Republicans have a candidate in what’s likely to be this year’s highest-profile Washington state race.
OLYMPIA — Republicans finally have a candidate in what’s likely to be this year’s highest-profile Washington state race.
Jinyoung Lee Englund on Tuesday announced her candidacy for the special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond. Hill, who had been the chief GOP budget writer, died in November of lung cancer.
A news release announcing her candidacy said Englund wants to boost school funding, help the developmentally disabled and reduce traffic congestion. She also opposes a new state income tax.
Englund, who lives in Woodinville, is an alumna of the University of Washington, according to her campaign website. In the news release, Sen. Dino Rossi, who is temporarily occupying the Senate seat, called her an “independent thinker” and a “pragmatic leader.”
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A 2015 University of Washington profile of Englund says she worked as a staffer for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane. She also served as communications director for the Bitcoin Foundation and worked for a nonprofit in Mozambique, according to the profile.
Republicans — joined by one Democrat who caucuses with them — now control the Senate by a single seat. So this November’s contest will determine which party controls the chamber.
Manka Dhingra, a senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the King County Prosecutor’s Office, is running for the seat as a Democrat.
The Democratic establishment has coalesced around Dhingra. As of Tuesday, she’s raised $200,000 in campaign contributions, according to state records. Among those who have endorsed her are Gov. Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.
Dhingra’s priorities include education funding, violence prevention, mental-health issues and protecting women’s rights, her website says.
At least three other candidates have filed to run for the seat: Robert Harris as nonpartisan, Ian Stratton as a Democrat and Kenneth Smith as a Republican.