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Pierce County could sway state in GOP's favor

Some political watchers have their eyes fixed on Pierce County, where a raft of seats up for grabs in 2014 could flip the balance of the state Senate and House.

David Boze spoke to Pierce County Republican Party Chair Bob Lawrence Monday about an upcoming event to strategize for 2014 races.

"Pierce County is the central area for the entire state to make some big changes," Lawrence told Boze.

Last week, Democratic state Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, said that he would not seek reelection in 2014. Tom was the leader of a Senate coalition made up almost entirely of Republicans, which allowed the majority-Democrat body to, essentially, vote Republican.

While Tom's seat may go to a Democrat who will not side with Republicans as Tom did, races in Pierce County could make up for his absence.

Lawrence said that two seats that are extremely important for Republicans to hold are those of state Sen. Steve O'Ban in the 28th District and Jan Angel in the 26th District. Lawrence said he believes that Republicans can take the 30th District seat, currently held by Democrat Tracey Eide. That seat straddles Pierce and King counties, including communities like Fife and Federal Way, but Eide has said she won't run for reelection.

The Pierce County Council selected O'Ban to replace deceased senator Mike Carrell. This year, O'Ban, who is Boze's brother-in-law, will run his first state senate election campaign, though he did successfully run for the House in 2012.

O'Ban will face five-term state Rep. Tami Green, and some are calling the 28th Senate district the "race of the year." Though voters in the Lakewood area know Green well, the 28th leans Republican.

On top of the Senate races, Lawrence said, there are at least four state House seats Republicans are targeting to flip.

Lawrence also spoke to host Ben Shapiro on Friday. Shapiro wondered how Lawrence was going to turn such a blue county - it voted for Barack Obama overwhelmingly in 2012 and 2008 - red. Lawrence pointed to a trickle of victories for the GOP recently, including that the county voted for former state attorney general Rob McKenna in the 2012 governor's race.

The Pierce County GOP will hold a strategy session "big tent rally" on April 26. Candidates will speak, and the GOP will hold sessions on campaign strategy and tactics like grassroots organizing and social media outreach.

Neal McNamara, Writer, KTTH
Originally from the Northeast, Neal McNamara has worked as a news reporter for more than 10 years at newspapers across the U.S., landing most recently in Seattle.
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