The Washington State Senate is made up of 49 senators: one from each Legislative District. This year, 25 senators’ terms expired. Before the election, the Senate was split 26-23, majority Democrat. Early general-election voting shows that Democrats will likely keep that majority and may expand it.
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One incumbent, Republican Judy Warnick in the 13th LD, ran unopposed. Of the 24 remaining open seats, 10 had been held by Republican Senators for the last four years and 14 had been held by Democrats. The tally as of 9pm on Election Day has 15 seats leaning in favor of Democratic candidates and nine seats leaning Republican.
After the primaries, we wrote that Democrats could expand their majority by four seats. If the election results stay the way they are now, Democrats will expand their majority by two. But these are preliminary results.
Currently, one previously Republican-held district is leaning toward the Democratic candidate:
- 30th LD: Democratic challenger Claire Wilson is ahead of incumbent Republican Mark Miloscia by 6.6 percent. Miloscia won the primary, but Democrats’ votes were split between Wilson and another candidate.
Three races that have potential to flip districts are still nail-bitingly close:
- 26th LD: Democrat Emily Randall is beating Pierce County Republican Party Chairman Marty McClendon, 50.84 percent to 49.16 percent. Fewer than 400 votes separate the two, who are vying for a vacancy left by retiring Republican Senator Jan Angel.
- 42nd LD: Less than a point separates Democrat Pinky Vargas and Republican incumbent Doug Ericksen, who holds the slight lead. Ericksen won the three-person primary, but two Democratic candidates split the majority of votes.
- 47th LD: Incumbent Republican Joe Fain leads Democratic challenger Mona Das by less than a point. Fain won their two-person primary by almost eight points, but allegations of sexual misconduct have since thrown his general-election win into question.
Two districts that once appeared to be vulnerable to a party-flip now lean in favor of the incumbent party:
- 6th LD: Republican State Rep. Jeff Holy is almost 10 points ahead of Democrat Jessa Lewis in a district previously held by retiring Republican Michael Baumgartner. Holy narrowly won the two-person primary with 52.22% of the vote.
- 44th LD: Republican challenger Doug Roulstone is behind incumbent Democrat Steve Hobbs, 55.89 percent to 44.11 percent. This was originally seen as a possible Democrat-to-Republican flip. Hobbs won the three-person primary by 14 points (the third candidate was Libertarian and claimed four points).
And early results of three Democrat-versus-Democrat races are worth noting:
- 32nd LD: Jesse Salomon has nearly 69 percent of votes over incumbent Maralyn Chase. In the primary, the two were separated by less than a point, and a quarter of votes went to a Republican candidate.
35th LD: Incumbent Tim Sheldon is almost five points ahead of challenger Irene Bowling. Bowling got just 1,000 more votes than Sheldon in the primary; 10,000 other votes were split among three Republicans. Sheldon has caucused with Senate Republicans since 2012.
- 48th LD: Incumbent Patty Kuderer is ahead of challenger Rodney Tom by more than 30 points. Tom was a Republican State Representative from 2003-2005 before switching parties. He then served on the Senate, as a Democrat, from 2006 to 2015 and helped create the Majority Coalition with Senate Republicans. The primary was a similar point breakdown; Kuderer got 60 percent of the vote, Tom got 29 percent. Another 10 percent went to a Republican candidate.
Final election results will be certified by counties on November 27 and by the Secretary of State on November 30.