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Morning Wire:  Complete reporting from the 2018 elections

Our team worked over-time last night, reporting from Federal Way, Bellevue and Lynnwood, to bring you stories and analysis from the 2018 elections.  Our team at the Wire has grown considerably in the last year or so, with five of us with regular bylines in the Wire.  Today’s email comes primarily from three of us, with Emily Boerger and Sara Gentzler doing strong work.

As always, thank you for reading our stuff – and please register to be with us on December 13th for the 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference.

With help from Emily Boerger and Sara Gentzler

1. House Dems under-perform Primary election returns

According to late night House returns, House Democrats look to pick up a mere 7 seats. On Primary Election Night, it appeared they might win 23 seats.  After a week of strong Republican returns, it still appeared that House Dems would pick up between 13-19 seats.

After election night, it appears more likely that Dems will pick up 4 seats than they will 10 – much less 13.  This isn’t a set of races that you can chalk up to Trump, or the caravan.  This is more likely an example of House Republicans simply beating House Democrats during the fourth quarter of 2018’s elections.

2.  What election night felt like: 30th LD

Our new Olympia-based reporter, Sara Gentzler, has a great story reporting on what it was like inside the two camps for state senate in the 30th LD.  She interviews Mark Miloscia, who laments the challenge of being a moderate in Olympia today with a set of policy positions that don’t fit a party orthodoxy.

Meanwhile, Clare Wilson – who ended the night up 6.23% over Miloscia – tells Gentzler that “It’s not tomorrow yet” and that there are still votes left to be counted.  But the energy of the room betrayed some exuberance even if Wilson was staying cool.

3. The lesson from mixed initiative results

The two tax initiatives resulted in anti-tax votes.  The two gun violence-related initiatives resulted in strong support for gun regulation and education.  That is certainly a topline view of the ballot box results of this year’s set of initiatives. Emily Boerger reports on the details of this year’s initiatives yesterday.

But, looking at the map tells an important story about Washington State sometimes lost by come progressives:  winning King County isn’t enough to win Washington State, and a Seattle-centric approach to governing isn’t enough to hold a statewide majority.

4. Senate Dems to maintain, perhaps expand, majority

Similar to the state House results, gains in the Senate may be underwhelming for Democrats after a strong turnout during the primary. Back in August, primary results suggested a pick up of four Senate seats for Democrats.

Now, based off early results, one of those seats (the 30th) is leaning toward the Democrat, one seat has the Republican leading by 10 points (the 6th), and the other two are nail-bitingly close and could go either way. However, one additional shift from the primary that favors Democrats is the 47th LD where Sen. Joe Fain is narrowly leading challenger Mona Das by less than a point. During the primary Fain led by 7 points, but a recent allegation of sexual misconduct may have thrown this race into question.

5.  Three observations from election night returns

In this reflection of last night’s election returns, our team has three observations that we think are worth highlighting.  First, 2018’s election may represent the single largest collapse of support for their legislative candidates by any one party between the primary election and the general election in the recent history (maybe ever?) of Washington State.

Republicans deserve significant credit for running campaigns that cut the projected legislative pickup by Democrats by more than half in each chamber.  The House Democratic pickup might be between 4-7, while in the Senate, they lead in only 2 races.

Meanwhile, to win in Washington State, you need more votes than you can simply see from the Space Needle (an old strategy of now passed-campaign consultant Terry Thompson).  Carrying King County doesn’t mean carrying Washington State.

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