Thousands of more ballots will be counted in the coming days, but the results from the 2014 primary have already produced some major surprises — the biggest surprise being the overall strength of Republicans. If these results mirror the voting in November, Republicans will hold the Senate, and gain a handful of seats in the House.
Consider the results so far in the 47th district, a suburban area made up of Covington and parts of Kent and Auburn. Democrats were excited about their chances to oust Republican Rep. Mark Hargrove, who barely held on to his seat two years ago. Hargrove, however, racked up 59 percent of the vote. The other Representative from the 47th, Democrat Pat Sullivan, the House Majority Leader, is only receiving 52 percent of the vote against an unknown Republican who has barely campaigned.
Another surprise is the fact that Republican Pedro Celis, who raised nearly $500,000, is currently trailing a Republican, Robert Sutherland, who raised and spent less than $5,000. Will Celis’ advertising campaign affect those who voted later and allow him to survive the primary?
The final surprise is the struggle longtime state Senator Tim Sheldon, a Democrat who joined the Republican-dominated Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, is having to remain in the top two and advance to the general election. He is currently only 400 votes ahead of Republican Travis Couture.
It is important to remember that the final results of the primary election will serve as the most reliable predictor of the November election results, as history has shown that in our wide-open, essentially non-partisan system, the results in November rarely differ more than a few percentage points from the primary results.
Here is where the key races stand now:
Pedro Celis, a retired Microsoft engineer who has long been a leader in the Republican Party and the Hispanic community, has been the only candidate considered to be a serious contender here against freshman Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, who represents the First Congressional District that sprawls from the Eastside to the Canadian border. But Celis currently trails an unknown Republican, retired biochemist Robert J. Sutherland, by roughly 700 votes. DelBene, the only D on the ballot, is receiving less than 52 percent of the vote, confirming she is vulnerable. If Celis pulls it out, this race stays in the lean Democratic column. If not, you can call DelBene a sure winner, as Republicans are not likely to fund the campaign of Sutherland, a Tea Partier.
As expected, former State Rep. Dan Newhouse, and Tea Partier Clint Didier have advanced to an all Republican final to replace Doc Hastings in Central Washington’s Fourth CD. Newhouse now becomes the heavy favorite to win this seat, as Didier is unlikely to win the votes of Democrats or moderates.
Our state’s other eight members of Congress are on the road to easy re-elections.
State Senate Outlook
At this point, Democrats appear to face long odds in their quest to gain two seats and retake control of the state Senate floor. They appear to be losing a seat in Federal Way, and only one member of the majority coalition, crossover Democrat Tim Sheldon, is in a truly close race.
35th Legislative District (Mason County): Maverick Democrat Tim Sheldon has both a Republican opponent (Travis Couture) and a Democratic opponent (Irene Bowling), and he is currently hanging on to second place by 400 votes. If Sheldon survives he will cruise to re-election. If he loses, will both parties fight for this seat?
28th LD (Lakewood, University Place): Sen. Steve O’Ban (R) vs. Rep. Tami Green (D).
45th LD (Redmond/Woodinville): Sen. Andy Hill (R) vs. Matt Isenhower (D).
42nd LD (Whatcom County): Sen. Doug Ericksen (R) vs. Seth Fleetwood (D).
30th LD (Federal Way): Former Rep. Mark Miloscia (R) vs. Shari Song (D).
6th LD (Suburban Spokane): Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R) vs. Rich Cowan (D).
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