Jay Inslee wins third term as governor; down-ballot races mixed.

Photo Credit Gage Skidmore under CC BY-SA 2.0

During one of the most critical general elections of the United States, occurring amid a global pandemic, Washington has counted the majority of the state’s votes in many important races and initiatives. 

Last night, Joe Biden won the state of Washington, receiving all 12 electoral votes in Washington’s winner-takes-all system. 

In addition, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee has won a third term. Governor Inslee’s victory secures his seat against Republican candidate Loren Culp, a police chief from Eastern Washington. Culp campaigned largely against Inslee’s mask mandates and coronavirus restrictions on the basis that they were infringements on the people’s rights. Inslee is the first incumbent to win a third term in the state in over 40 years.

Since 2011 Washington has been one of 5 states to conduct their elections entirely by mail, a process frequently criticized by President Donald Trump in the current election cycle. The Secretary of State oversees the vote-by-mail system, and that seat has been held by Republican Kim Wyman since 2012. Challenging Wyman was Democratic candidate Representative Gael Tarleton. Currently, Wyman leads with 52 to 48 percent. 

After squaring off in a top-two primary, Denny Heck has pulled ahead in the Lt. Governor race, ahead of Marko Liias by 14 points. Attorney General Bob Ferguson also holds a lead over Republican candidate Matt Larkin, and incumbent State Superintendent of Public Schools Chris Reykdal was up 57 to 43 percent over his challenger, Maia Espinoza. 

In Congressional House races, Democratic incumbents Suzan Delbene of District 1, Pramila Jayapal of District 7, and Kim Schrier of District 8 hold a lead over their opponents. Republican incumbents Dan Newhouse of District 4 and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of District 5 also hold leads and are likely to  maintain their seats in the upcoming 2021 term. 

Regarding ballot measures, Referendum 90 was approved with 60 percent of the vote. Referendum 90 is the first sexual education requirement for public schools to be decided by state voters in the entire nation. The public vote upholds a state senate bill largely supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. Currently, non binding Advisory votes 32, 33, 34, 35 all relating to tax measures, are largely failing to pass. Finally, city of Seattle voters overwhelmingly supported the passage of proposition 1, to protect Seattle’s transit system and continue the improvements of HarborView Medical Center. 

The Watchdog will continue to report election updates as they are confirmed.