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

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.

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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