seats currently held by Republicans and House Democrats lead in 17 now-Republican districts. If these results translate to the general election, the makeup of the Legislature will look significantly different come January—a 29-20 Democrat majority in the Senate and a 67-31 Democrat majority in the House. Below are the specific district results.
State Senate — Toss Up Races
Twenty-five Senators are up for election in 2018. Democrats currently hold a 25 to 24 margin over the Majority Coalition Caucus.
- 26th District Senate — Open Seat (Port Orchard and parts of the Kitsap Peninsula) — Emily Randall (D) is outpacing Marty McClendon (R) by a 51.1% to 45% margin. This race will narrow, as McClendon is expected to pick up most of the votes from the Independent Candidate in the race, Bill Scheidler, who picked up 3.9%.
- 30th District Senate (Federal Way) — Sen. Mark Miloscia (R) leads Claire Wilson (D) by a 48.4% to 38.6% margin in this lean-Democrat district. However, the combined D vote is 50.1%.
- 31st District Senate (Auburn/SE King County) — Sen. Phil Fortunato (R) is leading Immaculate Ferreria (D) by a 55.3% to38.6% margin in this swing Republican district.
- 42nd District Senate (East Whatcom County) — Sen. Doug Ericksen (R) did receive 45.8 % of the vote and will face Pinky Vargas (D) 29% in the general. Astonishingly, the combined Democratic vote was 54% in this traditionally Republican district.
- 48th District Senate (Bellevue) — Sen. Patty Kuderer (D) has emerged with nearly 60% of the vote. Former Sen. Rodney Tom (D) also emerged, but only garnered 29.9%. He will gain most all of the votes from the Independent in the race, Bill Hirt, but that will only put him at around 40%.
State Senate — Other Key Races
- 6th District Senate (Spokane) — Former Rep. Jeff Holy (R) currently trails Jessa Lewis (D) by a 51% to 49% margin in this traditionally Republican District. We expect these numbers to narrow and Holy to win, but this race is now competitive.
- 32nd District Senate (North Seattle) — Sen. Maralyn Chase (D) leads challenger Jesse Soloman (D) by a 39% to 36% margin. It remains to see if Soloman can garner a majority of the Republican votes, which appear to be about 25% of the electorate.
- 35th District Senate (Shelton) — Sen. Tim Sheldon (D) is currently trailing his Democratic opponent, Irene Bolding, by a 38.9% to 35% margin. That said, Sen. Sheldon is expected to win this race as he will garner most of the base Republican vote in the general election, which is expected to be around 25%. Sen. Sheldon caucuses with the Majority Coalition Caucus.
- 44th District Senate (Mill Creek) — Sen. Steve Hobbs (D) handily emerged from the primary with 57% of the vote. He will be challenged by Doug Roulstone (R) who earned only 39.6%.
- 47th District Senate (Kent/Auburn/) — Sen. Joe Fain (R) is leading Monda Das (D) by a 54.3% to 45.7% margin in this swing Republican district.
State House of Representatives — Toss Up Races
The House is currently controlled by Democrats who hold a 50 to 48 margin. There are a number of districts that are considered “in play.” Again, Democrats did amazingly well in this low turnout election where D’s were clearly more motivated to vote.
- 5th District House Pos. 1 (Sammamish) — In this open seat, former Rep. Chad Magendanz (R) trails Bill Ramos (D) by a 53.6% to 46.4% margin.
- 5th District House Pos. 2 (Sammamish) — Rep. Paul Graves (R) trails Lisa Callan (D) by a 45.7% to 52.3% margin. These numbers will narrow as the week goes on.
- 6th District House (Spokane) — Rep. Mike Volz (R) trails Kay Murano (D) by a 47% to 53% margin in this traditionally swing-Republican district.
- 10th District House Pos. 1 (Mt. Vernon) — Rep. Norma Smith (R) 48.7% is trailing Scott McMullen (D) 51.3% in this swing-Republican district.
- 10th District House Pos. 2 (Mt. Vernon) — Rep. Dave Hayes (R) is trailing Dave Paul (D) by a 46.5% to 53.5% margin. Again, these numbers will narrow in later vote counting, but the R’s in this district are in trouble.
- 17th District House (Vancouver) — Rep. Vicki Kraft (R) leads Tanisah Harris (D) by only a 48.5% to 43.9% margin. The combined Democrat vote is 51.5%.
- 18th District House Pos. 1 (Vancouver) — Rep. Brandon Vick (R) is only leading Chris Thobaben (D) by a 50.6% to 49.4% margin in this traditionally Republican district.
- 18th District House Pos. 2 Open Seat (Vancouver) — Kathy Gillespie (D) is leading Larry Hoff (R) by a 53.5% to 46.5% margin. Gillespie dramatically outspent Hoff in the primary. Still the result is astonishing in this R district.
- 19th District House (SW Washington — Lower Olympic Peninsula) — Rep. Jim Walsh (R) is trailing Erin Frasier (D) by a 48.43% to 51.6% margin in this swing-Democrat district.
- 25th District House Position 1 Open Seat (Puyallup) — The combined vote in this four way race was 53% (D) to 47% (R). Jamie Smith (D) has emerged to challenge Kelly Chambers (R) in this pure swing district.
- 25th District House Position 2 Open Seat (Puyallup) — Brian Duthie (D) polled 46.4%, while Chris Gildon garnered 46%. The Independent pulled 7.7%. This race will be a true toss up in this swing district.
- 26th District House Position 1 (Port Orchard) — Rep. Jesse Young (R) 40.53% trails Connie Fitzpatrick (D) 50.5%. It’s unclear whether Young can garner all of the votes from his Republican primary challenger who earned 8.9% of the vote in a nasty primary.
- 26th District House Position 2 (Port Orchard) — Rep. Michelle Caldier (R) only garnered 33.7% of the vote, and the combined Republican vote was just over 50% in this also nasty primary. It’s unclear whether the Democrats will fully fund Joy Stanford (D) who gained 43.9% of the primary vote.
- 28th District Pos. 1 (University Place) — Rep. Dick Muri (R) trails challenger Mari Leavitt (D) by a 47% to 53% margin in this pure swing district.
- 35th District House (Shelton) — Rep. Drew MacEwen (R) trails David Daggett (D) by a 48.3% to 51.7% margin in this swing district.
- 42nd District House (Whatcom County) — Astonishingly, Rep. Luanne Van Werven (R) trails Justin Boneau (D) by a 44.1% to 50.8% margin in this traditionally Republican District.
- 42nd District House Pos. 2 (Whatcom County) — Equally astonishingly, Rep. Vince Buys (R) trails Sharon Shoemaker (D) by a 47.5% to 52.5% margin.
- 44th District (Mill Creek) — Rep. Mark Harmsworth (R) is in considerable trouble as he garnered only 45% of the vote verses Jared Mead (D) who earned 55%. This race should narrow as votes are counted this week.
- 47th District (Kent/Auburn) — Rep. Mark Hargrove (R) 49.82% is facing a significant challenge from Debra Entenman (D) 47.44% in this pure swing district.
State House of Representatives — Other Key Races
- 14th District House (Yakima) — In a mind boggling outcome, Rep. Dave Taylor (R) did not even make it to the top two, and only garnered 20.4% of the vote. This seat will remain in Republican hands, but Dave Taylor was considered one of the best lawmakers in Olympia by members on both sides of the isle. This race clearly demonstrates that the electorate is in no mood to be ignored, and lawmakers in even the most safe seats need to run focused campaigns.
- 29th District House (South Tacoma) — Rep. David Sawyer (D) has been mired down in allegations of sexual misconduct, and appears to have not emerged from the primary. Right now Melanie Morgan (D) has 40.23% of the vote, Terry Harder (R) has 24.4%, and Rep. Sawyer (D) has only 23.4% in this very Democratic district..
- 41st District House (Bellevue/Mercer Island) — In this open seat, My-Linh Thai (D) 41.63% has outpaced Wendy Weiker (D) 25.4%, and will face Michael Appleby (R) in the general. This is a strong D district.
- 48th District House (Bellevue) — Rep. Jim Walsh (R) is leading Ciaran Dougherty (D) by a 72.73% to 27.27% margin in this swing-democrat district.