Democratic Senate hopeful Manka Dhingra has surpassed 51% in the second round of Top Two election vote counting, putting more distance between herself and Republican opponent Jinyoung Lee Englund in the fiercely contested race to elect a successor to appointee Dino Rossi in the 45th Legislative District.
As of last night, Dhingra had 50.51% and a 1,876 vote lead, with 11,928 votes to Englund’s 10,052. Today, her lead expanded to 2,556 votes.
If the trend continues, Dhingra will be nicely positioned to head into the autumn having aced what amounted to a mandatory dress rehearsal.
Dhingra’s candidacy is record-setting in many ways, including with respect to performance. No Democratic candidate for the Washington State Senate in the 45th District has led by this many votes against a Republican opponent before, although Democratic state representatives Larry Springer and Roger Goodman have easily dispatched Republican opponents in their House races in recent cycles.
Democratic activists all over Washington State have been celebrating Dhingra’s strong showing in the initial results since the minute the numbers dropped last night. Today, they have reason to celebrate yet again.
Last night, I noted that Dhingra may have actually been helped by all of the negative attacks Republicans mounted against her, partly because the attacks were fabrications that Republicans simply made up out of desperation, and partly because Dhingra has been all over the 45th introducing herself to voters.
When people get a mailer with grainy pictures and dubious claims that doesn’t match the impression they formed of a person they talked to at their door, they tend not to view the contents of the mailer very credibly.
Basically, Republicans just spent a boatload of money trying to influence voter attitudes in the 45th District, but instead of bolstering Jinyoung’s candidacy, they wound up helping Manka Dhingra increase her name recognition.
They’re so desperate to cling to power I expect them to try to come back in the general election with another torrent of mailers, robocalls, and TV ads. However, it may all be for be for naught, just as it was in this election. Money is potent and tends to be influential in elections, but it can’t buy everything.