NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2020

King County’s 5th Legislative District appears ready for more progressive representation

Last night’s ear­ly elec­tion results in the 5th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict, if they hold, should put an end to the end­less pon­tif­i­cat­ing that despite elect­ing three Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors in 2018, the 5th is a pur­ple dis­trict… and that the only way Democ­rats can win there is by run­ning can­di­dates who oppose pro­gres­sive ideas.

The ear­ly gen­er­al elec­tion results, which are total­ly con­sis­tent with the August Top Two elec­tion results, tell a dif­fer­ent sto­ry. The dis­trict is now 60%-68% blue, com­pa­ra­ble with safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­tricts to the west.

Con­sid­er the race for State House, Posi­tion #1. In this race pit­ting a Demo­c­rat against a Repub­li­can, Bill Ramos leads 63% to 37%.

That’s a mas­sive mar­gin, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing that only four years ago, Repub­li­cans won both of the dis­tric­t’s State House races.

In the race for State House, Posi­tion #2, Lisa Callan is unop­posed and get­ting 90% of the vote against 10% write-ins, which are pre­sump­tive­ly com­ing from Repub­li­can vot­ers who found Lisa unpalat­able. A more real­is­tic analy­sis includes blank bal­lots. Tak­ing those into account, Lisa gets 68%.

The Sen­ate race is more dif­fi­cult to ana­lyze. In this all-Demo­c­ra­t­ic race, Ingrid Ander­son leads Mark Mul­let 50% to 48%. As in Lisa Callan’s one-sided race, we need to con­sid­er the blank bal­lots. That analy­sis shows Ingrid lead­ing 44% to 43% with 13% of the vot­ers sit­ting this race out. Obvi­ous­ly, many Repub­li­cans chose to vote in this race, since the dis­trict is at least 32% — 35% Republican.

What’s inter­est­ing in the Sen­ate race is that Ander­son ran as an unapolo­getic pro­gres­sive Demo­c­rat, while Mul­let active­ly court­ed Repub­li­can voters.

Mark is def­i­nite­ly still in this, and with many votes still yet to be count­ed, he may ulti­mate­ly win (though Ander­son is in the bet­ter position).

But if he does win, it will be a dif­fi­cult strat­e­gy to repeat.

As a two term incum­bent, his name recog­ni­tion should have car­ried him to an easy vic­to­ry. But hav­ing already vio­lat­ed the num­ber one rule in pol­i­tics (don’t alien­ate your base), he swung hard in the oth­er direction.

Mul­let ran on his oppo­si­tion to pro­gres­sive tax reform, includ­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy, his record of chan­nel­ing dol­lars into the dis­trict, espe­cial­ly for high­way projects, and his enthu­si­asm for work­ing close­ly with Republicans.

He clear­ly mis­read his district.

By my cal­cu­la­tions, Ander­son received well over two-thirds of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic votes. While Mul­let did suc­ceed in woo­ing a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Repub­li­cans, it wasn’t quite enough to secure first place in the ini­tial returns.

The 5th is a solid­ly blue slice of King Coun­ty now, with a rapid­ly increas­ing num­ber of vot­ers who desire strong pro­gres­sive representation.

If Ander­son wins, the dis­trict will get a sen­a­tor who will fit in nice­ly with the East­side’s diver­si­fy­ing leg­isla­tive del­e­ga­tion. There is cur­rent­ly no nurse in the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus; Ander­son would offer a valu­able per­spec­tive as the Leg­is­la­ture works to con­front the coro­n­avirus pandemic.

A vic­to­ry for Ander­son would also cement the trans­for­ma­tion of the East­side’s Sen­ate del­e­ga­tion. As of the end of 2014, it was all men with views rang­ing from pret­ty con­ser­v­a­tive to par­tial­ly pro­gres­sive: Andy Hill, Steve Lit­zow, Rod­ney Tom, and Mul­let. Now, it could be all women: Man­ka Dhin­gra, Lisa Well­man, Pat­ty Kud­er­er, and Ander­son. That’s quite the change in just six years.

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