Washington conservatives earmark victories in 2021 election for midterm ‘big red wave’

Nov 4, 2021, 11:39 AM | Updated: Nov 5, 2021, 7:17 am
Seattle election results...
Seattle candidates Bruce Harrell, Ann Davison, and Sara Nelson. (Photo credits: AP, campaign courtesy photos)
(Photo credits: AP, campaign courtesy photos)

Some viewed what was on the ballot Tuesday to be a referendum on defunding the police, which appeared to be largely rejected by Washington voters. That the electorate denounced a political position that has defined the left in recent months has conservatives already drawing the upcoming midterm election scoreboard in their favor.

“It’s a pretty clear rejection of the radical proposals to defund the police, which is I think [is] very good for our communities. To me, it’s a very clear similarity to what we saw in 2009,” Washington GOP Chairman Caleb Heimlich told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show.

“Remembering 2009, we won the Virginia governor’s race. We won New Jersey. Obviously, didn’t get that this time [but] came very close,” he continued. “I think this sets up very well for a big red wave in 2022.”

Police abolition or calls to defund the police were critical components to several Seattle campaigns: Seattle council candidate Nikkita Oliver and city attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy were both vocal supporters of fundamentally rethinking police and restructuring their budgets accordingly.

Lorena Gonzalez was among those who called to defund the police in the wake of the George Floyd protests which shook Seattle to its core in the summer of 2020. Their more conservative or Republican opponents all have convincing leads as of Nov. 4, although ballots continue to be counted and late returns tend to skew progressive.

“Seattle [is] voting for common sense and seemingly coming back and picking kind of the more moderate candidates,” Heimlich continued.

He went on to break down some of the more granular local elections, which, in his opinion, bear out a similar conservative trend.

Moderate Seattle candidates carry the night, as progressives face steep climb to close gap

“Then we had some real wins in city council races. I would highlight Puyallup City Council, Bellevue City Council. [In] Federal Way, we flipped two seats with Jack Walsh and Jack Dovey. We’re picking up the seats in Spokane City Council and then in Snohomish County,” he said.

Heimlich sees a key indicator of where the state is headed with Snohomish County Council, which elects explicitly partisan candidates. In those races with Republican or Democratic branding, the conservative incumbents increased their victory margins by as much as 10%.

“You had Nate Nehring winning with 70% of the vote, and you compare that to his last reelection four years ago,” Heimlich said. “He won 60% four years ago, so seeing kind of a 10-point swing his way is obviously great news.”

“Sam Low [is] also winning reelection,” Heimlich added. “He’s winning by about 60-40, which is also four or five points better than he did four years ago. I think there are some real trend lines there to show that voters are moving more in the Republican direction, which I think is a very positive sign as we look ahead to next year.”

Those margins are substantial enough that, if indicative of voting trends, they jeopardize critical U.S. congressional seats in midterm elections. Heimlich mentioned the 1st, 6th, and 8th districts, as well as the senate.

“If we see a five-point swing in Washington state, then we easily pick up the eighth congressional district,” Heimlich declared. “If we see a 10-point swing in Washington state, we’re competitive in both the first and the sixth. Looking at New Jersey, if we have that type of a swing in Washington state, Tiffany Smiley is incredibly competitive at that point.”

Smiley will challenge Senator Patty Murray for the U.S. Senate seat in 2022 midterm elections.

“That’s the type of momentum that I think is building with the right candidate sticking to the message that is resonating with the voters, highlighting how the Biden, radical Democrat agenda is not serving them, not representing them,” Heimlich continued.

“I’m really optimistic in Washington state, not only for the eighth congressional district or other congressional races, and then for that U.S. Senate race where we’ve had an incumbent for 30 years that hasn’t done anything for the people of this state,” he said. “We’ve got a great, dynamic candidate in Tiffany. I’m very optimistic as we look ahead to the next year.”

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Washington conservatives earmark victories in 2021 election for midterm ‘big red wave’