The Moderate Washingtonian

Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.

30 December 2007

Initial Legislative Outlook - House Democrats

Unlike their Senate counterparts, House Democrats still look to have a fine shot at picking up additional seats on top of their current supermajority. Starting out, I'm predicting a three-seat Democratic gain, counting the Jarrett seat as a pick up as well given that it last elected a Republican. Considering how conservative I'm trying to be with these initial predictions, this means we could see the party eclipse 70 seats if they continue to recruit solid candidates and have some more good fortune.

1. Vacant, 41st District (Jarrett): Given recent Democratic dominance on the Eastside, and especially their swift movement in the 41st, in an open seat we have to give Democrats the benefit of the doubt. Yes, Republicans seem to have found a fine candidate in Mercer Island City Councilman Steve Litzow, but even with a good Republican the Democratic Party ought to have the advantage. The first Democrat to file is Marcie Maxwell, a member of the Renton School Board.

2. Rep. Jim Dunn, 17th District: Let's face it, Dunn is pretty much sunk. He already should have lost, winning by less than 1% to Pat Campbell while the Democratic Party's preferred candidate sat on the sidelines, added to this Dunn's recent misogynistic gaffe and I have a hard time seeing a scenario where he wins. The GOP should probably try to topple him in a primary with a more moderate candidate for this suburban district. Announced for the Democrats is Tim Probst.

3. Vacant, 25th District (McDonald): Now that Joyce McDonald is leaving this seat to run for the Pierce County Council, Democrats have a real chance to sweep this Puyallup-based district for the first time in nearly 20 years. Seatmate Dawn Morrell solidified herself with a 20-point victory last year, and given the poor luck for Republicans beyond McDonald in recent cycles I think an open seat would lean Democratic. The only announced candidate thus far is Republican Bruce Dammeier, whom I admit to not knowing anything about, which isn't a great start when you're running in a swing district like this.

4. Vacant, 10th District (Strow): At least until the GOP appoints Strow's replacement in a few days, this vacant seat should be at the top of the Democratic list. Running for them is Tim Knue, who narrowly lost to Barbara Bailey in the district's other House seat last year. While this seat leans Republican and may well stay that way (especially if Norma Smith wins the appointment as expected), Knue should be able to compete well for the Democrats.

5. Rep. Barbara Bailey, 10th District: As mentioned above, Bailey won a close race for reelection last time and will likely run another close race. Potential Democrats include Ann McDonald and Patricia Terry.

6. Rep. Dan Roach, 31st District: Had I had my way, Chris Hurst would have run against Roach last year and left reasonable GOPer Jan Shabro alone, and may well have won by an even larger margin. Instead, the 31st is once again split yet still dominated by obnoxiously authoritarian Roaches. The Democratic bench in this rural district is sparse, but they did find Buckley City Councilman Ron Weigelt to run.

7. Rep. Jaime Herrera, 18th District: While the 18th is not exactly fertile ground for Democrats, they'll have as good a shot as any against appointed Rep. Herrera, who is untested at the ballot box. She may face some GOP disillusionment over her predecessor, Rep. Richard Curtis [R-Davenport Tower], but unless she does something controversial in her virgin legislative session I doubt she'll have much problem. Announced on the Democratic side is VaNessa Duplessie.

8. Rep. Dan Kristiansen, 39th District: Despite his leadership position in the House GOP and the solid GOP tilt of the 39th, Kristiansen caught a scare in 2006 from a political unknown, only winning by eight points. He'll probably be fine in 2008 as the Democrats have little bench in the 39th, but given his close call last time he has to be included in the target list.

9. Rep. Kirk Pearson, 39th District: Pearson faced no challenger in 2006, yet is included on the list due to that the 39th has been closer than it should be as of late for other races. If Val Stevens and Dan Kristiansen might be vulnerable here, less visible Pearson will be as well.

10. Rep. Doug Ericksen, 42nd District: While Ericksen seems to have solidified his seat and is on the fast track to GOP leadership, the 42nd remains a premiere swing district that tends to give Republicans closer races than Democrats as far as incumbents go. Seatmate Kelli Linville won big while Republicans Ericksen and Dale Brandland won by more modest margins, but ultimately the independence of 42nd voters will likely keep the district split.



At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Peter said...

Steve Dammeier is a naval academy grad. He is on the Puyallup school board, good samaritan hospital board, and a UWT trustee. He is a small business owner, and is involved in the community coaching football.

He is also raising money at a torching pace.


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