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October 29, 2004

Four State Senate Races to Watch

As Tip O'Neill famously remarked, "All politics is local." And this year, some of the most important local politics that will shape the future of Washington are local races for the State Senate. These races that will determine whether the Democrats take back control over the closely divided Senate, and thus affect how easily progressive bills can make it to Chris Gregiore's desk.

So, in that spirit, we present brief rundowns on four of the most closely contested State Senate races, courtesy of Benjamin Lawver of the State Democratic Campaign Committee and the brand-new Washington Bus Project. [Hey, isn't the Washington Bus Project modeled on the Oregon Bus Project, just like Evegreen Politics is modeled on BlueOregon? -- Ed.] These are some of the "below the radar" results we'll be anxiously watching for on "the crawl" beneath the big map showing state after state turning beautiful blue for John Kerry next Tuesday night.

Laurie DolanLaurie Dolan - Spokane - District 6
Two years ago, Laurie Dolan made her first run for political office, and almost won against the most powerful person in the Senate at the time, Majority leader Jim West. Since then, West has been elected Mayor of Spokane and the seat opened up for a special election. West's longtime Legislative Aide, Brian Murray, was appointed to fill the vacant seat and lost in the primary to Republican House member Brad Benson. Benson's politics are so far to the right that several prominent Republicans have come out in support of Laurie including former State Senator Jerry Sailing. A win in this district would be the first for Democrats since 1932.

Brian WeinsteinBrian Weinstein - Mercer Island/Bellevue/Newcastle - LD 41
Brian is mouting the first real challenege to incumbent Jim Horn in this rapidly changing suburban district. [This is the kind of district where we'll find out if Kerry has any coattails - Ed.] Senator Horn has chaired the Senate Transportation Committee and been stedfast in his refusal to consider alternative transportation choices. In a district that includes bridge-dependent Mercer Island, this is a big issue. Brain's out-fundraised Horn, giving him the ability to wage an effective media campaign in addition to grassroots work.

Dave SeabrookDave Seabrook - Parts of Clark and Cowlitz County - LD 18
In this heavily Republican district, Dave almost won a House race two years ago. Coming just over 1,000 votes shy of victory is a testament to the hard work he put in going door-to-door and visiting with voters. In the "off-year" Dave continued this work, registering new voters as he considered a run for the State Senate. After he kicked off his Senate campaign in January, Dave contiued his shoe-leather campaign, visiting over 15,000 homes personally, while his volunteers knocked on another 10,000-plus doors.

Craig PridemoreCraig Pridemore - Vancouver - LD 49
This legislative district is the most heavily Democratic area in the state that has a Republican State Senator (Don Carlson). This, and its rapidly suburbanizing character place it near the top of progressives' "take back" lists. His bland style of horse-trading politics combined with his willingness to vote in lock-step with his party have drawn a formidable opponent in Craig Pridemore.

Craig has been elected County Commissioner twice and has earned endorsements from groups that supported his opponent four years ago, including Washignton Conservation Voters, Vancouver Education Assocition, and the Sierra Club. [Hey, Sierra Club organizer Alison Mielke is taking some time off to run Craig's campaign! -Ed.]

Posted by Jon Stahl on October 29, 2004 at 03:22 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink


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There is a legitimate chance that, with the help of grassroots efforts of groups like the WA & OR Bus Projects, the State Senates of both states might turn this year. That'd be a big deal.

I love the Evergreen Politics site. (I'll chill on the posts now -- I posted one in the wrong place. Keep up the great work.)

Posted by: Jefferson Smith | Oct 29, 2004 3:52:23 PM

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