November 7, 2008
While all of the statewide elected races appear to be settled, there are a few possible surprises brewing at the state legislative level. On election night it looked like Democrats might pick up a seat or two in both the House and Senate. Now it looks possible that they may lose a seat in each chamber.
In the Senate, Senator Don Benton (R-17) who trailed on election night has now pulled ahead and returns are trending his direction. Incumbent Senator Marilyn Rasmussen (D-2) has now fallen behind her challenger, Randi Becker. If those results hold, the result would be a one seat loss for Senate Democrats.
In the House, two incumbent Republicans, John Ahern in the 6th District (Spokane) and Norma Smith in the 10th District (Island, Skagit, Snohomish) have pulled very close after trailing on election night. Given late vote trends and the amount of votes remaining to be counted, they may well pull ahead. Incumbent Democrat Don Barlow, also in the 6th District, continues to trail and Republicans will pick up a seat in the 26th District (Pierce and Kitsap). Democrats earlier picked up a seat in the 17th District (Clark).
Best guess at this point. The House will be 62 D and 36 R and the Senate will be 31 D and 18 R. However, as in the stock market, past performance in not a guarantee of future results – there are still a lot of votes to be counted and trends may change. I expect we will have a better sense of the final count by the middle of next week.