Manka Dhingra, the Democratic candidate running for 45th District state senator, just got a high-profile supporter from her party.
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday endorsed Dhingra for the key state Senate race that will determine party control in the Legislature come November. Washington state could hold a Democratic "trifecta"—narrow control in the state House and Senate, as well as the governor's office.
Biden has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and has been inserting himself into Democratic campaigns all over the country—including a House seat in Miami against a Republican incumbent, a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions's vacancy, and five Virginia statehouse positions (one that could seat the state's first openly transgender elected official). He's campaigned for Democratic candidates for gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, and even gotten involved in more obscure superior court races in Pennsylvania.
Biden considered a presidential run last year, and his involvement in those local Democratic races has pundits wondering whether he'll seek the Democratic nomination in 2020.
"I am proud to endorse Manka Dhingra to represent the Eastside in the Washington State Senate,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday. “Manka is an experienced prosecutor who has dedicated her life to strengthening her community. I especially appreciate her efforts to reduce domestic violence and sexual assault, protect victims of crime, and advocate for improved mental health programs. If elected, she'll break the gridlock on issues like gun responsibility, women's rights, and education funding. She will help solve real problems for Washington's middle-class families."
Dhingra came ahead of GOP candidate Jinyoung Lee Englund in the August primary by 10 percentage points.
Both parties have been pouring money into their candidates' campaigns in the hotly contested race for the open state Senate seat, following longterm Republican budget writer Andy Hill's death last year. Englund has raised over $1.3 million and spent $786,000, and has more than $500,000 in independent expenditures supporting her, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Dhingra's campaign funds follow closely behind—she has just short of $1.3 million and spent $566,000, and has another $475,000 in support from independent expenditures. That doesn't include the negative ads opposing both candidates. More than $1.3 million has been spent in independent expenditures opposing Dhingra, $1.2 million opposing Englund.