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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."

Washington House Could Be Sleeper Election Of 2014


The battle for control of the Washington state Senate is getting a lot of attention. But all Washington House members are also up for re-election this year.

Currently Democrats hold 55 seats -- 50 is a majority. In recent years, Republicans have been closing the gap and if they were to pick up two or three more seats, that could amplify the voices of swing-district Democrats.

For the more conservative Democrats, it puts them in the position then of sort of saying ‘Hey, how loyal are we to the Democratic caucus?’

It also puts Democrats in the situation of not being able to let some of their more vulnerable members off the hook for more controversial votes. So it may also limit what Democrats can do in terms of their own agenda.”

There are fewer than ten highly competitive Washington House races this year.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."