Manka Dhingra, the Democratic candidate running to be the next 45th District state senator, is already the frontrunner in the high-profile, high-stakes race that could will determine party control in Olympia come November. The King County senior deputy prosecuting attorney got 51.5 percent of the votes in the primary, 10 percentage points ahead of Republican candidate Jinyoung Lee Englund.
Now Parker Harris, the independent candidate who received 7 percent of the votes in the primary, says he's voting for Dhingra—likely another boost to her campaign if she were to take some of his supporters' votes.
"I have my doubts that her election will improve party politics or reduce the influence of big money, but I believe she cares deeply about people, has many years of useful experience, and is willing to work hard," Harris wrote on his campaign website after thanking his supporters. "So far I have seen zero indication that Jinyoung Englund is anything more than a façade who will do whatever the Republican caucus asks of her."
Harris urged his supporters to do their own research. He told PubliCola he's not endorsing Dhingra, and says he has doubts she would move beyond partisan politics to become a "mediating voice in the legislature." But he says he believes Dhingra cares about the district. While Harris tends to lean more left—he almost registered as a Democrat—he says he also holds some Republican ideals like fiscal responsibility but "sees nothing of value" with Englund so far.
"I'm not particularly excited about supporting Manka. (But) she by and large cares about the people," Harris told PubliCola. "Jinyoung Englund hasn’t given much indication at all that she has any substance behind a thin layer of campaign rhetoric. She seems to be running on single line which is, 'Hey, are you angry about taxes? Me too. You should vote for me.'"