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Late ballots continue to bolster Manka Dhingra in 45th LD, confounding Republicans

Democratic Senate hopeful Manka Dhingra has ended the first week of counting in the August Top Two election in an incredibly strong position, having gained distance from Republican opponent Jinyoung Lee Englund with each and every tabulation thus far. Dhingra’s electoral performance demonstrates that the Democratic Party was very successful in getting out the vote last month, which bodes well for the party’s chances of retaking the state Senate this autumn.

A victory for Dhingra would give Democrats twenty-five seats in the Senate and the ability to bring progressive school funding solutions up for a vote.

Dhingra ended the week with 51.45% of the vote — nearly ten percentage points above Englund, who dropped to 41.54%.

On Election Night, Dhingra had 50.51% of the vote, while Englund had 42.57%. As mentioned, the gap between the two candidates has continued to widen, which is definitely not something that Republicans expected to happen.

King County Republican Chair Lori Sotelo released a statement earlier this week in which she predicted that Englund would start to make up ground:

It’s my understanding that there are 5,000 or so ballots waiting to be counted at King County Elections and more to come in over the next few days. Late voters trend our way. I expect the gap to narrow giving Jinyoung Englund a strong platform heading into November.

Wrong on both counts, Lori.

Late ballots can actually trend in any number of directions. Last year, late ballots helped sink the candidates of Democrats Jason Ritchie and Teresa Purcell, who were leading on Election Night in the 5th and 19th Legislative Districts, respectively.

But in the 45th this year, the late ballots have favored the Democratic Party, to the evident consternation and confusion of Republican operatives.

What’s going on here? Well, to put it simply, Democrats succeeded in mounting a very successful get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operation while Republican attack ads backfired horribly, generating even more votes for Manka Dhingra.

Strong field operations are a classic hallmark of winning Democratic campaigns. Longtime Democratic Party workers can feel very good about the party’s efforts in the 45th in this election, which continue to bear fruit, day after day.

Republicans made a big bold bet when they recruited Jinyoung Lee Englund to run against Dhingra a few months ago, prioritizing attributes like party experience over community connections (which were Andy Hill’s strength as a candidate).

That bet is not paying off.

As mentioned, also not paying off are the million plus dollars Republicans have spent frantically trying to tarnish Manka Dhingra’s reputation.

Republicans will be loathe to give up their power in the statehouse, so we fully expect they’ll be back with more attack ads in the autumn in a desperate attempt to stave off the loss of their fragile Senate majority.