Monday, November 19
Ballot counting has resumed and is nearing the finish line with only 8,665 ballots now remaining. It is not uncommon here in Washington for this process to take several weeks due to our absentee-only system, but extremely close races and ballot counting challenges this election have drawn out the process even more than usual. Counties have until Nov. 27 to certify election results, after which the Secretary of State’s Office will direct recounts for qualifying races—currently House and Senate races in the 42nd district and the 26th Senate race. All three of these races also currently meet the higher threshold for a manual recount—margins of 0.25% and 150 votes or less—which will likely delay final results until the official Dec. 6 deadline. Since 2007, only three elections for government positions have had their results reversed by a recount, none of which were state legislative races.
Looking at the makeup of the 2019 Legislature, Democrats have increased their majority by at least 2 seats in the Senate and 6 in the House over their previous 25-24 and 50-48 margins. If the current results hold through the remainder of ballot counting and potential recounts, we will be looking at Democratic majorities of 28-21 in the Senate and 57-41 in the House. Though certainly heavily democratic, neither chamber will see a supermajority, which requires one party to hold 2/3 of the seats—32 in the Senate and 65 in the House.
Here are the most recent counts of the remaining undecided races. Asterisks indicate races that will likely go to recount.
Senate – Undecided Races
**26th District (Port Orchard and parts of the Kitsap Peninsula)
Emily Randall (D) continues to increase her lead on Marty McClendon (R) since she pulled ahead again late last week. 93 votes now separate the two. This race will likely go to recount in the first week of December.
• Randall: 50.07%
• McClendon: 49.93%
**42nd District (East Whatcom County)
Incumbent Republican Senator Doug Ericksen lost ground again and now leads by only 45 votes against democratic challenger Pinky Vargas. Whatcom County election officials reported finding 250 ballots last week that voters from the 42nd district deposited in ballot collection boxes in other counties. Lawyers are involved to determine the efficacy of the transfer of these ballots at this point in the election counting process. This race will go to recount.
• Ericksen: 50.03%
• Vargas: 49.97%
House of Representatives — Undecided Races
6th District Pos. 2 Open (Spokane)
Jenny Graham (R) lead tightened slightly to 696 votes, but still appears to have defeated Dave Wilson (D) in this open seat.
• Graham: 50.52% ✔
• Wilson: 49.48%
10th District Pos. 2 (Mt. Vernon)
Democratic challenger Dave Paul increased his lead on Rep. Dave Hayes (R) up to 565 votes. There have been some vote-counting irregularities identified in the 10th due to ballots that were improperly folded, and thus are unreadable by counting machines. This may lead to a manual recount, although Paul is still expected to win.
• Paul: 50.39% ✔
• Hayes: 49.61%
17th District Pos. 1 (Vancouver)
Rep. Vicki Kraft (R) still leads by Tanisha Harris (D) by about 900 votes. Kraft is expected to win this race.
• Kraft: 50.75% ✔
• Harris: 49.25%
19th District Pos. 1 (SW Washington — Lower Olympic Peninsula)
Rep. Jim Walsh (R) appears to have narrowly defeated his challenger, Erin Frasier (D), by about 500 votes.
• Walsh: 50.39% ✔
• Fraiser: 49.61%
25th District Pos. 1 (Puyallup)
In this swing-district open seat, Republican Kelly Chambers has likely defeated Democrat Jamie Smith. Chambers lost ground in today’s counting and now leads by 623 votes.
• Chambers: 50.57% ✔
• Smith: 49.43%
**42nd District Pos. 1 (Whatcom County)
Rep. Luanne Van Werven (R) lost ground today but is still slightly ahead of challenger Justin Boneau (D) by 80 votes. This race will go to recount.
• Van Werven: 50.06%
• Boneau: 49.94%
42nd District Pos. 2 (Whatcom County)
Sharon Shewmake (D) still leads Rep. Vince Buys (R) by just under 1,000 votes. Shewmake is expected to win this race.
• Shewmake: 50.67% ✔
• Buys: 49.33%