Aug 3, 2022 - News

Schrier leads in WA 8th Congressional District after first counts

U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, stands at a microphone in front of the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, a two-term Democrat. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier is headed to the general election, but who she'll face in November's race for Washington's 8th Congressional District remains unclear following Tuesday's ballot counts in the state's top-two primary.

The latest: Schrier, a two-term Democrat and pediatrician from Issaquah, held a commanding lead Tuesday, with 49.4% of the initial ballot counts from a crowded field that included three Republicans splitting the vote in a tight race for second place.

  • The 8th district straddles the Cascades, represents parts of four counties and includes Seattle's affluent Eastside suburbs.

By the numbers: Aside from Schrier, the three top vote-getters Tuesday included Republicans Matt Larkin, with 15.89%, Reagan Dunn with 15.04% and Jesse Jensen with 12.58%.

  • The top two candidates will advance to the Nov. 8 general election.

The intrigue: Schrier's primary showing as of Tuesday — just short of a 50% majority — typically could signal trouble for an incumbent headed into the general election, especially if all challengers from the major opposing party collectively garner more than half the vote.

Yes, but: The five Republicans challenging Schrier together held just 46.4% of Tuesday's vote as of 9pm.

  • During the 2020 election, Schrier drew 43.3% in a crowded primary, but went on to defend her seat, winning nearly 52% of the vote in November.

What they're saying: Asked if Tuesday's results were better than expected, Schrier told Axios: "I really felt that this was a Republican primary; it was all about which Republican would get picked to run against me."

  • She added that she had "no concern at all" about being unable to break the 50% mark.
  • J.T. Wilcox, the state House Republican Leader, told Axios that Schrier's failure to capture a majority of votes wasn't a good sign for Democrats and likely would spur the Republican National Committee to focus more attention on flipping the 8th.
  • "An incumbent ought to be able to get 50%," Wilcox said.

Zoom out: All three Republican challengers fighting to advance have taken positions opposing abortion, an issue that may prove decisive in November for a district compromised of slightly more women voters.

  • Dunn, the longtime moderate King County Council member — whose late-mother, Jennifer Dunn, was the district's first elected representative — opposed a county council measure supporting Roe v. Wade — a shift from his past stances.
  • "I believe that abortion is on the ballot in November," Schrier said Tuesday night, after touting herself as the "only pro-choice woman doctor in all of Congress."
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