Phew, last night's midterm primaries were pretty fun!! Unless you were a Republican, in which case you probably spent a good deal of the evening looking at yourself in the mirror and wondering why things weren't going your way despite all your wealth and natural charisma. But don't worry, you horrible little freak. Remember, you still maintain structural advantages in every realm of federal politics.
Standard-issue Washington Democrats, on the other hand, were popping bottles—or, more accurately, pizza boxes. Though we're still waiting on around half the vote to come in, things are looking good for Democrats across the state. But that's not all! Let's talk about it.
Schrier Catching Fire in a Friendlier Battleground District
Incumbent Congresswoman Kim Schrier just missed taking a majority of the primary night vote with 49.4%. That showing marks an improvement of where she clocked in for the 2020 primary in a presidential year (43.3%), suggesting that the Democrats achieved their goal of drawing her a more favorable district when they added parts of northeastern King County and Snohomish County to the 8th CD in redistricting last year.
Alternatively, Schrier’s stronger showing could mean that this particular bunch of extremist Republican anti-abortion yahoos are simply less appealing to voters primarily concerned with protecting abortion rights, which the recent WA Poll found to be the top issue for 28% of voters statewide. In any event, abortion rights taking center stage in the Congressional race can only mean good things for the House’s only Democratic woman doctor, and her supporters are taking notice of that fact.
State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski expressed confidence that Schrier would pull through regardless of which Republican makes it through to the general election, saying plainly that “Kim Schrier will win that district.” All signs so far point to Podlodowski’s prediction coming true, especially considering the significant investment Schrier’s colleagues in the House made to get her there in the first place: Schrier’s first win in 2018 took nearly $8 million in outside spending from Democratic-aligned PACs supporting her and opposing consummate loser Dino Rossi.
The Mom-off for U.S. Senate Is Less Intense than a PTA Meeting
Latest @PattyMurray fundraising pitch appears to feature June polling sponsored by her challenger @SmileyForWA. Other polling shows her farther ahead. Fear = $$ #waelex https://t.co/cIpyzZ37QV pic.twitter.com/xJHxyGhuup— Jim Brunner (@Jim_Brunner) August 2, 2022
The Socialist Infiltration Stops Here
Trump Candidates Couldn't Get Their Shit Together
The former President tested his strength in the Evergreen state against two Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach him: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in southwest Washington's 3rd Congressional District, and Rep. Dan Newhouse in the eastern 4th Congressional District. Both incumbents will very likely make it through to the general election, boxing out their Trump challengers in a 2-0 victory. How did they do it? Well, they didn't. The MAGA dorks did it to themselves.
Down in the 3rd, it looks like Beutler benefited from establishment GOP PAC money that pitted Trump-loving candidates Joe Kent and Heidi St. John against one another. As The Seattle Times reported, a group called Conservatives for a Stronger America dropped over $1 million on ads attacking Kent and supporting St. John. Initial election results last night gave Kent 20% of the vote and St. John 15% of the vote, allowing Beutler to fly past them with 24.5% of the vote. The incumbent will likely face off against Democratic candidate Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, who picked up 32% of the vote, and who will likely lose in the general, which is too bad. Had either Kent or St. John joined forces, though, we could be looking a contest between a MAGA Republican and a Dem in southwest Washington, which would have been ... honestly a little frightening.
Meanwhile, failed former gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp needs to find more than 3,000 votes to make it through to the general, otherwise he's toast. Incumbent Rep. Newhouse leads with 27% of the vote, Democratic candidate Doug White brought in 26%, and ol' Culp is sitting in third with 22%. That's likely not going to be enough. But if only MAGA State House Rep. Brad Klippert, famous for yelling about anal on the House floor, had sent his supporters Culp's way, then we'd probably be looking at Congressman Culp.
Shockingly, Newspaper Endorsements Seem to Matter in Seattle
Dems Will Probably Keep Sizable Majorities in State Legislature
HAAAAAAAAAA. Ha ha HA. At the beginning of election season, Democrats expected to lose seats in the State House and in the state Senate. The only question was the severity of the loss: modest shrinkage, or red wave Armageddon? Last night's initial results suggest neither. If Democrats don't get complacent, they could hold their large majorities in both chambers, and maybe even pick up a seat. Let's take a brief sprint around the state:
- Dems took substantial leads in King County's "bell-weather" 'burbs. In the 30th LD (Federal Way), Democratic incumbents state Sen. Claire Wilson and Rep. Jamila Taylor lead with 55% of the vote, and former Rep. Kristine Reeves will make it through the primary in a race where the combined Dem candidates enjoy north of 60% support. Almost the exact same story played out in the 47th LD, which covers the Covington area.
- In the 26th LD, which covers Bremerton and Gig Harbor, incumbent Democratic state Sen. Emily Randall has taken an early 10-point lead over Republican House Rep. Jesse Young.
- Dem incumbents are also leading in the northwest corner of the state. The peninsula looks fine, and Democrats representing the islands are doing far better than expected. In the 10th Legislative District, incumbent Democratic Rep Dave Paul leads by ten points, and Democratic challenger Clyde Shavers leads incumbent Republican House Rep. Greg Gilday by 6 points.
- Dems are behind but running pretty strong down in southwest Washington's 17th LD and in the 35th LD, which covers the state's crotch west of Olympia. A big shift left in the general could put those candidates over the edge.
None of these leads came for free. WA Wins, a PAC that supports Republicans in the state Senate, spent a million dollars against Dem incumbents. They may as well have lit it on fire. All of the Democrats they attacked with ads are leading their races by significant margins.
Now, all eyes will be on the 42nd Legislative District, which covers Whatcom County. None of the Democratic candidates running in those races pulled in more than 50% of the vote, but money and lots of door-knocking in that area may repay efforts in the form of larger state House and senate majorities.
Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski promises to do just that. "We can’t get complacent. This year, we’re going to keep doing all the things Democrats couldn't do much of in 2020 [due to the pandemic]: knocking doors and making calls," she said.