Incumbents take leads in District 35

Republicans, centrist Democrat appear to hold off progressive challengers with vote counting to resume Wednesday.

In Washington’s 35th Legislative District, three incumbents held leads late Tuesday night with an estimated 5,800 ballots left to count in Mason County.

Officials will resume counting Wednesday at 4 p.m., according to the county auditor’s office.

In the Senate, 20-year incumbent Tim Sheldon – the longest serving member of the Legislature – ended the night with a 1,950-vote lead over progressive challenger Irene Bowling. Running for the second time in four years, Bowling, a 61-year-old music teacher, challenged Sheldon from the left on issues like gun control and a capital gains tax, which she supports.

Sheldon, a centrist Democrat who said he will advocate for expanding broadband internet in rural areas and oppose new taxes if elected for another term, expressed confidence in the result Tuesday night.

“I don’t think the votes yet to be counted will change the outcome,” he said.

“She ran a very grassroots campaign,” he added, of his opponent Bowling. “The progressives were very energized.”

For her part, Bowling said she spent election night at home with her family and campaign manager, and would await the final count.

“I knew going in it would be tough running against a person who has a formula down,” she said, “running as a Democrat, but voting as Republican.

“I’m very happy with the campaign that we ran. We’re going to wait until all the votes are in.”

Bowling secured 47.6 percent of the vote to Sheldon’s 52.4 percent on election day. In total, 41,196 votes were counted.

The 35th District is mostly rural, including Mason County and parts of Thurston and Kitsap counties.

In the House, Republican incumbents held leads at nights’ end.

Navy veteran Drew C. MacEwen, a three-term incumbent, led Democratic challenger David Daggett by 1,297 votes. Republican Dan Griffey, a professional firefighter, held a commanding 6,654-vote lead over small business owner James Thomas.

With thousands of votes left to count, MacEwen may not be entirely safe. In the August primary, he beat Daggett, a retired Boeing engineer, by fewer than 150 votes in the primary election.