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.

28 October 2008

Senate elections predictions, part 2

Several days ago I posted the top five potential Democratic pickups, and this involves the Republican targets. I'm predicting no change in partisan seat distribution this cycle.

Republican Targets:
1. 2nd District:
Senator Marilyn Rasmussen is a holdover from the days Democrats dominated rural Pierce County, a socially-conservative Democrat constantly surviving in what is now fairly solid GOP territory. She won reelection in 2004 by about five points and took just over 50% in this year's primary election. Her opponent is Randi Becker, who ran far ahead of more moderate GOPer Kelly Mainard for the #2 spot in the general. With Rasmussen right at 50% against two Republicans it's quite apparent she's vulnerable yet again, but ultimately I think she's cast enough high-profile conservative votes to win with some crossover Republican support.

Rasmussen [D] 51%
Becker [R] 49%

2. 10th District:
The 10th is a similar situation to the 2nd in that the incumbent is an aging institution who is increasingly in the wrong party for the district yet continues to win narrow reelections. Mary Margaret Haugen is one of the more powerful senators in the body, chair of the transportation committee, and has a moderate record that is ideal for a Democrat in the 10th. She's been in the legislature for 25 years, though won reelection in 2004 by only three points. She earned 53% of the vote in the primary against Republican businesswoman Linda Haddon and third party candidate Sarah Hart, seemingly placing her on more solid footing than her 2nd district counterpart. The 10th has had Republican representatives in both seats since 2000, though many of those races have been narrow victories.

Haugen [D] 53%
Haddon [R] 47%

3. 25th District:
The 25th features incumbent Senator Jim Kastama against GOP challenger Michele Smith. Kastama solidified his hold on the seat with a nine point reelection in 2004 and won the primary with 56% of the vote. Like the previous two seats he typically votes a more moderate line that fits this swing district well. Democrats have fared better here the last several cycles but it is likely to continue to be a bellweather district, and right now that means Kastama is in a good position. Smith has been around the district a long time and has yet to score her first victory, and isn't terribly likely to do it here.

Kastama [D] 55%
Smith [R] 45%

4. 5th District:
The last remaining Republican bastion on the Eastside, Senator Cheryl Pflug faces reelection against Democrat Phyllis Huster, a lesbian. Pflug cast a very public vote against her caucus in the domestic partnership extension bill last biennium, a move some speculate was meant to neutralize the charge from Huster that she is not gay-friendly enough. I respect Pflug for the vote, but I don't really buy the aforementioned theory. The 5th is Rossi country and I don't think she would have had much to worry about regardless of how she voted on the issue. Democrats might be able to finally break through in the district, but it isn't going to be against Pflug.

Pflug [R] 59%
Huster [D] 41%

5. 1st District:
The 1st district has been fairly solid Democratic for most of its history. This is the district that got the ball rolling on Patty Murray's career back in the 80s (thanks a lot for that, 1st), and isn't likely to revert to Republicans at the current time. Republicans tend to do well in parts of the district at the local level, but in partisan races 1st district voters are much more likely to shy away from the label. McAuliffe has been in the seat since her first election in 1992, typically drawing victories by around ten points. She won the primary over opponent Dennis Richter by a surprisingly close 57-43%, I say "surprisingly" because she won reelection by about the same margin in 2004 against a more mainstream Republican. Richter doesn't seem to have much of a base of support and is way too conservative for the district.

McAuliffe [D] 60%
Richter [R] 40%



At 11:48 AM, Anonymous jacob said...

If you look at MMH's numbers from the 2004 primary she ran approximately 2 points ahead of where she was this year...Oh, and turnout was significantly higher in the southern part due to a VERY competitive commissioners race...I would call the 10th as a flip, and probably the only seat (Dem or GOP) that flips in the Senate this year.


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