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2018 candidate filing week: trends, surprises, and races to watch

Friday marked the end of a busy 2018 filing week where 426 candidates filed for 158 statewide offices in Washington. Overall, the crowd of candidates includes 173 who filed as Democrats, 156 as Republicans, and 37 as Independents or no party preference.

Here is a recap of some of the trends we observed, surprises we saw, and the races that we will be watching in the coming months.

Congressional Races

In the Congressional races, all ten U.S. Representatives and Sen. Maria Cantwell are up for re-election this year. Of the 78 candidates who filed to run for these positions last week, 23 are Democrats and 30 are Republicans. Also of note — only 16 of the 78 candidates are women.

For the lone Senate seat, 29 candidates filed; nearly breaking the record 33 candidates who filed for the Senate seat back in 1983. The group includes five Democrats (including Cantwell), as well as 13 Republicans, 5 Independents, and a handful of other non-major political parties. Also joining the race is former state GOP Chairwoman Susan Hutchison, who filed late Friday afternoon.

In the U.S. House, all races are contested. Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Dan Newhouse have only one challenger each, but in the open 8th Congressional District, 12 candidates have filed.

State Legislature Races

Of the 123 state legislative races, only 15 races are uncontested. The 15 legislators running unopposed include Senate Minority Leader JT Wilcox, Rep. Eileen Cody, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, and Rep. Drew Hansen.

In the 34th Legislative District,  Sen. Sharon Nelson’s Senate position has a big crowd with 11 filed candidates. Following Nelson’s retirement announcement in March, Reps. Fitzgibbon and Cody, also from the 34th LD, reported that they would run for their House positions rather than run for Senator. As predicted, this has created a crowded primary without a clear favorite to win.

In the 45th Legislative District, Sen. Manka Dhingra, who won her seat in a race that cost over $8.7 million less than a year ago, also has a challenger. Running against Dhingra is Dale Fonk, Chairman of the 45th LD Republicans and son of the late Vern Fonk.

Sen. Jan Angel surprised many when she dropped out of the 26th LD race on Friday afternoon. Angel, who was first elected to the state legislature in 2008, announced her plan to retire on Friday and quickly threw her support behind Pierce County Republican Party Chairman Marty McClendon. Also in that race is Democrat Emily Randall and Independent Bill Scheidler.