Candidacies are shaping up for Senate battle

Mysteries remain in some key districts.
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The dome at the Washington State Capitol

Mysteries remain in some key districts.

For hardcore Olympia political wonks, the big question is: Who's gonna carry the Republican flag in the 48th District state Senate race?

Well, for now, you've still gotta keep wondering.

So far, no Republican has surfaced to gun for the spot held by Medina's Rodney Tom, one of two Democrats who caucus with the 24 Washington Senate Republicans to give the GOP a 26-23 majority in the upper chamber. Tom dropped out due to health and family reasons, catching the GOP off-guard on finding a replacement for him. Meanwhile, already-announced candidate Rep. Cyrus Habib, D-Kirkland, filed his paperwork for the seat on Tuesday.

This is one of a few key races that could determine the balance of power in the Senate, which is the sole current roadblock to the agendas of a Democratic House and a Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee.

Meanwhile, Seattle Democrat Claude Burfect filed Tuesday for the seat of retiring 37th District Sen. Adam Kline, who is retiring.

Some congressional and state Senate races filled out Tuesday. But there were no surprises among the new filers, most of whom are already announced candidates. The Washington House races have lower profiles because the Republicans would need a huge run of luck to overcome their 55-43 deficit in the lower chamber

The filing deadline is 5 p.m. Friday. (For reference, here is a rundown of the big picture for the state Senate races)

Meanwhile, here are the more interesting Tuesday actions:

Legislative races

  • 47th District, Auburn Covington, Renton: Incumbent Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, filed Tuesday. No Democratic opponent has surfaced so far in a supposedly swing district.
  • 45th District, Redmond and parts of Kirkland, Woodinville and Carnation: Democrat challenger Matt Isenhower filed Tuesday. He faces, incumbent Sen. Andy Hill, R- Redmond, who filed Monday.
  • 44th District, Snohomish County from Lake Stevens to Mill Creek: Republican Jim Kellett filed Tuesday. Incumbent Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, filed Monday.
  • 42nd District, more or less Whatcom County: Incumbent Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale filed Monday. His probable Democratic opponent Seth Fleetwood has not filed yet.
  • 35th District, Mason plus parts of Kitsap and Thurston counties: Incumbent Sen. Tim Sheldon, D- Potlatch and the only Democrat remaining in the Majority Coalition Caucus, filed Tuesday. He faces Republican Travis Couture and Democrat Irene Bowling, who have already filed.
  • 30th District, northern Pierce and southern King counties: Democrat Shari Song filed Tuesday. Mark Miloscia, a former Democratic state representative who just switched to the Republican Party, has already filed. They will compete to replace Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, who is retiring.
  • 28th District, a major chunk of western and southern Piece County:  Sen. Steve O'Ban, R-University Place, and Rep. Tami Green, D-Lakewood, filed Tuesday to compete for O'Ban's seat. This is considered one of the most evenly contested races in the state's Senate sweepstakes.

Congressional races

  • 2nd Congressional District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen filed Tuesday. Independent Mike LaPointe of Everett filed Monday.
  • 3rd Congressional District: Michael Delavar, a Republican from Washougal, filed Tuesday. Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Democratic Bob Dingethal of Vancouver filed Monday.
  • 4th Congressional District: Two new Republicans — Glen Stockwell of Ritzville and Gavin Seim of Ephrata —filed Tuesday to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings. That puts six Republicans and one Democrat in the race so far. Democrat Estakio Beltran of Richland has already filed. Also, Republicans Dan Newhouse of the Yakima Valley, Clint Didier of Eltopia, George Cicotte of Kennewick and Kevin Midhurst of Richland have already filed.
  • 5th Congressional District: Democrat Joe Pakoota of Inchellium filed TuesdayIncumbent Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers and independent Dave Wilson of Spokane filed Monday.
  • 7th Congressional District: Incumbent Democrat Jim McDermott filed Tuesday. Republican Scott Sutherland of Seattle and GoodSpaceGuy of the Work and Wealth Party filed Monday.
  • 8th Congressional District: Democrat Jason Ritchie of Issaquah filed Tuesday. Incumbent Republican Dave Reichert has not filed yet.
  • 10th Congressional District: Sam Wright of the Human Rights Party filed Tuesday. Democratic incumbent Denny Heck and Republican Joyce McDonald of Puyallup have already filed.

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About the Authors & Contributors

John Stang

John Stang

John Stang is a freelance writer who often covers state government and the environment. He can be reached on email at and on Twitter at @johnstang_8