In a closely watched race mirroring a nationwide struggle between progressive and establishment liberals, business-friendly former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland was ahead of legislator and environmental activist Beth Doglio Tuesday night by 14 percentage points in the race for the 10th Congressional District.
Incumbents, meanwhile, were leading in the 3rd and 8th Districts. Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler had 54% of votes counted in the 3rd, though Klickitat County results were not yet in, while in the 8th Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier also had 54%.
The 10th District race is the state’s only congressional contest for an open seat. Strickland had just 50% of vote counted, to Doglio’s 35%, while write-in ballots were running 14%.
Doglio did not concede Tuesday. “The early results were not what we hoped for, but I’m glad we ran a campaign focused on the most important issues,” she said in a statement.
Strickland did not declare victory. “You always want to wait until more ballots are counted,” she said.
The 10th covers Olympia, Lakewood, Puyallup, eastern Tacoma and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Strickland, 58, aligns with business-friendly Democrats. Endorsed by former Governors Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke, she headed the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce when it opposed a 2018 head tax on big businesses.
The 55-year-old Doglio, belonging to a wave of progressives often challenging party leaders, was endorsed by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. She supports a Green New Deal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
In the run up to the election, both said they favored gun control, more federal funding for affordable housing and adding more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court if Amy Coney Barrett were confirmed — now a reality.
Both offered voters a history-making opportunity: Strickland, born in South Korea, would be the first Korean American congresswoman and the first Black member of Congress from Washington. Doglio, who identifies as bisexual, would be Washington’s first openly LGBTQ member of Congress.
In the 3rd Congressional District, primary results did not suggest a close race. Herrera Beutler, a Republican who has represented the southwestern Washington district for 10 years, drew 56% of the vote. Democrat Carolyn Long, who has long taught public policy courses at WSU Vancouver, took 40%.
Still, national party money poured in on both sides. Democrats saw opportunity in the only congressional district represented by a Republican along the Pacific Coast in the contiguous U.S. states, while the GOP wanted to ensure it held on.
Looming over the race, as with many others, is President Donald Trump. Herrera Beutler once disavowed Trump but now says the president’s economic record has earned her vote — something Long has sought to use against the Congresswoman.
Long, 53, supports a government-run public-insurance option that would expand upon the Affordable Care Act. Herrera Beutler, 42, has said she wants to see Obamacare replaced, while keeping protections for people with preexisting conditions.
In contrast, the 8th Congressional District race attracted little money or attention, despite the high-profile battle that took place in this district in 2018, when Democrat Kim Schrier defeated prominent Republican Dino Rossi.
Stretching from the suburbs of King and Pierce counties to the rural terrain of Kittitas and Chelan counties, it has typically gone for Democratic presidential candidates and, until electing Schrier, Republicans for Congress.
Jesse Jensen, a combat veteran and former Microsoft executive who painted Schrier as too liberal for the district, is a 37-year-old Bonney Lake resident.
Schrier, 52, an Issaquah pediatrician, highlighted successful health-care legislation she co-sponsored.
In other races, Democrat Pramila Jayapal trounced Republican challenger Craig Keller to win a third term in the 7th District with 85% of the votes counted; Democratic four-term incumbent Suzan DelBene was leading Republican Sultan City Councilmember Jeffrey Beeler, Sr., with 61% in the 1st District; Democrat Rick Larsen, who has represented the 2nd District since 2001, was ahead of Republican businessman Timothy Hazelo with 65%; Republican Dan Newhouse, seeking a fourth term in the 4th District, had 65% against Democratic challenger Doug McKinley; Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers was leading Democrat Dave Wilson with 59% in her bid for a ninth term in the 5th District; four-term Democratic incumbent Derek Kilmer, with 62%, was ahead of Republican former education researcher Elizabeth Kreiselmaier in the 6th District; and Democrat Adam Smith, who has served in Congress since 1997, was ahead of Republican businessman Doug Basler with 76% in the 9th District.