Challengers overperform in 9th District, but not enough to win

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The majority of votes are in from Tuesday’s primary, and challengers are outperforming in the 9th Legislative District, where two Republican incumbents vie to retain their seats in the Washington state House. Challengers still lagged significantly behind incumbents, though, despite a narrowed margin compared to past elections.

Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, and Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, gained clear leads in their respective races as results rolled in.

Political freshman Matthew Sutherland, a Democrat who bowed out of a bid for the 5th Congressional District to make way for Lisa Brown, did significantly better than previous challengers for the seat currently held by Schmick. With about 41 percent of the vote, Sutherland still earned about 18 points less than the seat’s incumbent.

The last contested election for Schmick’s seat was in 2010, when the legislator won almost 72 percent of the vote in a primary against another Republican, Glen Stockwell. Schmick ran unopposed in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

2018 marks the second race between Dye and her challenger, Jenn Goulet for the seat Dye first won two years ago. Comparisons between Dye’s 2018 and 2016 primary elections are unreliable, as the 2016 election was a three-way race with two Republicans and one Democrat.

Though Dye only earned around 57 percent in that primary, another Republican earned over 12 percent. In the 2016 general election, in a head-to-head Goulet, Dye earned over 66 percent of the vote, while Goulet earned over 33 percent.

In Tuesday’s primary, Dye earned around 62 percent of the vote, while Goulet earned about 38 percent.

Though percentages can shift between primary and general elections, it is rare in this region for margins to sway by more than a handful of points.

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