Can WA Democrat Kim Schrier hold on to swing district in November election?

Sep 3, 2020, 11:18 AM | Updated: Sep 4, 2020, 4:55 am
Kim Schrier leads Dino Rossi by three points in a recent NYT poll...
Rep. Kim Schrier. (AP)

Facing an already-tight race to hold on to her 8th Congressional District seat, Washington Rep. Kim Schrier may very well be dealing with an even tougher road to reelection.

Long-time Washington incumbents facing tight races in November

According to the Center for Politics’ Crystal Ball data, Schrier’s race was recently downgraded from “likely Democratic” to “leans Democratic.”

Schrier pulled in just over 43% of the vote in the August Primary (coincidentally, the same percentage former District 8 challenger Dino Rossi accrued in the Primary before losing to Schrier in 2018’s general election). The next highest vote total was for Republican Jesse Jensen at 20%. Jensen is a military veteran and former Army Ranger, having served on four combat tours. He’s endorsed by former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, as well as Congressmen Dan Crenshaw (Texas), Mike Gallagher (Wisconsin), and Mike Waltz (Florida).

Combined, Republican candidates totaled 49% of the vote in the Primary, while GOP voters outnumbered Democrats by a 51% to 49% margin.

Even so, Schrier is still buoyed by the fact that a majority of her district’s voters are situated within the eastern part of King County. That was the only part of the district she took in 2018, which ultimately proved to be enough to win her the seat over Rossi. The Crystal Ball’s analysis also points to a possible increase in turnout among 8th District voters in King County come the November General Election.

Early Primary election results may indicate tough competition to come

“There were roughly 310,000 votes cast in the 2018 general election, and turnout in a presidential year should be even higher than that,” The Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik described. “Combined, primary turnout in the other four counties was at 85% of their 2018 general election total; King County turnout in WA-8 was only 75% of its 2018 total. So perhaps turnout has more room to grow in King County, which could help Schrier.”

The 8th District is widely regarded as a swing seat in Washington, despite its voters favoring Barack Obama by two points in 2012, and Hillary Clinton by three points in 2019.

“Unlike some of the other districts mentioned above, it does not profile as a district that is moving sharply one direction or the other,” Kondik said.

Prior to Schrier’s 2018 win, former King County Sheriff and Republican Dave Reichert held the seat for 14 years without a major challenge before announcing his retirement.

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Can WA Democrat Kim Schrier hold on to swing district in November election?