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.