Democrats’ state Senate effort focuses on a few key GOP incumbents
Democrats are targeting GOP incumbent state Sen. Barbara Bailey of Oak Harbor in the November election. It’s part of an effort to take control of the Washington Senate — the strongest lever of power for Republicans in the state.
OLYMPIA — In their quest to retake the Washington state Senate, Democrats have begun targeting GOP incumbent Sen. Barbara Bailey of Oak Harbor.
It’s an attempt to expand the legislative electoral map and take control of the main lever of power that Republicans hold in Washington. The GOP holds the Senate with a 26-23 majority.
Bailey came to the 10th District seat in 2012, after ousting Democratic Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, with 53 percent of the vote to Haugen’s 47 percent.
But Bailey won this August’s primary election with a smaller majority: 51.5 percent.
Two Democrats split the remaining vote, with Angie Homola, an architect and former Island County commissioner, facing Bailey on the November ballot.
This week, the Washington Senate Democratic Campaign contributed $30,000 to Homola’s campaign, bringing her fundraising total to $131,500.
Bailey, who before her election to the Senate served several terms in the state House, has raised $210,000.
The 10th Legislative District is composed of Island County — which includes Whidbey and Camano islands — as well as parts of Skagit and Snohomish counties.
Adam Bartz, executive director for the Washington Senate Democratic Campaign, said he expected Bailey to perform better in the primary.
Bailey noted that her races in the district have often been competitive.
“I’m used to people running against me,” she said, adding later: “We’re working it very hard.”
Democrats this year have poured money into challenging 41st District incumbent GOP Sen. Steve Litzow of Mercer Island and the 17th District seat in the Vancouver area being vacated by Republican Sen. Don Benton.
Litzow narrowly trailed Democratic challenger Lisa Wellman in the August primary, while in the 17th District, Republican candidate Lynda Wilson beat Democrat Tim Probst by a small margin.
Also on Democrats’ wish list is the 28th District seat held by Republican Sen. Steve O’Ban of University Place. O’Ban pulled 53.6 percent of the vote in the August primary, compared with 46.4 percent for Democratic challenger Marisa Peloquin.
Republicans are targeting Democratic Sen. Mark Mullet of Issaquah, who faces a strong challenge by Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah. Mullet squeezed out a narrow victory in the August primary.
Republicans, meanwhile, are looking to take the state House, where Democrats hold a slender 50-48 margin.