Manka Dhingra speaking
Manka Dhingra speaking (Photo: Andrew Vileneuve/NPI)

Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhin­gra (D‑45th Dis­trict) is win­ning elec­tion to the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate for the third con­sec­u­tive time, Elec­tion Night returns show.

In the first count, Dhin­gra had 63.04% of the vote, while Repub­li­can chal­lenger Ryi­ka Hooshan­gi had 36.8% of the vote. Hooshan­gi is per­form­ing a lit­tle bet­ter than she did in August when she first appeared on the bal­lot with Dhin­gra, but is still well under forty per­cent and not a com­pet­i­tive candidate.

Hooshan­gi, a Sam­mamish Water Plateau Dis­trict board­mem­ber, pre­vi­ous­ly ran unsuc­cess­ful­ly for Sam­mamish City Coun­cil in 2019 and decid­ed to chal­lenge Dhin­gra for the Sen­ate last spring with John Braun’s encouragement.

One of two Deputy Major­i­ty Lead­ers in the Sen­ate, Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra chairs the body’s Law & Jus­tice Com­mit­tee and has worked tire­less­ly to strength­en pub­lic safe­ty and advance police reform in Wash­ing­ton State. Her first vic­to­ry came five years ago when she eas­i­ly won a spe­cial elec­tion to deter­mine who would serve out the remain­der of the late Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Andy Hill’s term.

That vic­to­ry flipped the Sen­ate to Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol, end­ing Mark Schoesler’s abil­i­ty to bury good leg­is­la­tion enact­ed by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and putting an end to five years of end­less spe­cial ses­sions and gridlock.

After a very suc­cess­ful first ses­sion in the Leg­is­la­ture, Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra won reelec­tion in 2018 by an even big­ger mar­gin, hand­i­ly dis­patch­ing Repub­li­can chal­lenger Dale Fonk, the chair of the 45th LD Repub­li­cans. That same year, she helped form the board of NPI’s sib­ling, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Foun­da­tion.

Four years lat­er, it’s clear that Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra still has a strong con­nec­tion with her con­stituents. Though The Seat­tle Times repeat­ed­ly instruct­ed vot­ers to replace Dhin­gra with Hooshan­gi, and although the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty sent mul­ti­ple attack mail­ers mak­ing absurd state­ments like ‘Man­ka Dhin­ga is Fail­ing our Chil­dren,” vot­ers are demon­strat­ing tonight that they are hap­py with Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra’s work and want her to con­tin­ue rep­re­sent­ing them.

Seat­tle Times own­er Frank Blethen and his edi­to­r­i­al board were clear­ly enchant­ed with Hooshan­gi, whose I’m a rea­son­able Repub­li­can pitch (despite belong­ing to a par­ty that tried to stop the law­ful trans­fer of pow­er in 2021!) won her not only an endorse­ment, but repeat­ed men­tions in fol­low-up editorials.

But vot­ers in the 45th weren’t. The 45th is a solid­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict now, not a swing dis­trict, and its elec­torate wants strong, pro­gres­sive representation.

Despite hav­ing the advan­tage of a lot more mon­ey than Dale Fonk had four years ago, plus inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture cam­paigns work­ing for her and against Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra, Ryi­ka Hooshan­gi was unable to put the dis­trict in play.

Next cycle, it will have been ten years since Repub­li­cans last won a leg­isla­tive elec­tion in the 45th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Roger Good­man and Lar­ry Springer are also eas­i­ly pre­vail­ing in tonight’s ini­tial results. The duo have worked togeth­er in the House for the bet­ter part of twen­ty years. Springer was first elect­ed in 2004; Good­man was first elect­ed in 2006. Each suc­cess­ful­ly sur­vived the 2010 and 2014 midterms, which were good cycles for Republicans.

This year, they faced only token oppo­si­tion, as the num­bers show.

Springer has 71.98% and Good­man has 69.09% of the ini­tial vote.

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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