With more votes counted Wednesday, Democrats look to be holding on to the Washington state House. And despite losing a seat, the state Senate likely will remain in the hands of Republicans.
With more votes counted Wednesday, Democrats appeared to be holding on to the Washington state House — and keeping alive the possibility of picking up a seat or two.
Meanwhile, Republicans appeared likely to keep a slim margin in the state Senate, meaning Gov. Jay Inslee will begin his second term with a divided Legislature.
Going into the election period, Democrats held a slender 50-48 majority in the House.
The election results so far appear to have given each party one of the other’s seats.
In the 31st District, Republican Phil Fortunato was leading in the race to replace retiring Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw. Fortunato on Wednesday was leading Lane Walthers, who describes himself as an independent Democrat, 57 to 43 percent.
And in the Federal Way area 30th District, GOP Rep. Linda Kochmar on Wednesday trailed Democratic challenger Mike Pellicciotti, 55 to 45 percent.
Reeve leading Hickel
Also in the 30th District, GOP incumbent Rep. Teri Hickel of Federal Way trailed Democratic challenger Kristine Reeves. On Wednesday, Reeves was leading Hickel 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent.
Races for three other GOP-held seats, meanwhile, also remain extremely tight. And one Democrat-held seat was very close.
In the 5th District, Rep. Jay Rodne, R-Snoqualmie, was narrowly leading Democratic challenger Jason Ritchie. By Wednesday afternoon, Rodne had overcome a small deficit to take the lead, 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent.
In the other 5th District House race, an open seat to replace Republican Rep. Chad Magendanz, who left to run for state Senate, the GOP candidate maintained a narrow lead. Republican Paul Graves on Wednesday was leading Democrat Darcy Burner, 51.1 to 48.9 percent.
A Republican also held a small lead in an open seat in the Vancouver-area 17th District held by GOP Rep. Lynda Wilson, who left to run for the state Senate. Republican Vicki Kraft Wednesday was leading Democrat Sam Kim, 50.5 to 49.5 percent.
In a Democrat-held seat in the 19th District, Democrat Teresa Purcell on Wednesday was narrowly leading Republican Jim Walsh, 50.4 to 49.6 percent.
Close contests never materialized in some races that Republicans were hoping to put in play. In the 44th District, Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, on Wednesday was leading GOP challenger Janice Huxford, 53 to 47 percent.
In the 45th District, Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, repeated a strong win against Republican challenger Ramiro Valderrama. On Wednesday, Goodman was leading Valderrama 65 to 35 percent.
Other challengers that Democrats put up against Republican incumbents in the 26th, 35th, and 44th Districts didn’t appear to have a shot at winning in Wednesday’s election results.
After Tuesday night’s results, both Democrats and Republicans were optimistic.
“We know we’re going to continue in the majority,” said Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, chair of the House Democratic Campaign Committee.
Kevin Carns, executive director for the House Republican Organizational Committee, noted that GOP legislative candidates remained competitive in a year where Hillary Clinton, Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray all won decisively with Washington voters.
“We once again prove we can win in any environment,” said Carns, adding later that there were, “still a lot of votes left to count.”
Meanwhile, Democrats looked set to pick up one seat in the state Senate, leaving Republicans with a razor-thin 25-24 majority.
In the 41st District, Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, continued Wednesday to trail Democratic challenger Lisa Wellman by about 54 to 46 percent.
In the 17th District, Republican Lynda Wilson on Wednesday held her lead against Democrat Tim Probst, 54 to 46 percent, for the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver.
In the 5th District, Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Mullet of Issaquah on Wednesday continued to hold a lead over Magendanz, his Republican challenger, 52.8 to 47.2 percent.
Information in this article, originally published Nov. 9, 2016 was corrected Nov. 9, 2016. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that GOP Rep. Teri Hickel was leading Wednesday in the 30th District House race. In fact, Democrat Kristine Reeves was ahead.