In the race for District 30 State Senate, Republican incumbent Mark Miloscia is the leading vote-getter so far in the Aug. 7 primary election.
The state Democratic party has been pouring money into this race to oust Miloscia, who has represented his district in the Federal Way area as either a state senator of representative since the late 1990s. Miloscia left the Democratic party to join state Republicans in 2014. He has been vocal about his criticism of lawmakers’ attempt during the 2018 legislative session to exempt themselves from state public disclosure laws, and has been vocal in his support of banning the death penalty.
Miloscia also holds conservative positions on a variety of other issues, such as opposing safe consumption sites and demanding increased accountability from public agencies like Sound Transit.
But state Democrats are keen to flip the seat and have pitted two candidates against him: Federal Way School Board member Claire Wilson – who has 38.6 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election – and paralegal Tirzah Idahosa, who has 13 percent.
Outside groups have also dumped over $447,000 into the race, according to The Seattle Times.
The big question across legislative races for state house is whether the Democrats can maintain their slim majority in State Capitol. After winning control of the state Senate in a special election last year — this gave them a one-vote majority in the Senate to complement their existing two vote majority in the House — Democrats are hoping to maintain their position.
Here are some other notable races that played out in Tuesday’s primary election.
Legislative District 41
In the two contested seats for state representative 41st Legislative District, Republican Navy veteran Tim Cruickshank and Libertarian Nathan Deily ran against incumbent Rep. Tana Senn for position 1, while the open position 2 was fought over by Mercer Island City Councilmember Wendy Weiker, Vietnamese refugee and pharmacist My-Linh Thai, and conservative Bellevue business owner Michael Appleby.
Senn is the leader in position 1 with 63 percent, followed by Cruickshank with nearly 35 percent. In position 2, Thai is leading with 41.6 percent while Appleby has 33 percent and Weiker has 25.3 percent.
The candidates were largely uniform on policy issues. The conservatives backed limiting public spending and taxes and opposed I-1631 (the carbon tax initiative), while the Democratic candidates called for some form of a tax on the wealthy to pay for public services, passing more gun control regulations, and approving the carbon tax.
Legislative District 47
There is a significant variance in the political representation of the 47th Legislative District — which includes parts of Kent, Auburn and Renton — in the State Capitol. The district’s two representative seats are split between Democratic House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan and Republican Rep. Mark Hargrove, while GOP Sen. Joe Fain has walked the line of a conservative-leaning moderate over his past three terms. He’s been endorsed by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility (the most influential gun control lobbying organization in the state) and helped pass a paid family-leave law in 2017 with Democrats.
But this year, Fain is facing down Mona Das, a Covington resident who works in the mortgage business and is calling for a capital gains tax. Fain has 54 percent of the vote in the Aug. 7 primary while Das has about 45 percent. They are the only two candidates in the race and will both advance to the November general.
Legislative District 48
In this Eastside district covering Bellevue and Redmond, Democrat incumbent Sen. Patty Kuderer is being challenged by Rodney Tom, a Democrat who famously began caucusing with Senate Republicans back in 2013 after switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat roughly a decade earlier. He’s now running has a Democrat, and is criticizing Kuderer for supporting raising taxes — such as a capital gains tax, which Kuderer has supported in the past — and lawmakers’ controversial effort last year to exempt themselves from public disclosure laws (this bill was eventually vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee).
Kuderer has 59.2 percent of the vote so far in the Aug. 7 primary, while Tom has 29.8 percent and independent Bill Hirt has 10.9 percent.
As of late July, conservative political groups had spent roughly $193,000 in support of Tom, according to The Seattle Times. It is expected that Tom and Kuderer will advance to the November general election.
Fingerprint identification system levy
On the August 2018 primary ballot was a low-profile yet consequential property tax levy: A 3.5-cent tax levied on property per $1,000 of assessed valuation to fund the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS.
Tuesday’s results show the levy passing with 56 percent of the vote.
AFIS is a digital database that local law enforcement agencies and jail staff use to collect and analyze fingerprints gathered at crime scenes and from suspects to solve cases. The program has been funded by this levy since 1986, and the tax is up for renewal. Without it, King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht says that it will take much longer to solve cases ranging from car theft to homicide.
However, the levy was criticized in the run-up to the primary by civil liberties advocates who argued that the ballot measure would open the door to investment in facial recognition technology. In their defense, county officials argue that any pursuit of using facial recognition programs for law enforcement purposes would be scrutinized by the King County Council before implementation.