It was not just the U.S. House and Senate which were up for grabs this election. More than a hundred State House and Senate seats were, too. Republican Party Chair Luke Esser said on Tuesday night he was expecting Republicans to pick up at least six Senate seats, which would bring the party closer to a majority. And with so many races still too close to forecast as of Wednesday afternoon, it will probably be several days before real numbers can be determined. A breakdown of the races is after the jump.
This election, the story has come full circle, where the last shall be first, and the first shall be last and the last shall be first again. Or something like that.
41st District: Probably the most publicly visible legislature race took place on Mercer Island. Republican challenger Steve Litzow, a former Proctor & Gamble executive, took to the airwaves again and again to unseat incumbent Randy Gordon. For weeks, Litzow purchased a mind-boggling array of television ads while dropping tons of campaign literature on constituents' doorsteps. Somebody's investment paid off, (Democrats blame Big Oil) as Litzow is winning, 52 percent to 48 percent.
47th District: The battleground for Seattle's suburbs took place here in parts of Covington, Kent and Maple Valley. Republicans picked up a House and a Senate seat here. Joe Fain (KJR sports-radio host Dick Fain's brother) unseated incumbent Claudia Kauffman. Democrat Geoff Simpson, who for years has withstood Republican accusations of domestic violence, finally lost to Mark Hargrove, 57 percent to 42 percent.
48th District: Anyone who's lived here knows that Bellevue is made up of nothing but rich, white, yuppie Republicans. So it has been quite a shock for the past several years that a shift in demographics has turned control of the district over to rich, white, yuppie Democrats. Sen. Rodney Tom and Rep. Ross Hunter are both in tough fights, leading GOP challengers Gregg Bennett and Diane Tebelius by 300 and 900 votes, respectively. Democrat Deb Eddy will hold her House seat.
45th District: Redmond, Carnation and Kirkland have also turned blue in recent years. That trend is coming to an end. Marijuana-legalization advocate Roger Goodman is having a bad trip, losing his House race to Republican Kevin Hastings by 400 votes. As lame as that is for Democrats, Senator Eric Oemig is being smoked by Andy Hill to the tune of 1,900 votes. The race had been targeted by Tea Party advocates who took umbrage over both candidates' support by NARAL. Democrat Larry Springer gained 55 percent of the votes in his House race.
25th District: Made up mostly of Puyallup, the race for State Rep. Pos. 2 between incumbent Dawn Morrell and GOP "wunderkind" Hans Zeiger earned regional headlines. The stink came after Democrats "outed" Zeiger for his contributions to website World Net Daily, an online tabloid that makes the John Birch Society look Wobbly. His musings on the Girl Scouts being controlled by feminists and lesbians and the cult of Islam naturally freaked out Seattle liberals, who forgot that the 25th is a fairly conservative district. Zeiger's mistake was his ham-handed attempt to erase his ramblings from the Internet, forgetting of course, the handy tool of Google cache.
Despite his rather chickenshit back-pedaling, he still has a slight lead, up by just 24 votes. Now age 25, he claimed these earlier writings were youthful indiscretions from when he was a callow 18-, 19- and 22-year old.
Zeiger's running mate, incumbent Republican Bruce Dammeier, is winning by a two-to-one margin for Pos. 1.
31st District: This district which encompasses much of Auburn, Lake Tapps and Enumclaw, is the "Jerry Springer Show" of state politics. Long the personal demesne of Sen. Pam Roach, she has protected her constituents from flower-stealing knaves and horse-buggering Seattleites. She has also personally pissed off just about every single Republican and Democrat, living or dead, in the state.
Enter Matt Richardson. City Councilmember. Executive Director for the Daffodil Festival. Family Man. The Choice of GOP leadership to finally muzzle Roach. Someone just forgot to note that he also pled guilty as a teenager to a misdemeanor sex crime. That was more than enough for Roach's smear machine to destroy Richardson's squeaky-clean reputation, while winning the race by a two-to-one margin.
Also, a curious race pitted incumbent Christopher Hurst, who is part of the the "Independent Democrat" party. He defeated Republican Patrick Reed, 57 percent to 43 percent.
1st District: Another suburban battleground, this time on the King-Snohomish county border, had two House seats up for grabs. First-timer Heidi Munson (a Tea Party favorite) is beating fellow political rookie Luis Moscoso by 400 votes. Derek Stanford, another Democratic youngster, has a 1,000-vote lead over Dennis Richter.
District 21: All three races in Lynnwood/Mukilteo were won pretty easily by Democrats. The House race, featuring Tea Party activist Elizabeth Scott, deserves a final punctuation. Scott was probably one of the first candidates to declare for the Tea Party movement, and she has been featured prominently at rallies supporting the cause. Although she did better than her two other GOP running mates, Scott still lost to entrenched Democrat Marco Liias by 1,700 votes.