Today's ballot drop reflects a small portion of the ~377,000 ballots remaining to be counted statewide as of this morning, according to the Secretary of State's projections, but even the small drop shifted some close races that we're keeping an eye on here at The Stranger's Elections HQ.
Locally, King County Elections spokesperson Halei Watkins said the department will follow this afternoon's drop of between 50,000 and 55,000 ballots with much larger drops tomorrow and Friday. In her estimation, the county has roughly 200,000 ballots left to count after today's drop, with about 80,000 of those coming from within Seattle's city limits.
That's all a long way of saying we're only going to learn a little bit about the full picture of the primary in today's drop, so let's take a tour of how the most anxious candidates should be feeling after the latest round of results.
In Seattle's backyard, King County Councilman Reagan Dunn continues to lag in his quest to overtake former losing Attorney General candidate Matt Larkin. The two Republicans are sweating out what was shaping up to be a photo-finish for second place in the 8th Congressional District race against incumbent Democrat Kim Schrier. Today's ballot drop widened the gap between the two a teeny bit, with Larkin pulling ahead by barely more than a percentage point.
This race featured a delightfully messy primary between the Republicans vying for the privilege of getting buried in EMILY's List PAC mailers in the general election, so we'll keep watch on whether these GOP gremlins find a way to make nice once the dust settles.
Socialist candidates in Washington's safer blue Congressional districts received disappointing primary night results, but some remained optimistic that they'd pull through and advance past the primary. After today's drop, however, Stephanie Gallardo remains more than 6,000 votes behind Doug Basler, the Republican opponent challenging Adam Smith in Bellevue's 9th Congressional District. Gallardo will need an extraordinary shift in the remaining ballots to close that gap.
Similarly, Rebecca Parson in the Olympic Peninsula's 6th Congressional District and Jason Call in northwest WA's 2nd Congressional District failed to meaningfully close the gap against the second-place finishing Republicans in each race. Parsons remains 13.5 points behind, while Call needs to pick up another 4 points in the coming days to remain in the race.
In the state legislative races, it looks like the Republicans may have screwed themselves out of an obvious pickup opportunity in Covington's 47th Legislative District. The open House seat there drew three GOP candidates who collectively earned nearly 46% of the primary night vote.
But because they split their support roughly evenly, the SECB's chosen candidate, Shukri Olow, edged out the top vote-getter among the GOP field, Barry Knowles, by eleven votes to finish second. After this afternoon's drop, Olow grew her lead to a whopping 78 votes. Democrat Chris Stearns, an Auburn City Councilmember, tightened his grip on the top spot with 35% of the vote after today's drop. If that trend holds, the Democrats will have boxed out the GOP from both slots in the general election.
In northwest Washington, one of my former colleagues at the Washington State Democratic Party earned a shout-out by cleaning incumbent Republican Greg Gilday's clock on primary night in the 10th Legislative District. Clyde Shavers, who worked as the Washington Democrats' voter protection director in 2020, leveraged his service in the Navy and boyish good looks to jump out to a 6-point lead last night. We won't get the latest drop for this race until after 5 pm, when I'll update this post, but a 6-point lead for a first-time candidate against a member of the Republicans' House leadership team deserves notice. (Update: as of 5:06 pm, Shavers's lead has grown to 7 points.)
Finally, the Senate Democrats' victory lap last night seems to be holding up in this afternoon's drop. I'll update this post after Kitsap County drops its next batch of ballots at 5 pm to see if Senator Emily Randall's primary night lead of 11 points over her infamously bratty Republican opponent Jesse Young changes significantly (update: it did not, Randall is still up 9 points). All the Republican PAC spending on those misleading ads didn't seem to do much in the rest of the state's competitive seats. Nearly a million dollars in Republican dark money that got effectively lit on fire? That's the only form of carbon pollution we support at The Stranger.