Democratic majorities may be getting bigger, not smaller

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Rather than the widely-anticipated shift to Republicans in the legislature earlier this year, it looks like Democrats may be able to expand their majorities slightly.

On the Senate side, first-term Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, led Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor, in the 26th district, widely considered the Democrats’ most vulnerable seat. Democrats pulled out all the stops for Randall, including spending many millions to lower tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Meanwhile, Rep. Sharon Shewmake, D-Bellingham, was leading Senator Simon Sefzik, 22, R-Ferndale, in Whatcom County’s 42nd District. If this result holds, Shewmake will be 2-0 against Sefziks; The Western Washington University economics professor slapped Sefzik’s mother to defend her seat in the House of Representatives in 2020. Whatcom County Council named the younger Sefzik to succeed the late GOP Senator Doug Ericksen, a move widely seen as the council doing Shewmake a solid service.

In south King County, Democrat Claudia Kauffman is leading Kent City Council President Bill Boyce in the 47th Ward, which is open but currently Democrat-held. Former Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance’s independent bid to unseat Sen. Phil Fortunato in the heavily GOP-leaning 31st District looks set to fall short.

If all of those results hold, the Senate majority will expand one seat to 29-20, likely further emboldening the faction’s progressive wing.

On the House side, the Democrats could win three seats, although one of their potential nominees looks shaky given the recent news. In the 10th District around Whidbey Island, Democrat Clyde Shavers leads first term Rep. Greg Gilday R-Oak Harbor. That early vote was likely cast before the Greek tragedy element of that race surfaced last week, revealing that Shavers had significantly exaggerated elements of his resume. The late vote could well benefit Gilday. Gilday’s Democratic seat neighbor, Rep. Dave Paul, who is considered the most vulnerable House of D, also led.

Democrats also lead in both Houses of Representatives in the 42nd, 44th in Snohomish County and 28th in Pierce County. All six seats were classified as at risk at the start of the campaign.

And the Democrats are eyeing two pickups. Democrat Adison Richards is leading the race to replace Young in the 26th District. And down in Clark County’s 17th district, Democrat John Zingale is leading Republican Stephanie McClintock to an open seat currently held by a Republican. The aforementioned Vicki Kraft was pulled from the district when it underwent significant changes in last year’s redistricting process.

If these results hold, the Democrats’ lead in the House of Representatives would widen to 60-38.


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