OLYMPIA – In a tough campaign season for King County Republicans and facing a rape allegation, Washington state Sen. Joe Fain on Friday night conceded the 47th District election to Democratic challenger Mona Das.
In Friday’s updated vote tally, Fain, a Republican from Auburn, trailed Das 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent.
In a Facebook post Friday, Fain congratulated Das, described a rewarding career in Olympia and called for more compromise in politics.
“During my time in office, I tried to be a bridge between parties and ideologies,” wrote Fain, who was first elected in 2010. “Our modern political culture creates plenty of partisan warriors but far too few diplomats. For our State and Country to thrive, we must start listening to one another with open minds and open hearts.”
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Neither Fain nor Das responded to requests for comment Friday.
In late September, on the same day as the U.S. Senate hearing regarding assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Candace Faber tweeted that Fain raped her in 2007. Faber has said the rape happened in a Washington, D.C., hotel room on the night she received a master’s degree from Georgetown University.
Faber, who lives in Seattle, worked as a foreign-service officer and later in Seattle’s Information Technology Department.
Fain has denied the allegation, and both he and Faber — along with lawmakers in both parties and Gov. Jay Inslee — have said they want an investigation.
But with concerns about law-enforcement jurisdiction, along with the timing of the allegation, which came during the campaign, officials said they were reluctant to begin a review.
On Friday night, in a Twitter exchange with a reporter, Faber said, “I hope that he either also admits to what he did to me, or that an investigation goes forward. My coming forward about being raped by him had nothing to do with this race, as I was not even aware he was running for re-election at the time, and I do not know to what extent it ultimately affected it.”
Fain’s opponent, Das, is a resident of Covington and owns a mortgage business. She ran for U.S. Congress in the 8th District before withdrawing before the primary and entering the state Senate race. She has campaigned on a platform of working for affordable housing and using new revenue to reduce car-tab fees for people for with low incomes.
Fain, an attorney, built a reputation in Olympia as a moderate and influential lawmaker, and was seen as a rising star in the GOP. He also proved an effective legislator.
He was one of four Republican senators who in 2012 voted to legalize same-sex marriage; in 2017, he played a key role in the passage of a paid family-leave law.
Last year, he successfully sponsored a bill to strengthen the state’s sexual-assault protection orders.
Faber has said she isn’t planning to seek a criminal investigation, or sue Fain. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia has said police would investigate only if the allegation were reported to them.
A state Senate committee Thursday commissioned an outside investigation into the allegation but it’s unclear if that will go forward given his defeat.
Fain also faced an election year in which voters went for Democratic challengers and unseated several other King County Republicans.
Staff reporter Heidi Groover contributed to this report.