Republicans cut Democrats’ state House majority to its smallest level in a decade with Teri Hickel’s defeat of state Rep. Carol Gregory.

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Republican challenger Teri Hickel has defeated Democratic state Rep. Carol Gregory in a key Federal Way-area legislative race — further eroding the Democrats’ already-slim House majority.

Hickel took nearly 55 percent of the vote to Gregory’s 45 percent in the 30th Legislative District contest, in ballots counted through Wednesday evening.

The GOP victory leaves Democrats with a 50-48 majority in the House — down from a peak of 63-35 in 2008. Republicans hold a small majority in the state Senate.

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Hickel, 55, a former nonprofit director with ties to the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, ran as a problem-solver with strong community connections.

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Gregory, 71, is a Federal Way School Board member and former head of the state teachers’ union. She had been appointed to the legislative seat in January following the death of Rep. Roger Freeman.

Hickel thanked Gregory for her service and declared victory Wednesday in an emailed statement.

“It is clear that voters share my goals of creating good-paying jobs, growing our downtown core, and finding more funding for our schools while lowering our local property taxes with a levy swap,” she said.

Hickel will serve out the final year of Freeman’s unexpired term. She’ll have to run again in 2016 — when all state house seats are up for election — to secure a full, two-year term.