Democrats’ hopes of retaking the Washington State Senate this autumn may rest on the fate of the campaigns of first time candidates Matt Isenhower and Irene Bowling, if tonight’s election results are any indication.
Isenhower, thirty-four, is trailing incumbent Republican Andy Hill in the 45th by just a few percentage points. He’s outperforming every other Democratic Senate challenger, which is noteworthy. Isenhower is contesting a seat in an area that is increasingly blue, but still considered a swing district. It will be interesting to see tomorrow if the gap between Isenhower and Hill tightens at all.
The 45th, in eastern King County, takes in part of Kirkland, a slice of Redmond, most of Woodinville, a big chunk of Sammamish, and incorporated Duvall, along with many unincorporated King County precincts in between those cities.
In the 35th LD, Democratic challenger Irene Bowling is making an incredibly strong showing, performing beyond the expectations of most pundits. She leads entrenched incumbent Tim Sheldon and his Republican challenger Travis Couture, and now seems set for a November duel with Sheldon.
Take a look at the numbers:
|34.85% (8,240 votes)|
|33.41% (7,900 votes)|
|31.74% (7,504 votes)|
Sheldon, readers will recall, is one of two legislators elected as a Democrat who defected to the Republican caucus at the end of 2012. The other, Rodney Tom, opted not to run for reelection — his successor is likely to be progressive Democrat Cyrus Habib, who has more than 60% of the vote in early returns.
The 35th is a rural western Washington swing district that covers much of Mason County. Sheldon has represented it for years; he also serves on the Mason County Commission, which has long been a sore spot with many of his constituents.