Manka Dhingra applauds
Manka Dhingra applauds the work of her teen campaign committee at a joint event with Senator Patty Murray (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Last night, after ini­tial returns in Wash­ing­ton State’s 45th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict showed Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Man­ka Dhin­gra with a big lead, Jiny­oung Lee Englund post­ed a tweet thank­ing her sup­port­ers and promis­ing “an update tomorrow”:

Want to say a big thank you to every­one who has sup­port­ed me these last 6.5 months. It’s been a long road with its ups & downs, but I am hum­bled & grate­ful for friends made & expe­ri­ences shared. There are still a lot of votes left to be count­ed, we will have an update tomorrow.

King Coun­ty Elec­tions has just pub­lished updat­ed elec­tion results which include sev­er­al thou­sand new­ly tab­u­lat­ed bal­lots. With the Day Two count in, Man­ka Dhin­gra has expand­ed her share of the vote from 55.42% last night to 55.45% today, while Englund’s has con­tract­ed, going from 44.58% to 44.55%.

Dhin­gra had 16,156 votes as of Elec­tion Night, while Englund had 12,997 — a lead of 3,159. As of this after­noon, Dhin­gra now has 17,112 votes, while Englund has 13,749 — putting Dhin­gra 3,363 votes ahead of Englund.

This could be the begin­ning of a trend that mir­rors what we saw in the August Top Two elec­tion. In that pre­lim­i­nary round, Dhin­gra start­ed out with a strong lead, but then con­tin­ued to expand it as count­ing went on, con­found­ing and irri­tat­ing Repub­li­cans, who had expect­ed the gap to tight­en — not widen.

In Wash­ing­ton’s vote-by-mail sys­tem, it is pos­si­ble to erase an Elec­tion Night deficit and come from behind to win — if the race is rea­son­ably close to start with.

Roger Good­man did it in 45th in 2010, the same year that Andy Hill was first elect­ed. Good­man nar­row­ly trailed his Repub­li­can oppo­nent Kevin Haist­ings on Elec­tion Night, but was able to close the gap in sub­se­quent counts. He over­took his rival as of the fourth count and held on from there to win.

But for Jiny­oung Englund to mount a come from behind vic­to­ry, she’d have to have made up sig­nif­i­cant ground in today’s count, even more than Good­man did on that sec­ond day of count­ing in 2010. And she did­n’t do that. Instead, she fell fur­ther behind. Tomor­row and Fri­day could bring more of the same.

We can’t know how many bal­lots are in the mail head­ed to King Coun­ty Elec­tions, so we can’t say an Englund vic­to­ry is math­e­mat­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble… but we project that Sen­a­tor-elect Dhin­gra will win eas­i­ly when the elec­tion is certified.

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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