(The Center Square) – Washington State Republican Party Chair Caleb Heimlich sees opportunity in the results of a recent Crosscut/Elway poll indicating in-state voters favor Democrats in spite of an expected red wave that threatens Democrats with sweeping losses in November’s midterm elections.
Even with the popularity of President Joe Biden and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee – both Democrats – declining, the Crosscut/Elway poll showed Washingtonians still prefer blue to red at both the state and national levels.
The poll of 400 registered voters, conducted from July 7-11, showed Democrats holding a 51 to 32 advantage in the generic ballot for Congress. Regarding the Washington State Legislature, 54% of respondents said they planned to vote for Democrats and 34% indicated they will vote for Republicans.
Democrats are the majority party in both chambers of the Legislature.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, garnered 53% support for her re-election, according to the poll, with 33% supporting Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley, and 15% saying they were undecided.
Frustrations with Biden and Inslee at a time of record-breaking inflation and increasing rates of violent crime offer Republicans a chance to make gains in Washington state, according to Heimlich.
“This year our teams of volunteers have knocked on more than 150,000 doors of swing voters and have had direct conversations with more than 30,000 voters,” he said in an email to The Center Square. “By a wide margin, the top two issues identified by the voters we spoke with were inflation and public safety. As the Elway poll showed, voters are frustrated by the failed leadership of President Biden and Governor Inslee.”
Heimlich went on to say, “Republicans have recruited excellent candidates up and down the ballot and we will continue to make the case that new leadership will be better for the voters of Washington state.”
He lambasted the majority party on public safety and the state budget.
“Democrats have failed to keep our communities safe and squandered a $15 Billion budget surplus without reducing taxes,” Heimlich noted. “With the right message and the right candidates I am confident we will flip some seats this year.”
When pressed on specific races he thought Republicans could win, Heimlich named names.
“I believe we have fantastic candidates and opportunities to flip Senate seats in LD [Legislative District] 26 with Jesse Young, LD 47 with Bill Boyce, and LD 30 with Linda Kochmar,” he said. “Republicans are also running strong campaigns in LD 21 with Janelle Cass, LD 45 with Ryika Hooshangi, LD 44 with Jeb Brewer, and LD 38 where we have two Republicans: Anita Azariah and Bernard Moody.”
Heimlich’s enthusiasm for possible Republican gains extended to the House as well.
“In State House races we are working in LD 10, LD 24, LD 42, LD 30, LD 47, LD 03, LD 44, LD 05, LD 38, and others,” he said.
Heimlich knows it’s going to be a Herculean fight to attempt wresting majority control away from Democrats.
“We are contesting every winnable seat on the ballot with quality candidates including former legislators Mark Harmsworth, Chad Magendanz, and Linda Kochmar,” he said.
Harmsworth is running for the Position 1 seat in the 44th Legislative District in the House. He represented the Position 2 seat in the same district in the House from 2015 through 2019.
Magendanz is running for the Position 2 seat in the 5th Legislative District in the House. He held the same seat from 2013 through 2017.
Kochmar, too, is running for the same House Position 1 seat in the 30th Legislative District she held from 2013 through 2017. She lost her re-election bid in 2016.
The primary election is Aug. 2. The general election is Nov. 8.