Washington State election update

While there are several races that could shift in the coming days, based on current vote counts and our projected outcomes in those, there were no surprises in Washington state races. We expect that Democrats will occupy all but one statewide office and will grow existing legislative majorities.

State Offices
Governor Inslee will likely finish with his best showing yet heading into his third term. In early vote counts, Inslee had garnered nearly 60 percent of the vote. Congressman Denny Heck will be the state’s new Lieutenant Governor, and incumbent Secretary of State Kim Wyman is ahead in her race. One change is that current Treasurer Duane Davidson will likely lose by about 10 points to current state Rep. Mike Pelliciotti, D-Federal Way.

State Legislature
As anticipated on the legislative side, Democrats are likely to see a net gain of one seat in the Senate and two seats in the House, resulting in majorities of 29-20 and 59-39, respectively. While those shifts seem simple, the net result is built off both Democrats and Republicans flipping districts and results could change in the coming days. Senate seats in the 28th, 10th, and 19th districts are all expected to switch parties, although those races could tighten in the coming days.

Credit union leaders including the Chair of our most important House Committee, Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, had a very strong showing after a tight inter-party challenge in the primary. Former credit union CEO Rep. Larry Hoff, R-Vancouver, also had a strong showing and will also likely end up with a commanding 8-point or higher victory once all the ballots are counted.

In the Senate, Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, Chair of the Financial Institutions Committee, is locked in a tight battle with a more liberal Democrat and started off down nearly 1,000 votes, but narrowed to only a 415 vote deficit after today’s ballot release. Despite this start, Washington legislative races tend to skew more conservative in later ballot returns which ensures Mullet has a path to victory with tens of thousands more votes still to be tabulated.

We saw significant under-voting in this D vs. D race compared to the district’s D vs. R race in the House. In fact, twelve percent fewer votes were cast in the Senate race in the primary, which likely means Republicans opted out since both candidates were Democrats. That gap has been narrowed to only 6% for the general election votes counted thus far. If that is indeed a sign of Republicans voting for the more moderate candidate, Mullet could significantly narrow the gap and possibly take a lead early next week.

While there are not going to be major swings in the legislative majority in either chamber regardless of how a few close races shake out, there will be nearly 20 new legislators. Some of you have already had a chance to meet with them or will when we engage with them in the next month. The turnover is due to a combination of retirements, legislators running for other offices, and incumbents losing.

Due to COVID-19, the 2021 session will be the most unique session in the modern era.

We’ll continue to keep you posted as these races evolve and finalize and of course feel free to reach out to Joe Adamack, jadamack@nwcua.org with any questions.

Posted in Advocacy on the Move.