One of the big stories which took shape while Shift was on a break last week was a clearer picture of the state primary election results. Among the details was which legislative districts will determine the balance of power in Olympia next year.
Obviously, the most important race is the one for Governor. Should Bill Bryant become the first Republican since 1980 to win the governor’s race, Olympia will be a much different place.
The capital could also be in for a big shake-up should Republicans win control of the State House – and hold the Senate – this fall. That would allow the party to lead both Houses of the Legislature for the first time since the 1997-1998 cycle – and just the second time since 1982!
According to Olympia veteran Austin Jenkins, the GOP is poised to make a strong run at just that. In fact, in the primary it virtually clinched one of the two seats it needs to make Frank Chopp the ex-Speaker.
“The Washington House is effectively tied right now,” said the Republicans’ chief House political strategist, Kevin Carns, citing a strong primary showing in the 31st legislative district in Southern King/East Pierce county.
Democrats are singing a more melancholy tune because, as Jenkins notes, “Not too many years ago Democrats held a near supermajority in the Washington House. Now they’re fighting just to hold onto a slim majority. It’s a political sea change.”
“It’s definitely different this time around,” House Democratic Campaign Committee Executive Director Tony Yuchasz said.”
Legislative battles from Vancouver (17th district), to Pierce County (26 and 28), to King (5, 30 and 41), and Snohomish (10 and 44) appear to be the battlegrounds. Millions will be spent as Democrats try to cling to power and Republicans make their move.