Article by Erik Smith. Published on Tuesday, November 11, 2010 EST.
Deficit Now Looks Hard to Make Up for Ways and Means Chairwoman
State Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham.
By Erik Smith
Staff writer/ Washington State Wire
OLYMPIA, Nov. 9.—Late ballot counting in Whatcom County took a sudden turn for the worse for Ways and Means chairwoman Kelli Linville Monday evening, and now it’s looking like she won’t be coming back to Olympia after all.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court race between incumbent Justice Richard Sanders and Charlie Wiggins is looking like a down-to-the-wire tossup.
Linville, the longtime Democratic state representative from the 42nd Legislative District in Whatcom County, was 530 votes behind Republican challenger Vincent Buys when new ballots were counted Monday evening.
It was the first time in the post-election ballot-counting that Buys’ lead had expanded, and the count appeared deadly for Linville. Until now, every one of the daily updates had narrowed his lead significantly, and if the trend had continued it appeared that Linville would overtake Buys by Tuesday. But not now.
Only 3,500 votes are on hand to be counted at the Whatcom County elections office, and many of them are in the county’s other legislative district, the 40th. While it is possible that the postman will bring additional ballots in the Tuesday mail, it is unlikely that they will come in significant numbers, for all ballots had to be postmarked by last Tuesday.
That means that the only thing that could save Linville now is a sharp and sudden Democratic surge in those last few ballots – a turnaround so dramatic that it might be accompanied by a blue tint to the moon.
Supreme Court Race Could Go Either Way
Sanders, the controversial conservative Supreme Court Justice, could lose his bid for reelection. The result now puts him 3,885 votes ahead of Charlie Wiggins statewide, but percentagewise that’s not much of a lead. Right now he has just 50.11 percent of the vote.
County elections offices statewide indicate that they have 237,163 ballots on hand to be counted.
Tight Races Falling to Dems
Democrats are leading in all the other “bubble races,” the legislative contests that looked so close on election night that they might have gone either way. Last-minute balloting appears to have overwhelmingly favored Democrats – the result, perhaps, of the party’s last-minute get-out-the-vote drive to help save U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. One unintended consequence is that Democrats will hold on to control of the state House and Senate in the state Legislature.
For the Senate:
In the 30th District, state Sen. Tracy Eide, D-Federal Way, is ahead of challenger Tony Moore 52-48.
In the 44th, state Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, is ahead of Republican challenger Dave Schmidt 51-49.
In the 48th, state Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, is ahead of Republican challenger Gregg Bennett 52-48.
The state’s tightest race appears to be in the 25th Legislative District, where state Rep. Dawn Morrell, D-Puyallup, is eking out a slight advantage over Republican Hans Zieger, 185 votes. But the vote-total percentages – 50.09 percent to 49.91 percent – are close enough to ensure a recount.
In the 35th District, state Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton, is narrowly defeating Dan Griffey 51-49.In the 45th District, state Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, is narrowly defeating Kevin Haistings 51-49.