Yesterday, incumbent Republican Senator Jan Angel (R-26th District: Gig Harbor, Kitsap Peninsula) rocked the Washington State political landscape when she unexpectedly dropped her state Senate reelection bid, handing Democrats a prime pickup opportunity in a cycle that is expected to be difficult for Republicans.
Angel has represented the 26th District for almost five years, since defeating her predecessor Nathan Schlicher in a November 2013 special election.
Now Democrats feel they stand an even better chance of recapturing the seat once held by Schlicher and U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer.
The Democratic Party’s candidate is Emily Randall, a community organizer and healthcare advocate with deep roots in the district.
“I believe that more unites us than divides us and am frustrated by partisan politicians who lack the courage to do what’s right for our community. I’m running for State Senate because I know we have the resources and tools to address our most pressing issues – we just need to elect a leader with the conviction to put people first,” said Randall in a news release earlier this week.
The Senate hopeful was raised on the Kitsap Peninsula in Port Orchard where both her parents were union workers; her father was a longtime shipyard worker and her mother a paraeducator at South Kitsap High School. She was the first of her family to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree. After graduating, she dedicated herself to serving others and advancing the cause of healthcare for women.
Most recently, she served as the Western Region’s Philanthropy Officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
As a state legislator, Randall says her priorities would be strengthening our schools, promoting affordable college, making apprenticeship and job training opportunities available to more people, and expanding access to healthcare.
The 26th District spans the southeastern part of the Kitsap Peninsula, stretching from Bremerton and Port Orchard in the north to Gig Harbor in the south.
Since Jan Angel has opted not to seek reelection, Randall is now a contender for an open seat. Angel has thrown her support to Marty McClendon, the Pierce County Republican chairman and perennial candidate.
McClendon previously sought this very seat eight years ago, but was easily defeated by Derek Kilmer. In 2014, McClendon challenged Kilmer again, but this time for U.S. Representative in the 6th Congressional District. As before, Kilmer prevailed easily.
In 2016, McClendon vied with Democratic State Senator Cyrus Habib to become Washington State’s Lieutenant Governor. Habib won, 54.39% to 45.61%.
McClendon and Randall will be competing with independent Bill Scheidler this summer to advance to the November general election.