The race for the White House won’t be the only show Tuesday night.
Also at stake are dozens of state races — some that arguably could have a more immediate and substantial effect on South Sounders’ lives, especially at the Capitol.
Republicans are unlikely to break the Democrats’ 30-year hold on the Governor’s Mansion this year, but another goal is in their reach: Full control of the Legislature.
The GOP already controls the state Senate and would need to pick up only two seats to control the House. A gain of even a single House seat for Republicans would cause a tie in the Legislature’s lower chamber, forcing a power-sharing agreement like the one that last existed from 1999 to 2001.
Democrats think high turnout created by the presidential race will catapult them to victory in several local races. Democrats would need to win only two seats to retake the state Senate. If they could do that and avoid losing seats in the state House, it would put the entire Legislature in Democratic hands.
To help maintain their House majority, Democrats are looking to unseat Republican state Reps. Teri Hickel and Linda Kochmar in the Federal Way area’s 30th Legislative District. They think Democratic challengers Kristine Reeves and Mike Pellicciotti are up to the task.
Meanwhile, Republicans are confident they will pick up a seat in the 31st Legislative District that straddles King and Pierce counties. There, former Republican state Rep. Phil Fortunato is battling Independent Democrat Lane Walthers for an open seat.
In the 28th Legislative District, which includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord, state Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Tacoma, is facing a challenge from Democrat Marisa Peloquin, while state Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, is defending his seat against Democrat Mari Leavitt.
In the same district, Democratic state Rep. Christine Kilduff of University Place is looking to defeat Republican challenger Paul Wagemann, whom she narrowly edged out two years ago.
Another race to watch is the one between state Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor, and former state Rep. Larry Seaquist. Seaquist, a Democrat, hopes to return to the Legislature after being unseated two years ago by Michelle Caldier, R-Port Orchard.
Caldier is being challenged by Democrat Randy Spitzer, who runs a choral group.
Other high-profile races for control of the Legislature lie mostly outside the South Sound.
They include the matchup between Democrat Lisa Wellman and state Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island; the Senate contest between Republican state Rep. Chad Magendanz and incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Mullet, both of Issaquah; and the fight between state Rep. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, and former state Rep Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Don Benton.