Representative Carol Gregory speaking
Representative Carol Gregory speaking

The mar­quee race of 2015, which will take place this Novem­ber in the 30th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict between Demo­c­rat Car­ol Gre­go­ry and Repub­li­can Teri Hick­el, is shap­ing up to be tighter than tight, if tonight’s results are any indication.

State law requires that par­ti­san races appear on the Top Two bal­lot, even when few­er than three can­di­dates file, which is the case in the 30th this year.

Con­se­quent­ly, Gre­go­ry and Hick­el are squar­ing off in what amounts to a beau­ty con­test or a straw poll. Both can­di­dates are guar­an­teed to move on to Novem­ber regard­less of what hap­pens in this elec­tion — nobody is being elim­i­nat­ed — but the results will sig­nif­i­cant­ly shape how peo­ple per­ceive the race.

With less than 11,000 bal­lots count­ed so far, Gre­go­ry trails Hick­el by just one hun­dred and fifty-five votes… a clas­sic dead heat. She has 5,433 votes (49.30%) to Hick­el’s 5,588 votes (50.70%). There are also a hand­ful of write-in votes.

Because the 2015 leg­isla­tive ses­sion ran so late (there were three spe­cial ses­sions, run­ning well into July!) Gre­go­ry has­n’t been able to do much cam­paign­ing. She has only been free to focus on knock­ing on doors and mak­ing phone calls for a few weeks, where­as Hick­el has been free to cam­paign vig­or­ous­ly for months.

Gre­go­ry was appoint­ed last win­ter by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee to suc­ceed the late Roger Free­man, who died just before the Novem­ber 2014 midterm elec­tions took place. He was posthu­mous­ly elect­ed, and upon cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty held a spe­cial cau­cus of precinct com­mit­tee offi­cers in the 30th to draw up a list of names to suc­ceed him and fill the vacancy.

Car­ol was the first choice of the 30th’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic PCOs, and was tapped by Inslee for the posi­tion after the King and Pierce Coun­ty coun­cils failed to agree to make a joint appoint­ment with­in the six­ty day time­frame pre­scribed by the Constitution.

Though Gre­go­ry would undoubt­ed­ly pre­fer to be in the lead, she at least isn’t sev­er­al per­cent­age points behind Hick­el. Depend­ing on how the late bal­lots break, she may be able to make up ground on Hick­el and be in an even bet­ter posi­tion by the time the elec­tion is cer­ti­fied in a cou­ple of weeks.

One thing is for sure: the 30th will be fierce­ly con­test­ed this Novem­ber. Democ­rats are eager to defend Car­ol and hold the seat, while Repub­li­cans are anx­ious to take it and reduce the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty to a wafer-thin mar­gin of one vote.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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One reply on “Carol Gregory, Teri Hickel in dead heat in 30th Legislative District beauty contest”

  1. Hick­el is pos­si­bly relat­ed to for­mer Alas­ka Gov­er­nor Wal­ter Hick­el. I went to school with a Hick­el who was from FW and a rel­a­tive. Wal­ter Hick­el, as I remem­ber was in the same Alaa­ka fringe group as the Palins.

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