Most legislative incumbents in South King County’s Districts 11, 30, 31, 33 and 47 are well positioned for re-election, although there could be at least one upset. The most competitive races remain in the 30th District in Federal Way with an appointed incumbent and an open seat.
Zack Hudgins, an eight-year incumbent in the state House for position 1 in the 11th District is the only incumbent who appears to be in trouble as he faces a significant challenge from fellow Democrat David Hackney. Hudgins worked for Amazon and Microsoft, while Hackney is a former U.S. Attorney and war crimes prosecutor for the United Nations and is now an attorney for a non-profit worker advocacy organization.
Both have legal training: Hackney from Cornell and Harvard universities, and Hudgins from the University of Washington and Notre Dame. Hackney got the Seattle Times endorsement and appears to be positioning himself to the left of Hudgins. Hackney has raised over $80,000 and Hudgins has raised $120,000 to try and fight off the challenge. But third-place finisher Jay Stark held 19% of the vote in the primary election with no party affiliation. Will Republicans decide the winner? If so, that may help Hudgins. In an upset, the pick is still Hackney.
In District 11’s position 2, Renton school teacher and Democratic incumbent Steve Bergquist carried 70% of the vote in the primary and will prevail over Republican small business owner Sean Atchison.
The 31st District in the Auburn area is Republican, and position 1 incumbent Drew Stokesbary has raised over $250,000, which suggests he may have higher aspirations, and he should break 60% against Democratic opponent Katie Young. In position 2, incumbent Morgan Irwin is not running and his likely successor is former Republican legislator Eric Robertson. Democrat Thomas Clark was endorsed by the Seattle Times in the primary over an issue when Robertson served in the Legislature previously. That may have contributed to another Republican splitting the vote. Robertson should still win in November.
District 33 is Democratic, and incumbents Tina Orwall and Mia Su-Ling Gregerson are expected to easily defeat Republican Kerry French and Libertarian Marliza Melzer, respectively.
District 47 in the Kent area leans Democratic, but was represented in the Senate by a Republican moderate for several years. Both House members are Democrats. Position 1 incumbent Debra Entenman has raised $77,464 to Republican Kyle Lyebyedyev’s $25,872 and led with 57% after the primary. Incumbent Pat Sullivan held a solid lead of 56% over Ted Cooke, and has raised $173,118 to Cooke’s $2,258. Both Entenman and Sullivan should post comfortable wins in November.
District 30 in the Federal Way area has two new candidates after incumbents Kristine Reeves resigned to run for Congress in the 10th District, and Mike Pellicciotti filed for state treasurer. In position 1, Democrat Jamila Taylor led after the primary with 44%, followed by Martin Moore at 27%. Moore was a Democrat, then a Republican, and now an “independent Republican” as he tries to distance himself from President Donald Trump. But unlike the other candidates, Moore won’t tell us who he is voting for in the race for governor.
Moore is in his second term on the Federal Way City Council and has raised $65,761. Taylor is an attorney and small business owner and previously managed legal aid attorneys who assist domestic violence survivors and other crime victims. Taylor’s support appears to be broader as she has raised $169,425. Taylor got the Tacoma News Tribune endorsement, as did Jesse Johnson in District 30 position 2.
Johnson is a former Federal Way City Council member who was appointed to fill Reeves’ seat and is challenged by local businessman Jack Walsh. Johnson took 57 % of the primary vote to Walsh’s 33%, has raised $136,569, and has successfully brought home state dollars in his one legislative session. Walsh has raised $44,871 and has been the backer of two successful advisory ballots to keep pot shops out of Federal Way. Look for Taylor and Johnson to prevail in November.
Other legislative races to watch are an intermural battle between two Democrats in District 5: incumbent State Sen. Mark Mullet and challenger Ingrid Anderson. Mullet is a businessman and Anderson is a nurse. Anderson led by 1% in the primary. Mullet has raised $390,516, and Anderson has raised $187,082 as special interest money is being spent on television commercials in this tight race. Gov. Jay Inslee endorsed Anderson, and the Seattle Times endorsed Mullet. With his money advantage, Mullet should be able to hold on to his job.
Also, keep and eye on the District 28 state representative race in Tacoma between Republican incumbent Steve O’Ban and Democratic challenger T’wina Nobles. Nobles is head of the Tacoma Urban League, is on the Clover Park School Board, and led after the primary 50.2% to 49.6%. This could be the most expensive legislative race of the year. O’Ban has raised $717,295 while Nobles has raised $685,563 — and Democrats think they can flip the seat.
In District 19, in the Longview and Aberdeen area, Democratic incumbent State Sen. Dean Takko could be in trouble. He garnered 44% of the primary vote over Republican Jeff Wilson’s 37%. However, Republican Wes Cormier held 19% that should go to Wilson in November.
In the 10th District Senate race, there is a close battle based on primary election results between incumbent Republican Ron Muzzall at 51% and Democratic challenger Helen Price Johnson at 49%. The area leans Republican. Look for Muzzall to win.
The most controversial ballot measure is Referendum 90 regarding sex education. If approved, it would change the current law by adding language from the Legislature, but if rejected, the law would stay the same. Read your voters’ pamphlet. It’s likely to pass, but turnout is a big factor.
The King County Charter has several amendments to be voted on. Read your local voters’ pamphlet. Here are three major changes:
Charter Amendment 1 clarifies language regarding law enforcement actions on inquests. Hot button issue likely to pass.
Charter Amendment 5 would return the position of sheriff from an elected position to an appointed position. Likely to fail. Voters like electing the sheriff even though it makes the position far more political.
Charter Amendment 6 would restructure the duties of the King County Sheriff, placing more power with the king County Council. Bad policy — should fail.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.