Emily Randall
Emily Randall

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.

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