The races for two seats representing the 6th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives remained too close to call on Tuesday night, while incumbents of both parties elsewhere commanded big leads.
Two Democratic newcomers made a strong push to turn this reliably red district blue, but Republican incumbents held on to narrow leads as unofficial results were posted. The district has been a Republican stronghold for the past decade, but both races were expected to be tightly contested in 2020.
House Position 2
Incumbent Rep. Jenny Graham took the lead over Democratic challenger Tom McGarry with 53% of the vote so far to McGarry’s 47%.
Graham’s campaign was tumultuous, but even as her words drew national media attention during the campaign, it was unclear whether local constituents would punish Graham.
In June, she shared a Facebook post that inaccurately described Dr. Anthony Fauci’s position on a potential coronavirus vaccine. The post was flagged as untrue by Facebook.
Then, in September, she faced fallout for threatening an Inlander reporter over a story that outlined how Graham inadvertently shares links to websites that promulgate conspiracy theories.
On Tuesday, KHQ reported that Graham was recovering from COVID-19 and watching the election results in quarantine.
McGarry presented himself to voters as the only “serious” candidate in the race.
He sought to paint Graham as a representative who failed to adequately address the coronavirus pandemic.
House Position 1
State Rep. Mike Volz took an early lead in his bid for a third term in the House of Representatives, but the race was far from decided. Volz had 51% of the vote, compared to 49% for challenger Zack Zappone.
The race between Volz, a Republican, and Zappone, a Democrat, revealed their different views on the role of government.
Volz pointed to his record of opposition to tax increases and a résumé of fiscal responsibility that he believes is in line with the will of 6th District voters.
Zappone, a political newcomer, challenged that voting record and laid out priorities that include ensuring access to health care, investing in transportation infrastructure, and funding the state’s education system.
Zappone’s fight was uphill after the primary election, which Volz won by about 10 percentage points.
Voters in the 4th Legislative District again backed Republicans, but will have one new representative in Olympia.
House Position 1
On election night, the incumbent for the 4th Legislative District, Bob McCaslin, had a commanding lead over challenger Lori Feagan, earning 59% of the vote to Feagan’s 41%.
McCaslin, a Republican, has represented the district since he was elected in 2014. He previously has run for position 2, but switched seats at the last minute when seatmate and longtime ally in the legislature Matt Shea decided not to run for reelection. Feagan had originally planned to run against Shea.
Feagan, a nurse practitioner and Democrat, beat out two Republicans in the primary to face McCaslin in the general election. In the primary, she won about 36% of the vote and he came in first with 38.8% of the vote.
House Position 2
Republican Rob Chase also held a clear lead over opponent and Democrat Lance Gurel on election night in the race for the 4th Legislative District’s second House seat.
Chase had 61% of the vote compared to Gurel’s 39%.
Chase is the former treasurer for Spokane County and had unsuccessfully run for Congress and Spokane County Commissioner in the past. Chase supports making Eastern Washington its own state and was asked to run for the seat by Shea.
Gurel is an accountant who has unsuccessfully campaigned for Spokane Valley City Council.
Incumbent Republican Senator Mike Padden was well ahead with 61% of votes on election night, with challenger and former County Commissioner John Roskelley earning 38%.
Padden has spent decades in elected office, first as a state representative, later as a judge and again as a state senator. Roskelley, a Democrat, renowned mountain climber and advocate for the environment, is also no stranger to politics. He served as a Spokane County Commissioner for nine years and ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the commission in 2012.
Incumbent Democratic Reps. Marcus Riccelli, Timm Ormsby, and Sen. Andy Billig all held sizable leads Tuesday.
House Position 1
Riccelli held a strong lead over challenger Laura Carder, earning 62% of the ballots counted thus far.
Riccelli is poised to win a fifth term representing Spokane in the House of Representatives.
Carder, a Republican who had thrice run unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives, disagreed with Riccelli on the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
House Position 2
Ormsby fared well, earning 64% to challenger Bob Apple’s 35%.
Apple, a longtime member of the Spokane City Council, again sought a seat in the House of Representatives. He ran in 2010 and 2012 but fell short both times.
Ormsby has held the seat since he was first appointed to it in 2003 and now serves as the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
He touted his long legislative record.
Sen. Andy Billig dominated early voting results.
Billig, a Democrat, has represented the district in the Senate since he first won election in 2010. He now serves as the Senate Majority Leader.
Dave Lucas, a Republican, believed the district was ready for a change.
Billig held a lead of 20 percentage points, according to unofficial results, earning 60% of the vote to Lucas’ 40%.
Billig is a co-owner and executive of the Spokane Indians minor league baseball team.
Lucas is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel.
Although he has not won political office, Lucas is not a newcomer to politics. Lucas unsuccessfully challenged Ormsby for the House position in 2018, but opted to run for Senate in 2020.
7th Legislative District House Position 1
Republican state Rep. Jacqueline Maycumber held her onto her seat, according to early election results.
Maycumber earned 69% of the ballots counted thus far, compared to 31% for Democratic challenger Georgia Davenport.
Since her appointment and subsequent win in a 2017 special election, Maycumber has represented the Republican-leaning district that encompasses Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties as well as portions of Spokane County and Okanogan County.
7th Legislative District House Position 2
Longtime Republican state Rep. Joel Kretz was the clear victor in his bid for reelection on Tuesday, winning 73% of the vote.
He faced a political newcomer and independent challenger, JJ Wandler, who earned 26% of the ballots counted.
Kretz touted his record representing rural Eastern Washington while Wandler supported universal health care and increasing taxes on the wealthy.
9th Legislative District House Position 1
Republican incumbent state Rep. Mary Dye appeared to overcome a challenge from Libertarian Brett Borden in her quest for another term representing southeastern Washington.
The results were far from complete, as Adams and Whitman Counties had yet to post a vote tally as of press time.
Dye earned 78% of the ballots counted on Tuesday, compared to 21% for Borden.
Incumbent Rep. Joe Schmick ran unopposed for the district’s other House seat.
9th Legislative District Senate
Republican Sen. Mark Schoesler also appeared to easily win reelection, according to incomplete results.
His Democratic opponent, Jenn Goulet, was on the ballot, but announced after the August primary that she did not want the position.
Schoesler earned 69% of the ballots counted on Tuesday.
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