Marilyn Strickland, the former mayor of Tacoma and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, has won the open congressional race in Washington’s 10th Congressional District.
The Associated Press called the race for Strickland, in a district representing Olympia, Lakewood, Puyallup, eastern Tacoma and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Strickland, a Democrat, led Wednesday with 50% of the vote, to about 36% for state Rep. Beth Doglio, also a Democrat. About 14% of voters had cast their ballots for write-in candidates, a large percentage, but not wholly surprising in a race with no Republican option.
Strickland will replace Rep. Denny Heck, a Democrat who has represented the 10th District since its creation, after the 2010 census. Heck announced his retirement late last year and ran for lieutenant governor, a race he won.
In an interview Wednesday, Strickland noted that she’d emerged from a 19-person primary election, was “thrilled to win this with a double-digit margin” and emphasized that she’d be looking to work in a bipartisan way.
“The voters of the 10th Congressional District were really focused on someone who can solve problems, who is a proven leader, who is is going to work on reaching across the aisle to how we solve some of these big issues,” she said.
Strickland said her first priority would be to “get to know members outside my caucus” to come up with a national plan to focus on the coronavirus pandemic, rather than a scattershot 50-state approach.
Doglio on Wednesday thanked supporters for helping her bring “progressive values into the conversation.”
“This wasn’t the result we hoped for, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did to support this campaign,” she wrote on Twitter. “At every campaign debate – we talked about climate change, Medicare for all, the Green New Deal. So many progressive policies, that are more than just progressive — they are common sense.”
Strickland, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, will become both the first Black member of Congress from Washington and the first Korean American congresswoman anywhere in America.
The race mirrored the nationwide, intra-party Democratic struggles that have played out over the last two presidential primaries. Establishment liberals lined up behind the business-friendly Strickland, while progressives supported Doglio, a longtime environmental activists, who championed expansive policies such as Medicare for All and a Green New Deal.
And, like in the last two Democratic presidential primaries, the more moderate candidate prevailed.
In Washington’s nine other congressional districts, incumbents were leading across the board Wednesday.
The closest race was in the 8th Congressional District, where first-term Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier led Republican challenger Jesse Jensen 53% to 47%. Schrier’s lead shrank by about 1 percentage point from Tuesday night’s counts, but she maintained a lead of more than 22,000 votes out of about 360,000 tallied.
The district has traditionally voted for congressional Republicans, but Schrier, an Issaquah pediatrician, won it in the Democratic wave of 2018. Jensen, a combat veteran and former Microsoft executive, had hoped to win it back, but the race attracted little attention from the national parties.
In Southwest Washington, Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler led Democratic challenger Carolyn Long on Wednesday 54% to 46%. Long, who lost to Herrera Beutler in 2018, had hoped to flip the district, the last on the contiguous Pacific Coast held by Republicans, in a race that had attracted money from the national parties.
Long, a political science professor, had based her campaign on protecting and expanding the Affordable Care Act. Herrera Beutler, who supported President Donald Trump after saying she couldn’t vote for him in 2016, touted her ability to work with both parties.
Incumbents in every other congressional district were leading by double-digit margins Wednesday.