Washington State's Capitol Campus in Olympia, from the air
An aerial view of Washington State's Capitol Campus in Olympia, with the distinctive Legislative Building in the center (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

A slate of sup­pos­ed­ly rea­son­able Repub­li­can leg­isla­tive can­di­dates backed by The Seat­tle Times in four swing leg­isla­tive dis­tricts are head­ed down to defeat in this year’s piv­otal 2022 midterms, while an addi­tion­al three endorsed Repub­li­cans in two safe Repub­li­can dis­tricts are win­ning as expected.

Vot­ers in the 5th, 44th, 45th, and 47th Dis­tricts reject­ed the Times’ advice to strength­en the ranks of the House and Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus­es in Olympia, pre­fer­ring instead to stick with Demo­c­ra­t­ic representation.

Democ­rats are now set to have a very healthy tri­fec­ta in Wash­ing­ton for at least two more years (until 2025). Repub­li­cans haven’t had a House major­i­ty in Wash­ing­ton since the 1990s and haven’t con­trolled the Sen­ate since 2017.

The Seat­tle Times Com­pa­ny endorsed most­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates for the Leg­is­la­ture this year and antic­i­pat­ed a Demo­c­ra­t­ic hold of both chambers.

How­ev­er, as men­tioned, in four swing dis­tricts not far from the City of Seat­tle, the Times picked a Repub­li­can chal­lenger over a Demo­c­ra­t­ic incumbent.

The Times also endorsed two Repub­li­can incum­bent leg­is­la­tors plus a Repub­li­can chal­lenger to an ultra MAGA, elec­tion-deny­ing Repub­li­can incumbent.

The Times’ 2022 Repub­li­can leg­isla­tive endorse­ments con­sist­ed of:

  • Chad Magen­danz in the 5th. “Magendanz’s proven record of inde­pen­dent think­ing, work­ing across the aisle and well respect­ed work on the McCleary bill put him in the best posi­tion to make need­ed reforms to tru­ly bring equi­ty to all Wash­ing­ton schools,” the edi­to­r­i­al board said. But vot­ers in the 5th demon­strat­ed that they want for­mer school board mem­ber Lisa Callan, an Issaquah Demo­c­rat, to con­tin­ue to rep­re­sent them. Magen­danz cur­rent­ly has 45.46% of the vote.
  • Drew Stokes­bary in the 31st. “Over four terms in the Leg­is­la­ture, Stokes­bary has been a strong, mod­er­ate voice speak­ing out for his con­stituents. He has proved him­self an effec­tive leg­is­la­tor and leader on bud­get issues,” the edi­to­r­i­al board said. The 31st is a solid­ly Repub­li­can Pierce and King Coun­ty dis­trict that has­n’t elect­ed a Demo­c­rat in years. Stokes­bary cur­rent­ly has 59.78% of the vote.
  • Sam Low in the 39th. “A fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive, Low wants to pro­vide tax relief to state res­i­dents strug­gling with infla­tion as well as pre­serve farm­land and open space. He offers a return to a cred­i­ble, leg­isla­tive prob­lem-solv­ing style,” the edi­to­r­i­al board said. The 39th is also a Repub­li­can dis­trict. Low, a Sno­homish Coun­ty coun­cilmem­ber, took on elec­tion denier Robert Suther­land in a Repub­li­can-on-Repub­li­can con­test, with the back­ing of J.T. Wilcox. Low cur­rent­ly has 54.92% of the vote.
  • Car­olyn Eslick in the 39th. “Eslick has tak­en a well-con­sid­ered posi­tion as a Repub­li­can mod­er­ate, crit­i­cal of high-spend­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic poli­cies and reac­tionary pos­tur­ing with­in her own Repub­li­can par­ty,” the edi­to­r­i­al board said. Eslick cur­rent­ly has 57.59% of the vote.
  • Mark Harmsworth in the 44th. “As a small-busi­ness own­er, Harmsworth said he knows first­hand the red tape and bureau­cra­cy that comes with run­ning a busi­ness. He wants to help stream­line per­mit­ting and bring some tax relief to Wash­ing­to­ni­ans,” the edi­to­r­i­al board said. But vot­ers in the Sno­homish Coun­ty dis­trict are say­ing no to his come­back bid. Harmsworth is cur­rent­ly los­ing to Brandy Don­aghy with 45.58% of the vote.
  • Ryi­ka Hooshan­gi in the 45th. “The Repub­li­can, who sup­ports abor­tion rights, will help bring much-need­ed bal­ance to the Leg­is­la­ture with a mod­er­ate, col­lab­o­ra­tive brand of pol­i­tics that is pro­gres­sive on social poli­cies and con­ser­v­a­tive on fis­cal issues,” the edi­to­r­i­al board said. Vot­ers in the 45th emphat­i­cal­ly dis­agreed. Hooshan­gi has 36.61% of the vote.
  • Bill Boyce in the 47th. “Boyce’s deep pub­lic-ser­vice involve­ment in the com­mu­ni­ties of the 47th Dis­trict make him the clear choice,” the edi­to­r­i­al board wrote. But vot­ers are going with for­mer State Sen­a­tor Clau­dia Kauff­man, a Native Amer­i­can who held the posi­tion from 2007–2011. Boyce cur­rent­ly has 46.68% of the vote.

In a big break with the past, no Repub­li­can can­di­dates for fed­er­al office were endorsed by the news­pa­per this year. Instead, the Times offered enthu­si­as­tic sup­port for Pat­ty Mur­ray and Kim Schri­er. Incum­bent Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs also received a glow­ing rec­om­men­da­tion from the Times.

Due to hav­ing most­ly endorsed Democ­rats and pro­gres­sive posi­tions on bal­lot mea­sures this year, the Times’ over­all win-loss col­umn looks real­ly good.

But the board was clear­ly hop­ing that vot­ers across sub­ur­ban and exur­ban Cen­tral Puget Sound would make the area’s leg­isla­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion more Repub­li­can than it has been since 2017–2018. That sim­ply isn’t happening.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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