Two races in Washington state could tip the balance in Congress

By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — With control of Congress potentially at stake, Democratic candidates took the lead Tuesday night in two key races in Washington state. But the state’s mail-in voting system means the final results likely won’t be known for days.

In central Washington’s 8th congressional district, incumbent Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier faced a challenge from Republican Matt Larkin. In the 3rd District in the southwestern part of the state, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez took on Trump-backed Republican Joe Kent, who edged incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the first two primaries. State.

Both races were too early to call.

Herrera Beutler was among those targeted by former President Donald Trump for his impeachment vote following the attack on the US Capitol.

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Washington’s congressional delegation currently includes seven Democrats and three Republicans, and the rest of the seats are considered safe for incumbents, including Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse, who survived a primary challenge in his impeachment vote.

Washington’s 8th Congressional District stretches across the Cascade Mountains, encompassing Seattle’s affluent suburbs populated by tech workers and the farmlands of central Washington. Schrier, a pediatrician, is the only Democrat to hold the seat since the district was established in the early 1980s. She won re-election in 2020 against Army veteran Jesse Jensen. She now faces Larkin, a lawyer and former Washington attorney general candidate who works for the family business, which makes parts for water pipes.

Larkin acknowledges that President Joe Biden was legitimately elected, although he also notes that many people disagree and are frustrated. He hit Schrier on things like inflation, gas prices and crime, saying Democrats’ policies have made all three worse.

Schrier highlighted the results she achieved for the district during her tenure, including securing federal funds for a new bridge in Wenatchee. She also notes that she’s the only pro-choice female doctor in Congress, saying it’s crucial following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Democrats see a chance in the 3rd Congressional District, which Republicans have held for more than a decade. This race pitted an “America First” Republican against a rural Democrat. Herrera Buetler won 22% of the vote in the primary, and which candidate her supporters opted for could be key in determining whether Republicans keep the seat or Democrats score a surprise.

Kent, a former Green Beret who is a regular on conservative cable and podcasts, called for the impeachment of President Joe Biden and an investigation into the 2020 election. He also spoke out against COVID shutdowns and mandates vaccine and called for defunding the FBI after Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was raided for classified documents.

Gluesenkamp Perez – who co-owns an auto shop with her husband just across the border in Portland, Oregon – said that as a small business owner who lives in a rural part of the district, she is more in tune with voters. She supports abortion access and climate change policies, but is also a gun owner who has said she opposes bans on assault rifles, though she supports raising the age of purchase of these weapons to 21 years.

Because ballots don’t have to be postmarked until Election Day or deposited in a drop box by 8 p.m. on election night, it often takes days to find out the final results in tight races. , as ballots arrive at election offices across the county throughout the week.

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