Washington’s August 2018 Top Two election concluded this evening, with candidates, activists, and journalists anxiously awaiting the results at watch parties at restaurants, campaign offices, and community gathering places across the state.
This election’s marquee race is widely considered to be the contest for the United States House in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, where incumbent Dave Reichert is retiring. The 8th is the only district this cycle with no incumbent running.
Republican Dino Rossi is running for the open seat and was expected to be the top vote getter in the election, but three credible Democratic candidates were all vying for the second spot: Kim Schrier, Jason Rittereiser, and Shannon Hader.
At Kim Schrier’s party at the YWCA in Issaquah, the crowd was energetic and excited, eager to watch the results of the election roll in.
The conclusion of voting (ballot drop boxes closed at 8 PM) ended months of campaigning and canvassing by Schrier and her team — many of whom were present at Schrier’s watch party to witness the effects of their hard work.
Their work in this election, however, may not be done.
The crowd of supporters erupted in cheers when the initial results were first put on the screen showing Schrier in the lead. Presently, she has 18.82% of the vote. Fellow Democratic challenger Jason Rittereiser is a close third with 17.56% of the vote. Shannon Hader, meanwhile, received 12.6% of the vote.
Less than 1,500 ballots separate Schrier and Rittereiser and it could be days before every ballot is counted and the result conclusive. Nonetheless, Schrier and her group of supporters and volunteers were excited and encouraged by the results.
“While ballots are still being counted, I am feeling very optimistic that we are on track to make history and send a Democrat to represent the 8th”, Schrier said.
She thanked the hundreds of volunteers who she said knocked on eighty thousand doors and made ninety thousand phone calls for her campaign.
She also thanked the other Democrats in the race who she said “stepped up, stepped forward, and gave a lively and competitive race”.
The initial results tonight suggest very strong Democratic turnout. Schrier, Rittereiser, and Hader combined to receive almost 50% of the vote. Republican Dino Rossi, on the other hand, is receiving only 43% of the vote.
“Dino better be worried,” Schrier said. “The real fight begins tonight. Now more than ever we need people in Congress who will speak truth to power, who will stand up for average families who are working hard to get by and feel like their politicians in the other Washington just don’t get it.”
“There could not be a starker contrast between me, the community pediatrician mom, and Dino Rossi, the career politician. I am in this to serve my community and he has been in this, always, to serve himself.”
While the race is too close to call at the moment, it is likely that Kim Schrier will be the Democratic challenger who goes toe to toe against Dino Rossi in November in a crucial district Democrats are hoping to flip from red to blue.