There were shouts of joy and sighs of relief as the initial vote counts were released in Washington’s August Top Two election tonight and Democratic activists from the 41st and 48th Districts saw that their candidates were all in first place.
Patty Kuderer, up for reelection to the Senate in the 48th District, was facing a challenge from Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat Rodney Tom, but is crushing Tom in the early results. Kuderer currently has 10,930 votes, while Tom only has 5,501, giving Kuderer 59.26% of the vote to Tom’s 29.82%.
Republican Bill Hirt (who is running as an independent) was the lowest vote-getter with 10.92% and will not advance to the general election on November.
After the thrilling announcement of Kuderer’s results, My-Linh Thai, the 41st District Democrats’ choice to succeed Representative Judy Clibborn for Position #2, heard that she was also winning her race, with 41.63% of the vote. She leads Republican Michael Appleby, who is currently has 33%, by over 2,100 votes and Wendy Weilker, a fellow Democratic contender, by nearly 4,000 votes.
Tana Senn is running for reelection to House Position #1 in the 41st and early in the night said she was feeling good about her chances.
Her confidence proved well-founded as she currently has 63.08% of the vote in her race, leading Republican Tim Cruickshank who currently has 34.95% and Libertarian Nathaniel Deily who is at 1.98% and will not advance to the general election.
After results were announced, Kuderer spoke first, and started by thanking all of her volunteers and supporters. “This is the halfway point; we’ve got to finish the race,” she said, saying there will still more doors to knock on and more voter to reach before the general election in November.
She said she was encouraged and relieved by the results.
“When I see numbers like that, what that tells me is people are paying attention, they care about their democracy, they understand what’s at stake and they’re willing to go to the ballot box.”
Senn said the results in the 41st and 48th “shows what we have known… that our area is becoming very blue. Not purple, but blue.”
Thai said that her first place finish is gratifying.
She characterized her likely victory as an incredible opportunity and incredible responsibility that she will be taking on. She noted that, if elected, she will be the first refugee to serve in the State House of Representatives. She also gave an impassioned, impromptu speech about the value of love.
“We do this because we believe in our cause. We do this because we love. Without love, nothing grows. We win because we love. Keep all of that in mind and we are going to go straight forward and make sure the world knows that the United States of America is a country of love,” she said to strong applause.
Also at the party to support her fellow candidates was State Representative Vandana Slatter, who is running unopposed for Position #2 in the 48th.
She talked about how important it is to have a Democratic majority in the House to be able to get bills passed. “When I got drafted into the Democratic Party, I felt like I got drafted into the Seahawks, because it’s a pretty awesome team that we have right here,” she said. “I might have a win today, but we are all winning together and we have to go forward together.”
Slatter listed off some of the accomplishments of this year’s legislative session, thanks to the new Democratic majority, and said maintaining that majority is vital. It’s “why we need these women here today,” she said.
An attendee shouted “Go She-Hawks!” and the whole audience cheered at the new moniker for this slate of progressive women candidates on the Eastside.