Last week, Crosscut’s John Stang wrote an article he described as “a preview of the contests in 10 [state] Senate districts that could be in play” this election-cycle. Stang emphasized the importance of Democrats winning these seats, writing that “the Republican-dominated Washington Senate is the only political body with the clout to stop Gov. Jay Inslee’s agendas on climate change, transportation and education.”
Stang lists his 10 races to watch and his reasoning as follows:
- The 15th Legislative District: “What to look for is how well Democrat Gabriel Munoz polls against longtime Republican incumbent Jim Honeyford in the state senate race. Demographically, the 15th has transformed from a white majority to a district in which no racial group can claim the majority. The primary will be a first peek at whether Eastern Washington’s long-dormant Hispanic voting bloc will finally flex some muscle…”
- The 35th Legislative District: “Democrat Tim Sheldon, the only Democrat who wants to remain in the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, is up against Democrat Irene Bowling and libertarian Republican Travis Couture…. His opponents, Bowling and Couture, hope they can trim enough votes from the right and left of Sheldon to put him in third place in a three-way race.”
- The 6th Legislative District: “Longtime Spokane resident, filmmaker and Democrat, Rich Cowan is going against incumbent super-conservative Republican Michael Baumgartner in this district which leans toward the GOP. Democrats hope Cowan’s deep roots and Baumgartner’s very conservative stances will make the Republican vulnerable.”
- The 26th Legislative District: “Democrat and retired teacher Judy Arbogast is challenging veteran Republican legislator Jan Angel in this slightly GOP-leaning district. Democrats are pinning their hopes on two things: The district’s tendency, at times, to vote Democratic and Angel’s rough ride in Olympia last session.”
- The 28th Legislative District: “This is a true toss-up. Republican Steve O’Ban, the incumbent, is up against longtime Democratic State Rep. Tami Green. Both are proven vote-getters – and fundraisers. The outcome will most likely depend on purely philosophical views of what happened in Olympia these past two years.”
- The 30th Legislative District: “Another toss-up. Democratic incumbent Tracey Eide is retiring. Mark Miloscia, who represented the 30th for years as a conservative Democrat, has switched parties to run for Eides’ seat. His opponent, Democrat Shari Song, recently moved from Bellevue to Federal Way to oppose him…”
- The 42nd Legislative District: Bellingham resident Seth Fleetwood, a Democrat, is gambling on incumbent Republican Doug Ericksen’s vulnerability.
- The 44th Legislative District: This is the other Democrat seat in play, with Republican Jim Kellett challenging moderate Democratic incumbent Steve Hobbs.
- The 45th Legislative District: This legislative race, the most expensive in the state, will be a bellwether on what the Seattle suburbs think of the Majority Coalition Caucus. Republican Sen. Andy Hill chairs the Senate Ways & Means Committee and enjoys a huge amount of Olympia clout. Democrat Matt Isenhower is challenging Hill in a district with no clear-cut Democratic or GOP leanings.
- The 48th Legislative District: This was supposed to be the really juicy race. Democrat Sen. Rodney Tom was going to have to defend his switch to the majority coalition in a district that has grown increasingly Democratic. But Tom decided not to run for re-election (personal health and family issues). Now, Democrat State Rep. Cyrus Habib is facing GOP political rookie Michelle Darnell for Tom’s seat.
Now, the latest primary results (as of Thursday afternoon):
- The 15th Legislative District: Republican Honeyford’s 75.43% vs. Democrat Munoz’s 24.57%.
- The 35th Legislative District: Democrat Bowling’s 35.42% vs. Democrat Sheldon’s 33.3% vs. libertarian Republican Couture’s 31.28%.
- The 6th Legislative District: Republican Baumgartner’s 57.36% vs. Cowan’s 42.64%.
- The 26th Legislative District: Republican Angel’s 56.88% vs. Democrat Abrogast’s 43.12%.
- The 28th Legislative District: Republican O’Ban’s 56.3% vs. Democrat Green’s 43.7%.
- The 30th Legislative District: Republican Miloscia’s 57.17% vs. Democrat Song’s 42.83%.
- The 42nd Legislative District: Republican Ericksen’s 56.05% vs. Democrat Fleetwood’s 43.95%.
- The 44th Legislative District: Democrat Hobb’s 54.3% vs. Republican Kellett’s 45.7%
- The 45th Legislative District: Republican Hill’s 54.03% vs. Democrat Isenhower’s 45.97%.
- The 48th Legislative District: Democrat Habib’s 63.31% vs. Republican Darnell’s 36.69%.
Stang proved right about one single race: that the 35th’s three-way race would be a toss-up. Of the other nine races Stang predicted would be tight, Republicans have so far smashed their Democrat opponents in seven districts. There has been nothing “to look for” in Honeyford’s race in the 15th LD, O’Ban’s “true toss-up” race in the 28th LD seems to be anything but, and it appears as though “the Seattle suburbs” in the 45th LD look on Hill with comfortable favorability.
For those who may still care, the title of Stang’s latest primary analysis reads “Primary voting shows state Senate could remain Republican.”
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