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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."

Democrats Could Lose Firm Grip On Washington House

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Democrats have held control of the Washington state House of Representatives for more than a decade. But after Tuesday night’s election that grip could be much less firm.

Republicans are poised to pick up at least two seats in the state House -- and maybe more. Several races are still too close to call.

There are four swing district races where Democratic incumbents are either tied with or trailing their Republican challengers. There’s also a race for an open House seat that’s tied.

If Republicans ultimately prevail in three of these seats that would mean the thinnest Democratic majority in the Washington House in a decade. What would that mean? Democrats might have to scale back some of their ideas such as paid sick leave, a higher minimum wage and climate change legislation.

Of course, both Democrats and Republicans are counting on late-arriving ballots to favor them in these close races. Bottom line: they may be chasing ballots in some of these districts for several days to come.”

Meanwhile, Republicans have picked up a seat in the Washington state Senate. That means the GOP now holds an outright majority in that chamber. Before, a mostly Republican caucus held control with the help of two breakaway Democrats.