Washington state's primary election is tonight, which will eliminate all but the top two candidates of every race. And it's a big one: the #MeToo movement is casting a cloud of allegations over incumbents; there's a toss-up race in the Eighth Congressional District; and Democrats face a narrow majority in the state senate. Pundits will be watching the results closely, and results tonight will show what parties are up against in November.
Who will face Dino Rossi in November? The Eighth Congressional District, which includes Issaquah and other eastern parts of King and Pierce counties, could swing blue in November. U.S. representative Dave Reichert—who has represented the Republican stronghold for years—announced his retirement in September 2017, leaving the race open to a potential toss-up and offering another chance for Democrats to take control of a House seat.
In comes Dino Rossi, a high-profile Republican who served as a state legislator and unsuccessfully ran for both governor, against Christine Gregoire, and U.S. senator, against Patty Murray. He's raised about $3 million in contributions and is expected to effortlessly slide into the November general election. In both his failed campaigns, it's notable that the Eighth District voted for him—but the district's population has changed since then, and in 2016 voted for Hillary Clinton.
We'll see how Rossi's support for president Donald Trump will play out in November. But the question now is which Democratic candidate will face him—Jason Rittereiser, an Ellensburg native and lawyer; Kim Schrier, an Issaquah pediatrician; or Shannon Hader, a public health administrator from Auburn.
How will allegations against incumbents affect their runs? State representative David Sawyer from Tacoma is facing allegations of inappropriate conduct or harassment from eight women, and is still running for reelection. He's also facing a Democratic challenger, Melanie Morgan, who's been endorsed by the Pierce County Democrats and many other state legislators.
Then there's Ellensburg state representative Matt Manweller, a Central Washington University professor representing the 13th Legislative District known for being a Republican stronghold. He's been accused of sexually harassing students and inappropriate behavior and was placed on paid administrative leave pending a university investigation.
Manweller has only one Democratic challenger, Sylvia Hammond, and they'll face off in November—but votes in the primary could show whether the allegations have made a dent in his campaign.
Will pre-paid stamps affect voter turnout? Washington State and King County are both offering pre-paid postage to voters for the first time. And though it's still a primary—which means lower voter turnout than in general elections—removing one more barrier to voting could prove to be enough for some of the state's residents to mail in their ballots.
Can Democrats keep their narrow majority in the Legislature? With state senator Manka Dhingra's win last year, Democrats held a narrow, 25-24 majority in the Senate and a 50-48 majority in the House. They want to retain their seats and solidify their control, challenging several GOP incumbents.
You're doing a #GreatJob #KingCounty! To date we have 242,000 ballots. That's almost 19%! We're ahead of our projections by 2%. Our highest turnout so far is Legislative District 39 with 25%. #WAElex #KCVotes— King Co Elections (@kcelections) August 6, 2018