Senate Democrats reported today that they re-elected Sen. Lisa Brown as majority leader. The longtime Spokane lawmaker will hold the position for a fourth two-year term.
The election was over the weekend when Democrats met to reorganize, according to a Democratic caucus news release. Brown ran unopposed despite her caucus likely losing four seats in the Nov. 2 election.
The Senate Democrats are still waiting for the final election tally but their losses include Sen. Chris Marr, the caucus whip, who served Spokane's 6th district; Sen. Eric Oemig of Kirkland; Sen. Claudia Kauffman of Kent; and Sen. Randy Gorton of Bellevue. The losses leave Democrats with a 27 to 22 edge over Republicans, assuming returns continue to favor Democratic Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens.
With the retirement of Sen. Rosa Franklin, who served as president pro tem, and the defeat of Marr, Democrats have two leadership slots to fill. With fewer members, they also plan to reorganize their committee structure and could merge some caucus functions.
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In the House, Democrats were still losing four seats but a couple of races were getting closer – each one benefiting the other party. If numbers hold up, House Democrats will have a 57-41 majority.
Reorganization votes are planned later in the month for the other legislative caucuses.