Manka Dhingra and her family with Governor Inslee
Manka Dhingra and her family with Governor Inslee

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.

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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