Democrat Manka Dhingra, a senior deputy prosecutor for King County, on Tuesday night held a commanding lead over Republican candidate Jinyoung Lee Englund and appears likely to be the next state senator for the 45th Legislative District.
Dhingra received 55.4 percent of the votes and she's ahead by more than 10 percentage points. It's a pivotal race that will determine which party holds a slim majority in the state Senate, and could lead to a Democratic trifecta in Washington state—and the GOP losing the last remaining majority in any legislative chamber on the West Coast.
Dhingra has said she became motivated to run after President Donald Trump won in November. And both parties heavily invested in their candidates in record-breaking amounts of money—for Dhingra, $4.2 million, and for Englund, $4.8 million; that includes independent expenditures, $2.5 million of which was in negative campaign ads against Dhingra, according to the PDC. (Dhingra supporters spent $1.8 million in negative campaign ads.)
At her election party in Woodinville Tuesday night, Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson made an appearance to celebrate and declare victory for the Democratic party. Dhingra spoke out against the negative spending in what she said were attempts to be divisive; she thanked Englund for being willing to serve and said she was grateful to have run against another strong woman of color.
“Somewhere along the way, these people started making this election about us versus them and I don’t have to tell you, in this story, I was the them,” Dhingra said. She described the history of her own family, who helped migrants from all religious backgrounds during the Indian patrician in 1947. "This is the story of what makes us human, this refusal to let politically motivated divisiveness turn people against their fellow human beings."
The Seattle Times reported Englund spoke about her admiration for former GOP state senator and budget writer Andy Hill, who died suddenly last year, and the need to preserve the balance of power in the Legislature.
Watch Dhingra's full speech below.