The possibility of a Republican majority in the state Senate continues to shrink as Tuesday night’s primary results roll in. Initial results show Democrats leading in swing districts that Republicans are relying on, as well as a couple of surprising red districts where Democrats are finding success. Based off early results, Senate Democrats could expand their majority by an additional four seats.
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In this op-ed, Isaac Kastama, a government relations professional at Water Street Public Affairs, outlined the pathway to a possible Republican takeover in the Senate. The pathway involved flipping Senator Steve Hobbs’ 44th LD seat, Rodney Tom beating Sen. Patty Kuderer in the 48th, and holding on to Republican Senators Joe Fain, Mark Miloscia, and retiring Jan Angel’s seats.
So far, nearly all of the steps along this “fraught pathway” are favoring Senate Democrats.
In the 44th LD, Senator Steve Hobbs is ahead of Republican challenger Doug Roulstone 56 percent to 29 percent. In the 48th LD, incumbent Patty Kuderer is outpacing Rodney Tom 59.3 percent to 29.8 percent.
Republican incumbent Mark Miloscia is leading his primary race with 48.4 percent of the vote, but his Democrat challengers Claire Wilson and Tirzah Idahosa have a combined 51.5 percent of the vote (Wilson – 38.6%, Idahosa – 12.96%).
In Janet Angel’s 26th LD seat, Pierce County Republican Party Chairman Marty McClendon (45%) is trailing behind Democrat Emily Randall (51.12%).
However, in a positive sign for Senate Republicans, Sen. Joe Fain has a nearly 9 point lead over Democrat Mona Das.
Also concerning for Republicans are several unexpected races where Republicans are trailing behind in the polls. In the Spokane-area 6th LD, Representative Jeff Holy is running for the Senate Seat held by retiring Michael Baumgartner. In a district that is typically reliable for Republicans, Holy is narrowly trailing behind Democrat Jessa Lewis (51.01% to 48.99%).
In the 42nd LD, Republican Doug Ericksen is leading with 45.8 percent of the vote, but his two Democratic challengers, Pinky Vargas (28.99%) and Tim Ballew II (25.22%), combine for 54.21 percent of the vote.
The Secretary of State’s office will continue to provide updates on the vote counts as additional ballots are processed. The results seen in the primary are by no means a guarantee of what the state will see in November as voter turnout and demographics typically differ in general elections.