All Eyes on WA Legislative Race: Dem Win Would Start Party’s ‘Way Back’

Washington state gun owners who demonstrated on the capitol steps in Olympia earlier this year have much at stake in the upcoming 45th District Senate race. (Dave Workman)

There’s a key political race underway in Washington State that has national implications, and according to the Seattle P-I.com’s veteran political writer Joel Connelly, Democrats who have lost 900 legislative seats around the country over the past eight years look for a win because “Regaining control in Washington would start the party on its way back.”

The Evergreen State Senate has been controlled on the thinnest of margins by the GOP the past few years thanks to one maverick Democrat, Sen. Tim Sheldon, voting with Republicans. Liberal Seattle-based Democrats hate Sheldon and would like to be rid of him, which seems to make him all the more popular with his rural south Hood Canal constituency. But Sheldon’s independence and bipartisan spirit has kept the liberal fringe in check.

According to Connelly’s analysis, if Democrats take control of the State Senate in a race for that state’s 45th District Senate seat between liberal Manka Dhingra and conservative Jinyoung Lee Englund, “They would likely use the majority to press such causes as a carbon tax and capital gains tax on high-income earners, and passed the state’s stalled capital budget.”

What Connelly didn’t mention is just as important to about 2 million Washington residents who are gun owners. With Democrats in control of the Senate, House and governor’s office, the brakes would be off for Seattle-based far left liberals to ramp up their restrictive gun control agenda.

Sheldon is a pro-rights Second Amendment stalwart. Washington has about 590,000 active concealed pistol licenses. That’s something Seattle-based gun prohibitionists would like to change, by reverting back to a “may issue” CPL scheme rather than the “shall issue” standard that has existed since 1983.

Here’s something else Connelly – an unabashed liberal with a keen political eye – wrote that should raise eyebrows across the state, and beyond its borders:

“The stakes couldn’t be higher, which is why the race has already drawn $4 million in ‘independent’ expenditures. Gov. (Jay) Inslee is a partisan Democrat. The Democrats hold the state House of Representatives by a 50-48 margin.”

According to a Myers Research/Strategic Services survey, Dhingra holds a staggering 10-point lead over Englund, who is described as “a protégé of U.S. Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers,” the conservative Republican representing a large chunk of eastern Washington. Seattle liberals dislike her even more than they dislike Sheldon. She represents everything Seattle Democrats can’t stand: She has rural hard-work roots, serves as chair of the House Republican Conference and worked on Donald Trump’s transition team.

Englund has a healthy grassroots following, but Democrats want that Senate seat bad. She trailed Dhingra in the primary, in which independent Parker Harris pulled 7 percent of the vote. Harris has endorsed Dhingra.

There is much at stake, as Connelly wrote. If 45th District conservatives don’t wake up to that soon, they may allow the state to tilt even farther to the left, which could have all kinds of ramifications, from additional gun control including a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” toll roads, a state income tax and much more.


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