OLYMPIA – A new secretary of state, a concession in the U.S. Senate race and a congressional seat still too close to call.
Thursday brought another round of election results as counties continue to count ballots turned in during the final days of the election.
Some results are now finalized, but a number of other races are still too close to call.
Auditors anticipated a number of last-minute ballots this election, which means it could take days before results are finalized as counties continue to process votes.
Here’s where things stand in a number of key statewide races:
Secretary of State
Moderate Democrat Steve Hobbs will be Washington’s next secretary of state, the first time a Democrat has been elected to the position in almost six decades.
Nonpartisan opponent Julie Anderson, Pierce County Auditor, conceded after Thursday’s count, which put her 2.5% behind Hobbs.
As of Thursday, Hobbs finished with 49.4% of the vote, while Anderson had about 46.9%. About 3% of the vote went to a write-in candidates, though the secretary of state’s office does not report write-ins. Republicans had put their support behind write-in candidate Brad Klippert for secretary of state.
“I knew this would be a tough race but believed strongly it needed to be run,” Anderson said in a statement Thursday. “Voters deserved to have the choice of an experienced elections administrator – without party strings attached.”
She said she stands ready to assist the Office of the Secretary of State in any way she can and encouraged her supporters to do the same.
At a state Democrats election night watch party on Tuesday, Hobbs said there was no way he could have achieved the numbers he did without Democrats’ help.
“I can’t believe I’m here right now,” he said. “This is your victory. This is your win.”
Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley conceded late Wednesday in the race against 30-year Democrat incumbent Sen. Patty Murray.
Despite high hopes from Republicans, Smiley finished behind Murray by about 13 percentage points. As of Thursday, Murray had almost 56.4%, compared to Smiley’s 43.4%.
In a statement from her campaign, Smiley, a veterans advocate from Pasco, congratulated Murray on her victory after “a hard-fought race.”
“This race was never about me,” Smiley said. “It was about the amazing people of this state and I will never stop fighting and advocating for them.”
On Wednesday, Murray thanked her supporters on Twitter for her re-election, calling it the “honor of her life” to serve the people of Washington.
“I’ll keep fighting with all I’ve got for our state – to lower costs for families, to finally fix our child care crisis, to protect the right to abortion, and so much more,” she wrote.
Two of the most closely watched congressional races in Washington are still too close to call as of Thursday.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez was still leading Republican Joe Kent, though the gap had closed as counties reported large ballot counts on Thursday.
Gluesenkamp Perez, an auto shop owner from Skamania County, had 50.9%, while Trump-endorsed Kent, former Green Beret and CIA operative, had 48.6%. After Thursday’s count, Gluesenkamp Perez’s lead shrunk to about 5,880 votes. Her lead was about 11,100 on election night.
In the 8th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier beat her Republican opponent Matt Larkin, as of Thursday.
Schrier had 52% of the vote while Larkin had 47.7%, finalizing her win. After Thursday’s results, Schrier led by about 10,900 votes, compared to about 11,100 on Tuesday.
Both races could help decide which party controls Congress in the next two years. Control of the Senate and House were still unclear as of Thursday as a number of key races across the country were still too close to call.
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