Katherine Pecora, Staff Writer
It has been two years since the most recent presidential election. With the midterm elections over and done with, much of the country has seen changes in their representation in congress. In Washington, there were some interesting outcomes from this year’s election. Democrats gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the midterms, whereas Republicans increased their majority in the U.S. Senate.
Before the election, some political commentators spoke about the idea of a “blue wave,” taking hold in the midterm elections. The national trend was more split in the actual results, with a “blue wave” striking the majority of suburban areas, anda “red wave” conquered the majority of rural areas of the country.
Most notably, the eigth congressional district of Washington was considered a tossup race. Democrat Kim Schrier, M.D. ran against Republican Dino Rossi. Schrier squeaked by with 52.6 percent of the vote, flipping a previously Republican-held district democratic for the first time since the district was created in 1983. In Washington’s first congressional district, incumbent Democrat Susan DelBene clinched her seat for another two years. In the second district, Democratic incumbent, Rick Larson won with a resounding 71 percent of the vote, whereas his challenger only took 28 percent. In the third district Republican incumbent Jamie Herrera Beutler won re-election. In the forth district Republican incumbent Dan Newhouse won re-election, increasing his percentage of the vote from 58 percent in 2016 to a whopping 64 percent. After a hard-fought campaign by the democratic challenger Lisa Brown, the fifth congressional district will stay red and will be held by Republican incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers. In the sixth district, Democratic Incumbent Derek Kilmer won re-election with a convincing 63 percent of the vote. In the seventh district, left-wing Democratic incumbent Pramila Jayapal was re-elected. Incumbents Adam Smith and Denny Heck were re-elected in the ninth and tenth districts, respectively.
In the Senate, incumbent Maria Cantwell won re-election against Republican challenger Susan Hutchison 58.7 percent to Hutchison’s 41.3 percent.
One notable initiate on the ballot this year was Initiative 1631. Initiative 1631 was intended to hold companies that pollute in Washington accountable for the environmental and health effects their pollution has and will cause. Critics noted that the initiative exempted eight of the twelve largest polluters in the state, would have given all funds raised to an unelected commission with no mandate on how to spend the tax money, and unlike the 2016 carbon tax initiative, provided no relief to low and middle income families who would see their electric bills rise by an average of 2 percent. The initiative failed, but it showed a greater disconnect between what voters want and how they vote. According to a Washington exit poll from the Seattle Times: “By 73 to 27 percent, Washington state voters told an exit poll (actually a phone survey of 4,368 voters here) that they are “very or somewhat concerned” about climate change. So that’s an enormous 46-point advantage for the climate-change team built in among the electorate. Yet this same electorate voted down the climate-change initiative by 13 points, 43 percent to 57 percent (after also voting down a similar carbon-tax measure in 2016).” This data shows that Washington voters support doing something about climate change, but want initiatives that actually address the issues.