Legislators in Washington and Oregon have been dropping off almost too fast to post on each one, but some of the carry larger implications. Let's take a moment to consider politics in the wake of Washington Representative Chris Strow, R-Freeland.
Our interest here is in the future of his House seat. He serves in District 10, which is anchored by Whidbey Island and includes chunks of Puget Sound-facing Skagit and Snohomish counties. This has mostly been assumed to be Republican territory. The large military presence on Whidbey has made Island County generally more Republican than most of what surrounds it, and Skagit often has a Republican tilt.
And Strow was re-elected unopposed last year.
Dig a little deeper and you find more of interest: When legislative seats here are contested by both parties, the results are often quite close.
When Strow ran in 2004, he won with just 50.1% of the vote over Democrat Nancy Conard (47.1%). The other representative here, Republican Barbara Bailey, took just 51.5% in 2006 over Democrat Tim Knue. In 2004, she won with a stronger 58%, but her take in 2002 was 51.5%.
And the senator here is a Democrat, Mary Margaret Haugen, who also last won (in 2004) in a tight race, taking 50.3% over Republican April Lynne Axthelm (47.1%).
Looks like this district may go on the short watch list for '08.