Monday, October 08, 2018

Washington U.S. Senate- Race of the Day

29 Days Until Election Day

Washington U.S. Senate

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Blue State (West)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

While large numbers of Republicans exist inland in Washington State, the heavily Democrat voters in the Seattle area of King County have been enough to push the state into the blue column for the past several cycles. No Republican has been elected to the Senate from the state since a GOP reelection in 1994. Six years later, Democrat Maria Cantwell narrowly unseated that Senator. Republicans made a valiant attempt to win the seat back in 2006, but came up far short. The 2012 reelection of Cantwell was a blowout, and this year is trending for perhaps an even larger victory, despite a credible Republican opponent. It just may be that Washington has far more in common with California now and that the GOP is going to be shut out of the Pacific Coast states for the forseeable future.

Cantwell did once lose a reelection campaign. That came in 1994 when the freshman Congresswoman lost to a Republican, during a year where all sorts of Democrats lost their seats in Washington and elsewhere. She left politics for a bit and entered the burgeoning internet industry and became filthy rich in the process. While she would eventually take some financial hits after the internet bubble burst, she had more than enough money to finance a political comeback in 2000.

Throughout her three terms in the Senate, Cantwell has not been as high profile as some of her female colleagues. She has tried to balance a pro-business stance with staunchly liberal social views, in accordance to the prevailing politics in her state. She is the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and remains a reliable vote for her party. In spite of all that,  Cantwell is not someone who has ever seemingly given any thought to running for President.

For the first time, Cantwell will face a female Republican opponent. Like California, Washington now has a jungle primary system in which candidates from all parties run in an August contest, and then the top two finishes face off in November. This year, a whopping 30 candidates ran, but there was never any doubt as to whom the top two finishes would be. While some Democrats ran to Cantwell's left, she easily finished first with 55 percent. Her closest competitor, with 22 points to spare was former state Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison, who was only able to capture 24 percent of the vote. A rough estimate of the total two party vote among major party candidates was something like 60-38, basically mirroring the margin Cantwell had in November of 2012 over her GOP opponent.

Hutchison, who hails from the heavily Democrat Seattle area, would be a strong candidate in some parts of the state, but not statewide at this point. Before entering politics, which included a losing 2009 bid as the Republican nominee for King County Executive, she had a long career in Seattle television news. Hutchison, a high profile reporter and anchorwoman, also won several local Emmys for her writing and producing. She also has a considerable resume of involvement in local philanthropic causes.

At one point, Hutchison might have been considered a more moderate type of Republican, but she has staked out conservative positions in her run against Cantwell and has expressed support for the agenda of Donald Trump. It would be tough for someone serving as state party chief during the 2016 election not to at this point. The issue of tariffs and trade, which used to be a rare issue that Republicans might benefit from in many parts of Washington could be working against the party this year.

Hutchison is seemingly a strong communicator, based on her television and journalistic background, but the polls all show that Cantwell is not threatened in this race and certainly will not be challenged in terms of campaign spending.

U.S. Senate races predicted thus far: 
22 D (12 Safe, 5 Likely, 2 Leans, 3 Tossup)
10 R (3 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Leans, 5 Tossup)

Total with predictions thus far:
45 D (23 holdovers, 12 Safe, 5 Likely, 2 Leans, 3 Tossup)
52 R (42 holdovers, 3 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Leans, 5 Tossup)


At 9:01 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Safe Dem!


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