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Democrats grow majorities in 2022 midterm election

December 12, 2022

The 2022 midterm election results are in, and Democrats exceeded historical expectations in a midterm election for the party in control of the White House. Democrats not only protected their majorities but actually picked up seats in both legislative chambers and gained a member of Congress.

US Congress

Democrats gained a seat in the congressional delegation after Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez narrowly defeated Republican Joe Kent in the 3rd Congressional District by less than 3,000 votes.

Kent defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Jamie Herrera-Beutler in the primary. Kent’s far-right positions drew opposition from Republican donors in the general election. Perez handily won Clark County, which holds nearly two-thirds of the district’s voters, by a 55-44% margin.

Democrats also survived a challenge to incumbent Rep. Kim Schrier in the 8th Congressional District. Republican Matt Larkin unexpectedly won the August primary, then struggled to moderate his positions for the general election. Schrier won with more than 53% of the vote.

Expect both seats to be hotly contested congressional races again in 2024. Democrats now hold eight of the state’s 10 congressional seats.

State Senate

Democrats will gain one seat in the state Senate. After sweeping the three most competitive state Senate races this cycle, they will expand their majority to 29-20.

Democratic Rep. Sharon Shewmake narrowly defeated Republican Sen. Simon Sefzik in the 42nd Legislative District (Bellingham, Lynden, Blaine). Democratic Sen. Emily Randall successfully defended a tough challenge by Rep. Jesse Young in the 26th Legislative District (Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, Bremerton). Former Democratic Sen. Claudia Kauffman defeated Republican Bill Boyce in an open-seat race in the 47th Legislative District (Kent, Covington, Auburn).

The practical implication of this gain is Democrats may change the composition of certain committees, making it even more challenging to slow down problematic legislation. Democrats now stand one seat short of a three-fifths majority that would allow them to pass bond bills without Republican support.

State House

On election night, House Democrats were on pace to gain three seats. Republican candidates, however, gained in subsequent counts and were able to claw back two of those races and narrowly missed out on a third. Democrats gained one seat to grow their majority to 58-40.

Republican Stephanie McClintock trailed Democrat John Zingale in the 18th Legislative District (Vancouver) by 549 votes on election night. She ended up winning by more than 3,000 votes.

Republican Spencer Hutchins trailed Democrat Adison Richards by 1,088 votes on election night in the 26th Legislative District (Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, Bremerton). Hutchins ended up winning by more than 700 votes.

Rep. Greg Gilday trailed Democrat Clyde Shavers by 2,312 votes on election night in the 10th Legislative District (Oak Harbor, Stanwood). He pulled ahead at one point with a 15-vote lead but ultimately lost by more than 100 votes.

The election outcome means BIAW will play defense once again and we’ll need your help to protect against threats to housing affordability.

*Original article was featured in the Nov./Dec Building Insight magazine and written by Brent Ludeman, BIAW Contract Lobbyist, Ludeman Public Affairs.

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