You’re all going to have to try to enjoy your weekend despite not knowing for sure which Democrat is going to face Dino Rossi in the 8th Congressional District this fall. Sorry!
In the latest ballot count, things are still looking pretty good for Kim Schrier. Schrier maintains her position in second place behind Rossi. But fellow Democrat Jason Rittereiser, who's in a close third, isn’t conceding.
Kittitas County is the portion of the district most favorable to Rittereiser, but that county isn’t expected to drop its results until 5:30. Rich has to board a barge* at 6 p.m. and Heidi has a full life outside of these fucking updates, so we just aren’t going to wait around on a Friday for the election officials of Kittitas County to tell the world that approximately 350 of its citizens have chosen Jason Rittereiser as their preferred candidate. But based on the current number of votes left in that county and the percentage of the vote share over there Rittereiser has been getting so far, we can guess he’ll get no more than 400 votes in Kittitas. Four hundred isn’t 1,300. Rittereiser may concede after Kittitas drops its ballots. We’ll update this post later when we have the actual numbers. UPDATE: Kittitas votes are in. Rittereiser remains in third with 18 percent to Schrier's 18.7 percent. They're separated by 1,067 votes.
Meanwhile, in the 9th Congressional District, Justice Democrat Sarah Smith can start pouring the rosé and passing out the coke. Smith is challenging incumbent Congressman Adam Smith, also a Democrat. Adam Smith has a comfortable lead. Sarah Smith is battling Republican Doug Basler for the second spot. She’s currently 2,582 votes ahead of Basler, up from 376 yesterday.
In the 3rd and 5th Congressional Districts, things are looking pretty much the same. Republicans Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jaime Herrera Beutler both failed to get 50 percent of the vote, setting up competitive contests in both districts in the general. And that could have effects in the 8th.
Close races in the 3rd and 5th Congressional Districts mean that Republican frontrunner Dino Rossi may only get third dibs on PAC money going into the general. Paul Ryan, the Koch Brothers, and all the other odious dark money interests will want to defend their incumbents before trying to win an open seat in the 8th.
Today the DCCC put the 3rd on their “Red-to-Blue” list, suggesting they’ll spend more money in southwestern Washington and in eastern Washington (which was already on the list) trying to pick up seats they didn’t even really know they could pick up.
One thing we can say for sure about the 8th, though, is that Rossi is sucking way more than he should be sucking in east Pierce, Kittitas, and Chelan Counties. In the last two primaries, retiring Congressman Dave Reichert won all of those counties with 60+ percent of the vote. But in 2018, Rossi has only cracked 50 in Chelan.
Though Rossi isn’t technically an incumbent, he isn’t technically not an incumbent, either. Rossi won the district in its current form by a significant margin in each of this three losing bids for statewide office. He should be winning with at least 50-55 percent of the vote in the east—but he’s only in the high 40s—with one exception—at the moment. That’s pretty good news for whichever Democrat finally makes it through.
But the real winner of this primary is democracy! Statewide voter turnout currently sits at 36.5 percent, up from 2016 and 2014 but down from 2012.