Even the Seattle Times recognizes the possibility of a GOP takeover in the state House following the 2016 elections. Back in 2008, House Democrats had a very comfortable majority of 63-35. Currently, they hold a thin 50-48 margin.
So, where are Republicans looking to pick up key seats in November?
- The 31st Legislative District
Democrat State Rep. Chris Hurst (considered a moderate) is retiring… in a predominantly Republican area. Hurst’s departure leaves the door open for a relatively easy GOP pick-up. Via the Seattle Times:
Hurst’s departure underscores how a handful of political races this November could dramatically shift the balance of power in Olympia…
With Hurst’s seat as a pickup opportunity, the House is “effectively tied going into the 2016 election,” argues Kevin Carns, executive director for the House Republican Organizational Committee.
- The 44th Legislative District
Democrat State Rep. Hans Dunshee is abandoning his seat for a position on the Snohomish County Council. Luckily for Republicans, it’s also a swing district. With Democrats hedging their bet on controversial Snohomish County Executive John Lovick, it’s another opportunity to shift the balance of power in the state House. Via the Seattle Times:
Republicans are also seeking to take the open Snohomish County-area seat vacated by Hans Dunshee in the 44th District. It’s a swing district, with the other House seat held by Republican Mark Harmsworth and its Senate seat held by Steve Hobbs, a moderate Democrat.
In the 44th, former Democratic representative and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick is facing off against Republican Janice Huxford.
- The 45th Legislative District
Democrat State Rep. Roger Goodman has a competitive challenger in the form of Republican candidate Ramiro Valderrama, a councilmember for the City of Sammamish. It doesn’t help that Goodman has a negative public image and is on record opposing voter-approved public charter schools. As the Seattle Times points out, the district is considered competitive. It is home to popular GOP State Sen. Andy Hill.
Looks like, after 13 years, Frank Chopp may find himself replaced as state Speaker of the House come next year.