OLYMPIA – Republicans have gained another seat in the Washington state Senate, solidifying their control of the upper chamber with the help of two Democrats.
Republican Jan Angel will join the Majority Coalition Caucus next month. The News Tribune of Tacoma reported that Democrat Nathan Schlicher conceded the 26th District race Thursday evening after Angel’s lead over him widened.
Angel held a 52-48 percent lead over Schlicher, leading him by more than 1,500 votes on the third day of counting Thursday. With her victory, the Majority Coalition Caucus now has a two-vote advantage in the Senate.
The race was the most expensive legislative contest in state history, with combined spending of more than $2.9 million.
Murray leaves post
OLYMPIA – Sen. Ed Murray has resigned as leader of the Senate Democrats following his election as mayor of Seattle.
Murray announced Friday that while he was giving up his leadership role, he wasn’t yet resigning from the Senate in order to continue to represent the 43rd District during the special session that started on Thursday.
Sen. David Frockt, of Seattle, has been named interim leader to represent the caucus until Senate Democrats meet later this month to elect a permanent leader.
Murray won the mayoral contest with 54 percent of the vote over current Mayor Mike McGinn, who formally conceded Thursday.
$15 wage initiative
SEATTLE – An initiative to create a $15 minimum wage for many SeaTac workers is close to losing its vote lead.
Updated vote totals released Friday night showed that the measure held just a 43-vote lead. The gap has narrowed since election night, when a 261-vote advantage led proponents of the measure to claim victory.
Because ballots only needed to be postmarked by Tuesday, more votes will be counted in the coming days. King County estimates that it has about 100,000 votes left on hand to tabulate, although only a small number of those would be for the SeaTac race.
The proposal requires a $15 minimum wage for many workers in and around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Proponents say the plan will support the local economy, while opponents express concern about the impacts on businesses.