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State Senate control hinges on tight races

Manuel Valdes Associated Press

SEATTLE – Democrats were holding onto slim leads in three races in King and Snohomish counties that will decide which party controls the state Senate next year, Thursday’s ballot returns showed.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, extended his small lead over Republican challenger Dave Schmidt to about 250 votes. Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, extended his margin to about 630 votes. In the Federal Way-area 30th District, Democratic Sen. Tracey Eide’s lead held steady with more than 660 votes.

Following Tuesday’s initial results, Republicans were hopeful they could take the majority in the Senate. They needed a net gain of seven seats, and are in position to win four seats so far.

But Democrats were holding on to the seats held by Hobbs, Tom and Eide – if barely – and were confident that would be the outcome.

Thursday, though, saw another Democratic concession, further highlighting the changing makeup of the Legislature. Sen. Claudia Kauffman, D-Kent, conceded to Republican Joe Fain. Fain has worked in county government.

“We’re seeing all across the state and the country, it was a tough election year for incumbent Democrats,” she said in a message posted on her campaign website.

Meanwhile, Democrats seemed to have hung on to the majority in the state House. About a dozen races were in the balance after Tuesday, but Republicans were not able to close gaps. The GOP needed 13 seats to take control.

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