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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Republican Senate Candidates Enjoy Strong Showing In Washington Primary

Democrats may face an uphill battle in their bid to win back the Washington state Senate. Early primary election returns Tuesday night showed Republicans polling well in several key districts.

Chris Vance, a political handicapper for and and a former Republican Party chair, rattled off a list of Republicans who had well over 50 percent of the vote in the first count.

“I mean Baumgartner 57 percent, Angel 56 percent, O’Ban 56 percent, Miloscia 57 percent, Ericksen 57 percent, Andy Hill 54 percent,” he said, “So the Democrats are going to overcome some big deficits in order to win some seats and get the majority.”

Democrats need a net gain of two seats to win back the Washington Senate. They’re confident of picking up at least one seat. That’s the position currently held by Majority Leader Rodney Tom, a Democrat who joined with Republicans in 2013 to take control of the Washington Senate.

Tom is not running for re-election.