2020 Election

These Washington Races Wrapped Up Early

Even as the national presidential outcome hangs in the balance, our state's initial results put a bow on some local campaigns.

By Benjamin Cassidy November 4, 2020

Jay Inslee smiling

Smile away, Jay.

Whether you were deep into a second box of wine or down a rabbit hole of how to leave the country, you may have been a tad distracted by the time Washington's initial election results rolled in around 8pm last night. By then the presidential race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump promised to be, at best, a dayslong slog and a mental marathon (as if we needed another test of our sanity in 2020).

So let's catch you up on local political happenings. Though officials will continue to tally results over the next three weeks, the state has already counted nearly 69 percent of registered voters' ballots, a handful of points higher than in 2016. The outstanding ballots will still decide some races—several congressional races remain tight. But the sex-ed referendum has passed, and other notable contests were called last night.

  • As expected, Democratic governor Jay Inslee won a third gubernatorial term over Republican challenger Loren Culp, who hasn't conceded but trails by 19 points in the race (the Associated Press and others have called it for Inslee, who gave a victory speech). Inslee becomes the state's first three-term governor since 1972. Also of note: Democrat Denny Heck defeated fellow Dem Marko Liias in the lieutenant governor's race. Heck is now in line for the governor's seat if Inslee gets tapped for a cabinet position down the road (the governor has denied interest thus far).
  • U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal trounced Republican Craig Keller in the race for Washington's 7th congressional district, winning nearly 85 percent of the vote thus far (the AP and others have called it). And another incumbent House member (and Democrat) Adam Smith holds a similarly commanding lead in the state's 9th district.

Other contests are less clear-cut. Incumbent secretary of state Kim Wyman, a Republican, holds a slight edge over Democrat Gael Tarleton. And in Washington's third congressional district, which some thought might flip, Republican incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler holds a nearly nine-point edge over Democrat Carolyn Long.

As for our national nightmare: Our state has cast about 61 percent of its votes for Biden thus far, as opposed to 37 percent for Trump. As you know, hundreds of thousands of votes still need to be counted in this state and others. But the Washington allocation thus far is right in line with election forecasts. So at least the polls got that right on election night.

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