West Cascades, a fine Democratic election

Scanning across Washington and Oregon, there’s really not much for Democrats not to like about tonight’s returns.

Democrats won just about everything in sight that was realistically up for grabs.

The big one, of course, was the Washington gubernatorial. Democrat Jay Inslee sits at 51.7% over Republican Rob McKenna, in a race a lot of people saw as a jump ball – and more than a few thought would edge to McKenna. The counting isn’t over, of course, but what’s left – a large chunk in Democratic King County – is more likely to pad Inslee’s margin than to subtract from it.

That one could have gone either way. So could Washington’s 1st district, a territory closely split between the parties with – it seemed to us – maybe a slight Republican lean. The Republican nominee, John Koster, was experienced and well-known, and has won elections in the past. But it appears to have gone, and not by a slight margin, to Democrat Suzan DelBene. (Turns out that de facto Democratic nomination really was worth fighting over.) Two other open seats, in the 6th (Derek Kilmer) and the (new) 10th (Denny Heck), went easily and as predicted to the Democrats.

The major really close race seems to be secretary of state, long in Republican hands, and at the moment there’s a very slight Democratic lead.

Less was on the table in Oregon, but Democrats seeking to hold secretary of state (where a really serious race developed, with the Republican getting newspaper endorsements almost uniformily around the state), treasurer and attorney general all were ahead convincingly. So was Brad Avakian, re-elected in a non-partisan race – theoretically – in which he was the understood Democrat and his opponent Bruce Starr the understood Republican. (Both have been elected as legislators under those parties’ banners.)

The major question remaining in Washington and Oregon has to do with the legislative makeup – Oregon’s in particular is on the edge. More on that later. But the toplines look very favorable for Democrats – close to a mirror of 2008 and a reversal from 2010.

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