State Relations

November 5, 2008

Election Recap

Wow, what an interesting election that was yesterday!  We’ll get to the invididual state races of interest in a second, but from the 50,000 foot level, Democrats seem to have strengthened their hold on power in Olympia.  Governor Gregoire was re-elected by a much wider margin than she enjoyed in 2004 and legislative Democrats appear to have made some additional gains in the Senate and House of Representatives.  Let’s take a quick look at how some of the key races played out.


Chris Gregoire wins re-election to her second term as chief executive by a margin of about 54%-46% over challenger Dino Rossi.  This might have been the biggest surprise of the evening, at least in terms of how quickly the outcome was determined.  Conventional wisdom before yesterday was this race would be much closer and take days to sort out.


In a close race, state representative Jim McIntire (D-46th district) defeated Republican Allan Martin 52%-48%.  Martin has served as deputy state treasurer under incumbent Mike Murphy.

Lands Commissioner

Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark appears to have defeated Republican incumbent Doug Sutherland for the position of Commissioner of Public Lands.  As of this afternoon, Goldmark had a 14,000 vote margin over Sutherland.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Challenger Randy Dorn, a former state legislator and current head of a school employee’s union appears to have defeated long-time incumbent Terry Bergeson in this non-partisan race.  Dorn’s lead is about 51% to 49% for Bergeson.

Other Statewide Races

Incumbents Rob McKenna (Attorney General), Brad Owen (Lt. Governor), Brian Sonntag (State Auditor), Mike Kriedler (Insurance Commissioner) and Sam Reed (Secretary of State) all easily won re-election to there positions.

State Senate

While a number of races are still very close and final outcomes are uncertain, it appears the majority Democrats have held all of their existing seats and may have possibly picked up one additional seat from the Republicans.  If the results this afternoon stay the same, Democrats would hold a 33-16 majority in the Senate, a net gain of one seat from the last two years.  Here are some results from individual districts of interest.

Incumbent Republican Don Benton is trailing Democratic challenger David Carrier by about 147 votes in the 17th district (Clark County).  This race is too close to call for either candidate at this point, but “could” be a pick-up for the Democrats if results stay the same.  Democratic state house member Fred Jarrett seems to have a lock on the senate seat in the 41st district (Bellevue, Mercer Island) and San Juan councilmember Kevin Ranker appear to have easily won the state senate seat in the 40th district (Bellingham, San Juans) which was held for many years by the retiring Harriet Spanel.  All other Senate incumbents seem to be winning their races, although Democrat Marilyn Rasmussen is in a tight race in the 2nd district (Eatonville, SE Pierce County) with Republican challenger Randi Becker.

State House

Again, many races are still very close and the outcomes will not be known for a few days.  However, if current results were to hold, it looks like Democrats may have picked up at least one additional seat, giving them a 64-34 margin in the House of Representatives.  Here’s a closer look at some key races.

Don Barlow, the first term Democrat in Spokane’s 6th district  is losing to Republican challenge Kevin Parker.  While that’s a gain for the G.O.P., Barlow’s Republican seatmate John Ahern is losing to Democratic challenger John Driscoll so no net change in the balance of power in the state House from this district.

In the 10th district (Stanwood, Camano Island), Democrat Tim Knue appears to be winning his race against Republican Norma Smith who was appointed to the seat last year.  In the 17th district (Clark County), Democrat Tim Probst has easily defeated Republican Joseph James for the seat formerly held by Republican Jim Dunn who was defeated in the August primary election.  Together, these races represent a two seat pick–up for the Democrats.

In the 26th district where long-time Democrat incumbent Pat Lantz is retiring, Republican Jan Angel has a slight lead over Democrat Kim Abel, which could be a pick-up for the Republicans.  There are a couple of other races to watch as well.  In the 5th district (Issaquah, Fall City), Republican incumbent Glenn Anderson is holding on to a slight lead over his Democratic challenge David Spring.  In the 25th district (Fife, Puyallup) where Republican Joyce McDonald is retiring, Republican Bruce Dammeier has a slight lead over Democrat Rob Cerqui.  In the 30th district (Federal Way), incumbent Republican Skip Priest is leading his Democratic challenger Carol Gregory by only 51% to 49%.  All of these are races to keep an eye on in the next few days to see if they would impact the ultimate size of the Democratic majority.

That’s it for now.  We’ll post more information on the election in the next couple of days.