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.