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Washington Becomes Competitive

August 19, 2010    Content provided by DDC Advocacy

After seeing relatively few competitive campaigns for most of the past decade, the Evergreen State of Washington appears headed for some tight races this year. With large numbers of votes still being counted - Washington allows voters to postmark their ballots on the day of the election, which is why their counts always take so long - it appears clear that Sen. Patty Murray (D) may be in for her most difficult race, ever. At this point, scoring only 46% of the vote in the jungle primary - projections suggest she may hit 47% when all votes are tabulated - means that challenger Dino Rossi (R) may be positioning himself for a potential win. Rossi is no stranger to close races. In 2004, he officially lost the Governor's race by 129 votes statewide of more than 2.7 million votes cast, although some say he lost by one vote because it took a judge allowing some new-found King County votes to finally eliminate him.

Three House races are also emerging into the hotly contested category. GOP Rep. Dave Reichert always has a tough campaign in WA-8 and election year 2010 will be no exception. Reichert came in under 50% earlier this week, but his Democratic opponent, former Microsoft exec Suzan DelBene was below 30%. The open 3rd district will now feature a toss-up campaign between former House Majority Leader Denny Heck (32%) and GOP state Rep. Jaime Herrera (27%). The conservative group Americans for Prosperity launched a major anti-spending ad campaign against Heck the day after the primary, which will help drive the race to be even closer. But the surprise of the night had to be north of Seattle, where local official and former state Rep. John Koster (R) came within just two points of Rep. Rick Larsen (D). The two faced each other 10 years ago when the seat was open. Larsen won by four points. It looks like they are headed for a similarly close finish this year.

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