Status quo expected when Legislature reconvenes
Your NFIB Washington Political Action Committee (NFIB WA PAC) endorsed 59 pro-small-business legislative candidates in this year’s General Election.
Endorsements of incumbents were based on NFIB’s legislative voting records spanning 2019-2020 for members of the state House of Representatives, and 2017-2020 for state Senators. Challengers and candidates for open seats were evaluated based on candidate questionnaire scores, the competitiveness of the district, candidate fundraising and voter outreach, and recommendations from PAC members.
While a few races are headed to a mandatory recount, November 13 tallies show our preferred candidate leading in 52 of those contests and trailing in seven.
If these trends continue, there will be several new faces, but no change in the total number of Democrats and Republicans when the state Legislature convenes Jan, 11, 2021.
In the state Senate, four critical races failed to alter the partisan divide.
- In the 10th Legislative District, Republican Sen. Ron Muzzall is fending off a spirited challenge from Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, a Democrat. Muzzall, who was appointed to the seat in 2019, leads 51%-49%.
- The parties will trade seats with a pair of incumbents poised to be replaced by challengers. Democrat Sen. Dean Takko was ousted by Republican Jeff Wilson, 55%-45%, in the 19th Legislative District. In the 28th Legislative District, Republican Sen. Steve O’Ban appears headed for defeat by Democrat challenger T’wina Nobles. Nobles is besting O’Ban 50.6%-49.2%.
- Also of note, moderate Democrat Sen. Mark Mullet, a small-business owner and former NFIB member, leads his progressive Democrat challenger Ingrid Anderson by just 85 votes in the 5th Legislative District. Big Labor and Gov. Jay Inslee backed Anderson, with Labor spending some $2 million on the race, hoping to oust Mullet who has opposed his party on some tax, labor, and environmental issues. Business groups backed Mullet, contributing most of the $1.5 million in independent expenditures spent to bolster his campaign.
The current partisan split in the state House of Representatives is also expected to remain unchanged.
- Republican Greg Gilday, an NFIB member, overcame an election night deficit and is now poised to win a hotly contested race to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Norma Smith in the 10th Legislative District. Gilday leads Democrat Angie Homola, 50.4%-49.4%. In that same district, Republican Bill Bruch is falling short in a strong challenge to freshman Democrat Rep. Dave Paul. Paul leads 50.3%-49.5%
- The parties again traded seats, this time with Republican challenger Joel McIntire ousting Democrat Rep. Brian Blake, 52.5%-47.4%, in the 19th District, while Democrat challenger Alicia Rule is dispatching Rep. Luanne Van Werven, 51.1%-48.8%, in the 42nd Legislative District.
With the defeat of both Sen. Dean Takko and Rep. Brian Blake, the coastal 19th Legislative District, running from Aberdeen to Longview, is now represented by three Republicans. This appears to be the first time all three seats have simultaneously been held by Republicans since the 1930s. Republicans held two of the district’s three seats – the Senate and one House seat – in the mid-1980s.
This year’s other upset saw incumbent liberal Democrat Rep. Zack Hudgins soundly defeated by a progressive Democrat challenger, David Hackney, in the 11th Legislative District. Hackney leads Hudgins, 61.3%-35.3%.
County election officials have until November 24 to certify election results and report them to the Secretary of State for final certification.