Republicans are closer to winning control of the State House this year than any time since 2002. Thus, Democrats have a lot to lose in November – and taxpayers have a chance for big wins!
There are quite a few seats — in the House and Senate — that are vulnerable or up-for-grabs this year. So, we decided to make a list of three top competitive races this year.
- Democrat State Senator Mark Mullet (5th Legislative District):
GOP State Representative Chad Magendanz, quite popular in the district, is challenging Mullet in a district long considered the most Republican in King County. Mullet is one of the many Democrats who will have to justify why he voted against his own legislative district’s will when he joined his caucus in ensuring the death of the voter-approved 2/3rd two-thirds tax limitation initiative back in 2012.
A whopping 68% of voters in Mullet’s district voted for the initiative. Rather than support the people’s will, Mullet chose to protect his party’s bigger government/higher taxes agenda.
- Democrat State Representative Christine Kilduff (28th Legislative District):
Like Mullet, Kilduff will have to contend with the fact that she voted against the will of the people she represents when she opposed the 2/3rds majority rule (in her case, I-1366). Kilduff decided to push her party’s bigger government/higher taxes agenda — she’ll have to answer to voters for that.
But, Kilduff will also have to explain her opposition to voter-approved public charters schools. Kilduff said of the bill to save charter schools, “It sets up a separate and unequal system of schools.” Of course, her opposition to public charter schools probably has a lot to do with the money she gets from Washington Education Association (WEA).
Kilduff will face off against Republican Mike Winkler, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, teacher and former school board member for the Steilacoom Historical School District. The race is expected to be “hard-fought.” Indeed, it may help decide which party controls the state House.
- Democrat John Lovick vs. Republican Janice Huxford (44th Legislative District):
Lovick — the former controversial Snohomish County Executive and a former state representative — will battle businesswoman Huxford for state representative, Position 1. Earlier this year, Democrat Hans Dunshee gave up the seat in favor of joining the Snohomish County Council.
Lovick does not have an illustrious record to run on in 2016. On his watch, Snohomish County wasted $12 million on plans for a courthouse that may never happen. Additionally, Lovick’s administration—like so many previous Democrat administrations in Snohomish County—was defined by scandal.
One of the biggest scandals that tainted Lovick’s administration occurred when he granted handsome pay hikes to 16 high-ranking staff members without the County Council’s approval. The total pay raises, including benefits, amount to nearly $150,000. One of those 16 high-ranking staff members to benefit from Lovick’s generosity with taxpayers’ dollars was former Deputy Executive Mark Ericks who, at the time, faced accusations of threatening to kill members of the county council.
Given his proven ability to waste taxpayer dollars, former state legislator Lovick would not find it difficult to fit right back in with Democrats in Olympia should voters make the mistake of voting for him rather than a reliable, experienced businesswoman.
Over all, Democrats are sitting in a tough position this year. A handful of Democrats in key, competitive legislative districts have either retired (like State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe) or have moved on to different political careers (like Dunshee).
That leaves Republicans with opportunities to pick-up seats and, potentially, take control of the state House.