This was a unique year for the Washington State Legislature as both Republicans and Democrats battled for an astonishing 27 open seats (19 House, 8 Senate).
Democrats held a 27-22 advantage over Republicans in the Senate heading into Election Day. As of Thursday afternoon, the only Senate race yet to be determined was in Southwest Washington’s 17th Legislative District. Tim Probst (D-Vancouver) is hanging on to a narrow lead over incumbent Don Benton (R-Vancouver). If Probst, who previously served in the House of Representatives, can hang on to his 100 vote lead, Democrats will preserve their 27 seats in the Senate.
In another close 17th District race, Julie Olson (R-Vancouver) is leading Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) by fewer than 150 votes in the battle for the House seat previously held by Probst. In the 47th District it is still unclear whether incumbent Mark Hargrove (R-Covington) will hang on to his House seat. Challenger Bud Sizemore (D-Kent) is also trailing Hargrove by only 150 votes.
Two candidates in House races that were too close to call Tuesday night now appear to be distancing themselves from their opponents. In the 30th District, former Federal Way City Council member, Linda Kochmar (R-Federal Way) has built a slight lead on Roger Flygare (D-Federal Way) in the race for Position 1. And incumbant Kathy Haigh (D-Shelton) has opened up a 1,500 vote lead on Dan Griffey (R-Allyn) in the 35th District’s Position 1 race.
No matter what happens in undecided races over the next few days, Democrats will continue to hold majorities in both the House and Senate. But Republicans were victorious in several close House races and are likely to pick up three seats bringing their total to 45. The Democrats would fall to 53.
The Governor’s race is still too close to call. With 55 percent of the vote counted, Jay Inslee leads Attorney General Rob McKenna by 50,000 votes. McKenna is confident he can overcome Inslee’s lead, but in order to do so he will need a sizeable portion of the remaining King County vote. So far he has received only 37 percent of King County.
WSDA is continuing to track the results. We will post more information as it develops. For the most up to date election results visit the Washington State Secretary of State’s webpage at: http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/.