The numbers keep changing but Washington Democrats are still holding onto a 55-43 majority in the House and 27-22 edge in the Senate after Tuesday's vote. If that outcome holds up it means a loss of six Democratic seats in the House and four in the Senate – and counting.
A number of races remain very close and could conceivably switch to the Republican side by the week's end. In the 44th district Senate race, for instance, Democratic Sen. Steve Hobbs is leading Republican Dave Schmidt by just 93 votes, and in the 25th House race, Democratic Rep. Dawn Morrell of Puyallup was up by just 16 votes over Republican Hans Zeiger of Sumner.
Whatever happens with additional vote counts tonight and Friday, it appears unlikely Democrats would lose their majority in either chamber.
But a loss of one or two more Senate seats would put Democratic maverick Sen. Tim Sheldon of Mason County in position to serve as a swing vote on key issues – assuming Democrats had only 24 or 25 others to rely on. Sheldon opposes tax increases, favors smaller government and would vote with Republicans on regulatory issues.
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The Office of Secretary of State's web site has this list of legislative results.
Rep. Sam Hunt of Olympia chaired the House Democrats’ campaign committee and he said it appears his caucus will end up with 54 to 55 seats – with Morrell's seat the most in doubt. Here's what the House Democrats' losses look like this afternoon:
- Former Republican lawmaker John Ahern was easily beating Democrat John Driscoll in Spokane’s 6th district.
- Republican Paul Harris was beating Democrat Monica Stonier in the 17th near Vancouver for former Democratic Rep. Deb Wallace’s seat.
- Republican Vincent Buys was defeating top House Democratic budget writer Kelli Linville in Bellingham’s 42nd district (1,102 vote margin).
- Republican Kevin Haistings was beating Democratic Rep. Roger Goodman in Kirkland's 45th district (473 vote margin).
- Republican Mark Hargrove was easily beating Democratic Rep. Geoff Simpson in Covington’s 47th district.
Here's what the Democrats' four losses in the Senate look like this afternoon:
- Appointed Democratic Sen. Randy Gordon was losing to Republican Steve Litzow in Bellevue’s 41st district (1,568 vote margin).
- Republican Andy Hill was beating Democratic Sen. Eric Oemig of Kirkland by nearly 2,000 votes in the 45th district.
- Democratic Sen. Claudia Kauffman of Kent was losing by more than 3,000 votes and conceded to Republican Joe Fain in the 47th district.
As mentioned above, the Hobbs-Schmidt race could pin another loss on the Democrats.
Several races remained almost decided. Hunt said Democrats are closely watching about six other House seats but expect to emerge with wins for their candidates– including Rep. Larry Seaquist of Gig Harbor in the 26th; Tami Green of Lakewood in the 28th; Kathy Haigh of Shelton in the 35th; Hans Dunshee of Snohomish in the 44th and Ross Hunter of Medina in the 48th.
And in the Senate, close races getting watched include:- Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, holding a 477-vote edge over Republican Tony Moore.
- Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, holding a 326-vote edge over Republican Greg Bennett in the Bellevue-area’s 48th district.
For comparison, here is my election night post on the Democrats’ retention of majorities.