Washington state Senate swings to Republicans


Associated Press
King 5 News

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Apparent control of the Washington state Senate has shifted to Republicans again, and Democrats were poised to increase their margin in the House as more absentee votes trickled in.

A race for the state Supreme Court and Seattle's vote on whether to expand the city's monorail system remained close Friday.

Incumbent GOP Sen. Bob Oke was leading Democrat Betty Ringlee by 202 votes in the 26th District, which includes parts of Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Control of the Washington state Legislature shifts to the Republicans.

The switch wasn't unexpected because much of Friday's absentee count was from Kitsap County, home to Oke, R-Port Orchard. Ringlee—president of the Peninsula School Board—hails from the Pierce County end of the district, and absentee votes from that area had put her ahead on Thursday.

The results still left the race too close to call. More absentees will be counted next week, and the close margin could force an automatic recount, which is required if the candidates are separated by less then half of 1 percent of the total votes cast.

In another tight Senate race, Whatcom County Sheriff Dale Brandland, a Republican, extended his lead over incumbent Democrat Georgia Gardner to 369 votes in District 42 with nearly all the vote counted.

If both results stand, Republicans will control the 49-member Senate by one vote, 25-24 -- the margin currently held by Democrats.

In the House, Democrats were leading races for 53 seats, an increase of one compared to Thursday's count. But several contests were too close to call.

Democratic challenger Pat Sullivan pulled ahead of incumbent GOP Rep. Jack Cairnes by 62 votes in District 47, which covers parts of south King County. In the district's other House seat, freshman Democrat Geoff Simpson increased his lead from 107 votes to 606 votes over Phil Fortunato, the Republican that Simpson ousted two years ago.

In the race for an open seat in the Federal Way area, Republican Skip Priest was leading Democrat Greg Markley by 315 votes.

In District 1, which includes parts of Snohomish and King Counties, incumbent Democrat Jeanne Edwards was leading Republican Leo Van Hollebeke by 238 votes after Friday's count.

Thousands of absentee ballots remain uncounted in King County, and both races are two close to call.

On the Kitsap Peninsula, Republican Lois McMahan's lead over freshman Democrat Brock Jackley shrank from 341 votes to 311 votes. McMahan lost the District 26 seat to Jackley two years ago.

In Snohomish County, incumbent Democrats Hans Dunshee and John Lovick were pulling away from GOP challengers in District 44.

In a race for an open seat on the state Supreme Court race, Jim Johnson was leading Mary Fairhurst by 7,131 votes, picking up about 2,000 votes in Friday's count. The race has tightened as Fairhurst picked up absentee votes in urban counties.

The race—although technically nonpartisan—has broken down mostly along party lines.

Johnson—endorsed by the state Republican Party and backed by business interests—has run well in rural counties.

Fairhurst drew endorsements from labor, environmentalists, Indian tribes and prominent Democrats. She's winning most of the state's urban counties.

In Seattle, the vote over whether to expand the city's monorail system remained close, with the yes vote leading by 2,207 votes.

County auditors have until Nov. 20 to produce a final count.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site