U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier holds large lead for WA's 8th Congressional District

It's unclear whether the incumbent will face Matt Larkin or Reagan Dunn in the general election.

Portraits of Rep. Kim Schrier, Reagan Dunn, Matt Larkin and Jesse Jensen

Candidates for Washington’s 8th Congressional District, from left, incumbent Rep. Kim Schrier, Reagan Dunn, Matt Larkin and Jesse Jensen. (Courtesy of the candidates)

U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier started off strong with more than 49% of the early vote count in her bid to continue representing Washington’s 8th Congressional District, while Republicans Reagan Dunn and Matt Larkin fought for the second slot on the November ballot, each capturing more than 15% of the vote. 

With more votes to be tallied in the days ahead, the primary will determine which GOP challenger will face Schrier in the fall in a race that will help determine the balance of power in the U.S. Congress.

With more votes to be tallied in the days ahead, the primary will determine which GOP challenger will face Schrier in the fall in a race that will help determine the balance of power in the U.S. Congress.

First elected in the blue wave of 2018, Schrier represents Washington’s 8th Congressional District, one of only a handful of competitive districts in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives. The district spans both sides of the Cascade Mountains and encompasses eastern King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, as well as Kittitas and Chelan counties.

A pediatrician from Sammamish, Schrier eked out a win in 2018 by about 5%, and voters returned her to Congress in 2020 with a victory margin just shy of 4%.

This year, Schrier is campaigning on bipartisan bills she has passed in the Trump and Biden administrations. And she contends that she is the best choice as conservatives seek to further roll back abortion laws in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the procedure’s constitutional protections. As of earlier this month, Schrier’s campaign had about $5.5 million on hand.

Republicans have been eager to challenge Schrier, as the party holding the White House typically loses congressional seats in the midterm elections. Now, as President Joe Biden’s poll numbers sink, costs for gas and groceries rise, and some crime rates increase, the GOP sees a ready opportunity to flip Democrats’ razor-thin majorities in Congress.

Schrier had 10 challengers on the primary ballot, but only a handful, all Republicans, have been fundraising and running active campaigns.

Matt Larkin, who works for the manufacturing company owned by his family and ran unsuccessfully against Attorney General Bob Ferguson two years ago, has touted himself as the most conservative candidate who can win. Larkin has brought in about $970,000 in campaign dollars.

The contest features Reagan Dunn, one of the few elected Republicans left holding a King County office. A King County Council member since 2005, Dunn has also worked as a federal prosecutor and was a U.S. Department of Justice appointee in the administration of President George W. Bush. Dunn has raised about $830,000 for his bid.

And Jesse Jensen, a veteran and tech industry manager, ran against the congresswoman in 2020, losing to Schrier by just a few points. He has raised just over $1 million.

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