The latest ballot count solidifies what looked pretty clear on Friday: The 9th Congressional District will see a Dem-vs-Dem race between Adam Smith and Sarah Smith, and, according to the Associated Press, Kim Schrier will face Dino Rossi in the 8th Congressional District.
Republican Dino Rossi has led in the 8th since election night, but Democrats Schrier and Jason Rittereiser have been in a close race for second place. The latest results show Schrier, a pediatrician, leading with 18.7 percent of the votes and Rittereiser, an attorney, with 18.1 percent.
In an e-mail to the Stranger, Schrier says "it’s exciting to see the Democratic vote outpace Republicans in a primary electorate that tends to skew conservative. This is exactly where we need to be to flip the 8th in November."
The 8th District, east of Seattle, is one of three competitive Congressional races in Washington that Democrats hope to win this fall to help retake control of the U.S. House.
In a statement, Rittereiser announced he's suspending his campaign for Congress. "Despite making up ground in the vote total since election night in this close race, with today’s ballot release, it has become clear that the path to victory is unlikely. As a result, I have reached out to Kim Schrier to offer my congratulations, support, and best wishes in the general election," he writes.
Rittereiser, a former King County deputy prosecutor, was one of the earliest candidates to jump in the race to replace retiring Congressman Dave Reichert, announcing his candidacy back in July of 2017. He came out the gate touting his Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year award from King County Bar Association and his legacy as an Ellensburg Bulldog. This was back in the days of Tola Marts, Mona Das, Brayden Olson, Toby Whitney, and Tom Cramer. (Remember those days? No? Just us? Totally fair!) But, even then, people circulated rumors of a doctor entering the race. Schrier emerged in early August of 2017, and, by November, EMILY's List had endorsed her.
Rittereiser presented himself as a candidate from east of the mountains who could pull votes from Independents. One poll conducted by the House Majority PAC supported his argument, showing Rittereiser with a substantial lead among women who identify as independents. Schrier outspent Rittereiser, with hundreds of thousands of dollars from EMILY's List going toward pro-Schrier ads and mailers in the final two weeks of the race.
In his acceptance speech on primary night, Rossi characterized the Democrats running against him as the most liberal competitors he's ever run against. He cited The Stranger's profile of Schrier to support a claim that her #resistance origin story wouldn't go over well in the district.
"It’s ironic that Rossi claims to know what 8th District voters think when he wasn’t able to even break 45 percent," writes Schrier's spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the 9th Congressional District, which includes parts of South Seattle, will see a Democrat vs. Democrat race in the general. Incumbent Adam Smith is in a comfortable lead with 48.5 percent. Sarah Smith remains in second with 26.8 percent, after initially trailing a Republican on election night.
Sarah Smith has yet to attract the amount of money and the number of volunteers needed to usurp a 22-year incumbent, but the race could serve as a microcosm of the ongoing split in the Democratic Party. Sarah Smith is a Justice Democrat who has been endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and has criticized Adam Smith’s votes on defense spending. “We have an uphill battle in front of us, but we have the will, the drive, and the people behind us,” Smith’s campaign wrote on Twitter Saturday. “Let’s do this.”
Reached by phone, Adam Smith said he wasn’t taking much of a message from Sarah Smith’s success. “Most of what has changed is sort of the Bernie folks were organized to oppose me because of where I was at in the 2016 race." Smith supported Hillary Clinton as a superdelegate despite Washington’s support of Bernie Sanders.
To counter Sarah Smith’s messaging that he's a war hawk, Adam Smith points out that he has voted against some defense spending bills in his time in Congress. The Congressman also reveals what will certainly be one of his main attacks against Sarah Smith in the general election: She doesn't currently live in the district. (She lives just outside the boundary.)
“I would ironically quote Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: I went to the same schools as the people in my district, my children go to same schools as the people in my district. I drink the same water, I breathe the same air, I sit in the same traffic,” he said.
On Twitter, Sarah Smith says she has lived in the district in the past and she works there now.
County elections offices and the Secretary of State will certify the primary results next week. The general election is November 6.
This post has been updated with new information. This post has been corrected to remove a claim from Adam Smith that Sarah Smith has never lived in the 9th District after Sarah Smith's campaign provided The Stranger with a signed rental agreement showing Smith lived in the district in 2016.