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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 8 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 32
Primary election wrap-up: Pramila Jayapal has huge lead for 37th District Senate - All LGBT candidates ahead
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Primary election wrap-up: Pramila Jayapal has huge lead for 37th District Senate - All LGBT candidates ahead

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The initial vote count from the August 5 primary election shows human rights activist Pramila Jayapal far ahead in the race to fill the 37th District Senate seat being vacated by Adam Kline.

Jayapal, the founder and former executive director of the immigrant rights group One America was endorsed by SGN, SEAMEC, and many unions and progressive community organizations. Winning 51% of the vote in a field of six candidates, she appears to go to the November election as an almost sure bet to beat her opponent, Louis Watanabe, who finished second with only 17% of the vote.

The 37th District runs south from Madison Street to take in most of the Central Area, Rainier Valley, Rainier Beach, and Renton. It is said to be the state's most diverse legislative district.

LGBT candidates look like winners
All the LGBT candidates led their races by comfortable margins.

In the 21st District, Democratic Senator Marko Liias took almost 56% of the vote against a single Republican challenger, Dan Matthews. The two will reprise the race in November with Liias looking like a good bet to win.

Representative Laurie Jinkins (D-27) ran up a whopping 67.67% of the vote in her Tacoma House race against two opponents, and will face Republican Rodger Deskins in November.

In Capitol Hill's 43rd District, Senator Jamie Pedersen and Representative Brady Walkinshaw were unopposed. Their names will also appear on the November ballot as a formality. Walkinshaw was appointed to fill Pedersen's House seat when Pedersen moved into the Senate spot vacated by Ed Murray when Murray was elected Mayor of Seattle last year.

In the 48th District, former Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride won nearly 70% of the vote against Libertarian candidate Tim Turner. Republicans did not field a candidate in the election, and McBride and Turner will face off again on the November ballot, likely with a similar result.

Representative Jim Moeller (D-49) also goes to the November ballot with a comfortable margin of victory, winning 55.68% against two Republican challengers. He will face Lisa Ross in the November general election.

Frank Chopp crushes challenger
House Speaker Frank Chopp ran up a 60-point lead against Socialist Alternative challenger Jess Spear in his 43rd District race. Chopp took 81% of the vote to Spear's 19%. The two will go to the November ballot, but there seems little hope that Spear can pull off an upset.

Spear was the campaign manager for City Council member Kshama Sawant's successful 15 Now minimum wage campaign, but she failed to live up to the hype that attended her candidacy. In fact, Spear under-performed, compared to Sawant's 2012 write-in campaign against Chopp. In that contest, Sawant took almost 29% of the vote, to Chopp's 71%.

Who will control the state Senate?
The primary results offer only a slim hope that Democrats can recapture control of the state Senate and break the deadlock between a Democratic House and a Republican-dominated Senate.

Democrats will almost certainly pick up the 48th District Senate seat once held by Rodney Tom, the Republican-turned-Democrat who then turned Democrat-who-votes-with-Republicans.

Tom dropped out of the race for 'personal reasons' after Joan McBride filed to challenge him. She then switched to run for a House seat, allowing sitting House member Cyrus Habib to run for the Senate. Habib scored more than 63% of the vote against Republican candidate Michelle Darnell, and is the probable winner in November.

In the 35th District, the other Democrat who defected to the Republican caucus, Tim Sheldon, is in the fight of his political life. Sheldon is currently running second to Democrat Irene Bowling, and only slightly ahead of Republican Travis Couture. Bowling has somewhat more than 35% of the vote, Sheldon 33%, and Couture 32%.

On the other hand, Republicans will likely win the seat held by retiring Democratic Senator Tracy Eide in the 30th District. Notoriously anti-Gay Democrat-turned-Republican Mark Miloscia won more than 57% of the vote against progressive Democrat Shari Song.

In the 45th District, incumbent Republican Andy Hill beat Democratic challenger Matt Isenhower by 54% to 46%. Like the Senate races above, this is considered a must-win for Democrats if they are to retake control of the Senate.

Seattle likes parks - and its congressmen
In other election news, Seattle Prop 1, which would create a Seattle Parks District and a dedicated funding stream to maintain city parks, was winning 52.39% to 47.61%.

Seattle Congressmen Jim McDermott (D-7) and Adam Smith (D-9) ran well ahead of their opponents. McDermott leads second-place Republican challenger Craig Keller by 76% to less than 10%. Smith leads Republican Doug Basler by 63% to 28%.

In the 1st Congressional District north of Seattle, incumbent Democrat Susan DelBene won 51% in a seven-candidate field, with second place finisher, Republican Robert Sutherland getting less than 16% of the vote.

On the Eastside, Dave Reichert got the benefit of his redistricted - and now much more Republican - 8th Congressional District, winning 62% of the vote. He will face Democrat Jason Ritchie in November.

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