From Fuse WA

“I hope you are enjoying the spring sunshine. I wanted to pass along some notes from our Executive Director, Aaron Ostrom, on this year’s “hot races.” The cheat sheet below is a summary of the highest profile campaigns in Washington for the 2022 election. It is not a list of our recommendations for contributions — although I have flagged a few that there is no doubt we will recommend in our Progressive Donor Guide.

Although it will be a very challenging year, I am hopeful about our ability to succeed in Washington with smart strategy and hard work. Inflation and the pandemic have taken a real toll on Biden’s approval rating, compounding a difficult year for Democrats. Our job is to maintain a progessive governing majority in the state legislature, and to defend a Democratic majority if the political climate continues to deteriorate.

If you are looking for ways to engage in national races you may want to check out our Battleground States Fund. We organized the Fund to help our donors maximize the impact and effectiveness of their contributions towards defending Democratic majorities in Congress and strengthening progressive infrastructure in the most important states.

If you have questions about races in Washington or our Battleground States Fund, please feel free to reach out.

Serena, Aaron, Rosey, and the entire team at Fuse


Initiative 1929 – repealing the Capital Gains Tax

  • Conservative interests backed by wealthy donors just filed an initiative to repeal the Capital Gains tax adopted by the Legislature in 2022. The initiative would take $500 million per year from education and child care programs by repealing a tax on the very small number of people in Washington who earn more than $250,000 per year in capital gains. The opposition campaign is coming together rapidly, and there will be a decline to sign campaign. Defeating this initiative will be one of our top priorities this year.

U.S. House Defend – CD 8 | Kim Shrier (D) vs Reagan Dunn (R), Jesse Jensen (R), Matt Larkin (R), Justin Greywolf (I)
(Includes the eastern portions of King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, western portions of Chelan, and Kittitas counties)

  • We must defend Rep. Schrier’s seat to have a shot at maintaining our majority in the US House, and to mitigate the damage if Republicans do regain control. Rep. Kim Schrier is a former physician first elected in 2018. Her strongest opponent is King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn (R), who has good name recognition in the district and has raised a total of $345,000 for his campaign. Justin Greywolf (I), Jesse Jensen (R), and Matt Larkin (R) will also be running in the primary for the House seat. This will be an extremely tough race, and we are strongly encouraging early investments in Rep. Schrier’s campaign as well as our independent expenditure campaign backing her.
  • This is the highly competitive D vs R Congressional race in Washington this year. The other competitive races are Republican primaries in the 4th and 3rd Congressional districts, where US Representatives Newhouse and Herrera Beutler are being challenged from the far right because of their votes to impeach Donald Trump.
  • US Rep. Schrier will be a Must Give in our Progressive Donor Guide when it’s released.

State Senate Defend: LD 26 | Emily Randall (D) vs. Jesse Young (R)
(Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, and a portion of Bremerton)

  • Sen. Emily Randall won her first race in 2018 by 104 votes, and her Republican seatmates in the House won by thousands of votes. She is being challenged by Rep. Jesse Young, who represents the 26th LD in the state House and will be well-funded. Rep. Young is an angry, far right Republican with a terrible voting record on every issue you can imagine. Defending this seat is critical to our ability to maintain a progressive majority in the state Senate.
  • This race will be a Must Give in our Progressive Donor Guide when it comes out.

State Senate Defend – LD 47 | Satwinder Kaur (D) vs. Bill Boyce (R)
(Southeast King County including Kent, Covington, and Auburn)

  • Republicans want to reclaim this seat that Mona Das won by 700 votes in 2018. This seat is critical to maintaining a progressive majority in the state Senate. Senator Das just announced her retirement after one term, and Kent City Council woman Satwinder Kauer is the leading Democrat contending to replace her. It’s possible others could file. They will face Republican Kent City Councilmember Bill Boyce. Boyce is a longtime Boeing employee. He is running on a platform of lowering taxes and reversing recent police reforms.
  • There are also two important House races in the 47th LD, and 54% of the voters in the 47th LD are also in the 8th Congressional District, so every new voter helps us in multiple races.
  • This race will be a Must Give in our Progressive Donor Guide when it comes out.

State Senate Pick Up – LD 42 | Sharon Shewmake (D) versus Ben Elenbaas (R), Simon Sefzik (R), Russ Dzialo (I)
(Rural Whatcom County and NW Bellingham)

  • Rep. Sharon Shewmake is running for the seat held by longtime right wing Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen. He passed away at the end of 2021, after contracting Covid-19 while traveling in El Salvador. Republican Simon Sefzik, a 22 year old with little experience in government, was appointed to replace him. He will be running to retain his seat and will be challenged in the primary by Republican Councty Councilmember Ben Elenbaas and Independent Russ Dzialo. Although this will be a tough race, it is our only opportunity to pick up a state Senate seat this year.
  • There are also two important House races in LD 42 (see below).
  • This race is likely to be a Must Give in our Progressive Donor Guide when it comes out.

State House Defend – LD 10 | Dave Paul (D)
(Island County, SW Skagit Counties, and NW Snohomish)

  • Rep. Dave Paul’s seat is one of the most vulnerable for the state House this year, and defending his seat is important to maintaining a solid majority in the House. His district is a conservative leaning swing district. Paul won by only 730 votes in 2020 and 685 votes in 2018, and the other legislative seats for his district are held by Republicans, Sen. Ron Muzzall and Rep. Gregory Gilday. He is being challenged by a Republican realtor, Karen Lesetmoe.
  • This race is likely to be a Must Give in our Progressive Donor Guide when it comes out.

State House Defend – LD 42 | Alicia Rule (D), vs Tawsha Thompson (R), Kamaldeep Singh Bhachu (R)
(Rural Whatcom County and NW Bellingham)

  • Rep. Alicia Rule is being challenged by Republican Kamal Bachu, who most recently ran unsuccessfully for Whatcom County Council and Republican Tawsha Thompson, a former police officer. In 2020, Rule won with only 51.1% of the vote while Biden had a little over 53% of the vote in her district.
  • This race is likely to be recommended in our Progressive Donor Guide when it comes out.


State House Defends LD 47
(Southeast King County including Kent, Covington, and Auburn)

  • The 47th LD has historically been a Republican leaning swing district, but over the past few cycles it’s been moving to the left and we flipped the district to full Democratic control in 2018. We can’t afford to lose ground in the 47th this year.
  • Rep. Pat Sullivan recently announced that he is retiring from his position 2 seat. Democrats Shukri Olow and Chris Stearns are running to replace him. Others may file as well. Republican candidate Carmen Goers is a viable candidate who is fundraising aggressively.
  • Democratic Rep. Debra Entenman is facing a familiar Republican challenger in Kyle Lyebyedyev, who ran against her and lost in 2020.
  • We will be leveraging the work we’re doing in this district to support our work on the state Senate race and Rep. Kim Schrier’s race.

Secretary of State | Steve Hobbs (D) vs Julie Anderson (other), Keith Wagoner (R), Bob Hagglund (R), Tambourine Borrelli (other), Ty Rosenow (I)

  • Secretary of State Steve Hobbs was appointed by Gov. Jay Insee to replace Kim Wyman in 2021, and he is running to serve the remaining two years of Wyman’s four-year term. Hobbs is the first Democrat in 56 years to serve as the Secretary of State, so this race is likely to be competitive. Prior to his appointment, he served as the very frustrating state Senator for the 44th LD since 2006. He’s likely the best choice in this race, however. Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson is running as an Independent based on her experience in administering elections; she’s off to a significant early fundraising start as well. Republican state Senator Keith Wagoner of the 39th LD is also challenging Hobbs and will run a strong campaign.

Seattle Legislative Districts
There are several open seats in Seattle this year, and they are likely to be quite competitive between Democrats. Our goal is that we elect strong, effective progressives in these safe districts. Seattle’s delegation has too many difficult characters, ineffective legislators, and/or Democrats who are reluctant to challenge powerful business interests. Although Fuse doesn’t usually target Seattle’s progressive vs progressive races, we will evaluate them for the Progessive Voters Guide. This year’s openings include:

  • 46th – Senator David Frockt retired, and Rep. Javier Valdez is running for his seat. He is the favorite against a couple of challengers who are also progressive, Bevin McLeod and Matthew Gross. There is a crowded race for Valdez’s House seat, including: Lelach Rave, Melissa Taylor, Darya Farivar, Nina Martinez, and Nancy Connolly.
  • 36th – Senator Rueven Carlyle retired, and Rep. Noel Frame is running for his seat. There is a crowded race for Frame’s House seat, including: Fuse Board member Julia Reed, Waylon Robert, Nicole Gomez, and Tyler Crone.
  • 37th – First term Rep. Kirsten Harris Talley just announced her retirement, and no one has filed to replace her yet.
  • 34th – Longtime Rep. Eileen Cody retired, and at this point Leah Griffin is the only person who has filed to replace her.

Pierce County Council race – D 7 | Robyn Denson (D), Marty McClendon (R), Randy Boss (R), Josh Harris (R)

  • Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young is termed out this year, and we have to elect a progressive to this open seat to defend our narrow majority on the Pierce County Council. Current Gig Harbor City Councilmember Robyn Denson is a strong Democratic candidate running for the open D7 seat. It appears that her toughest opponent is Republican Josh Harris, based on his connections and ability to bring in big money. He gained some notoriety by bailing out the three police officers involved in the killing of Manuel Ellis. Republicans Marty McClendon and Randy Boss have also filed. They both have both previously run for state and/or local office unsuccessfully, but their campaigns have increased their name recognition in the district. It’s likely to be competitive on the local level in a midterm year, and Democrats and progressives can’t afford to take the race for granted.

Spokane County Commissioner races

  • Spokane County is switching from three commissioners to five due to a new law passed by the state legislature in 2018. Even more importantly, each candidate will only run within their newly created district, whereas the three commissioners used to be elected countywide in the general election. The countywide elections have helped Republicans win all three seats for more than a decade, but now Democrats have a real chance at picking up 2-3 of the seats this year given past election results in these new district lines.


US Senate Defend | Patty Murray (D)

  • Sen. Patty Murray is seeking re-election for her sixth term. Republican Tiffany Smiley is showing to be one of her toughest opponents, both in terms of fundraising and polling. We cannot afford to lose any seats in the Senate and should not take Murray’s re-election for granted.

Defends LD 44 Senate and House races
(Lake Stevens and Snohomish)

  • Sen. John Lovick was appointed to the state Senate to replace Steve Hobbs in 2021, and Rep. Brandy Donaghy was appointed to the House to fill Lovick’s seat. This is both Lovick’s and Donaghy’s first time running for election in their current office, slightly leveling the field for Republicans. This is Rep. April Berg’s first time running for re-election after a close race for an open seat in 2020. Ryne Rohla, who currently works in the Attorney General’s office, is the only Republican that’s filed so far, but we expect to see more enter the race soon. The 44th LD is another district that has been trending blue in recent years, but we can’t take it for granted in a difficult year with majorities on the line. Defending these seats is critical to our ability to maintain progressive majorities in the Legislature.

State Senate Defend – LD 30 | Claire Wilson (D), Linda Kochmar (R), Mark Christie (R)
(S King County and part of Pierce County)

  • The 30th LD was historically a swing district that has been trending Democratic over the past few years. Because this is Sen. Claire Wilson’s first re-election and the climate is so challenging, we will keep an eye on this race. Republican challenger Linda Kochmar has significant name recognition in the 30th LD as the current Federal Way Council President, former Federal Way Mayor, and former state representative.

Defend LD 30 House races
(S King County and part of Pierce County)

  • Rep. Jesse Johnson is not seeking re-election, opening up position 2 in the House for the 30th LD. He has already endorsed progressive Leandra Craft, and former democratic state Rep. Kristine Reeves is also running. Janis Clark is the Republican opponent, and she has run in the past two primaries for the seat. Democratic Rep. Jamila Taylor is also seeking re-election in position 1 and she’s currently running unopposed.

State House Defend – LD 40 | Alex Ramel (D) vs Trevor Smith (D)
(San Juan County, parts of Whatcom and Skagit Counties)

  • The 40th Legislative District is a safe Democratic District. Incumbent Rep. Alex Ramel is a strong progressive leader who is a champion on the environment and other issues. He’s facing an intra-party challenge from the right by Trevor Smith, a local labor leader backed by refinery unions and oil companies. This could be a difficult race if no Republicans file and Smith can draw Republican and independent votes as well as conservative Democrats.

Defend LD 24 House Races
(Clallam and Jefferson County)

  • The 24th Legislative District is the last rural Democratic legislative district in Washington. Senator Kevin Van De Wege is not on the ballot this year, but Representatives Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger are. After flipping the 19th Legislative District (rural southwest Washington) over the last two cycles, Republicans have set their sites on the 24th and will mount vigorous challenges against Chapman and Tharinger.”