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Cliffhanger over control of state legislature

state capitol and sundial_0.jpg

New batches of mail-in ballots show Republicans are gaining seats in the Washington state House and Senate but it's not known yet which party will control the Legislature.    

Since the initial vote counts from Tuesday's election, Republicans have been optimistic they can seize the state Senate

More ballots were counted Wednesday. Democrats have been soundly defeated in three districts.: east King County's 45th and 47th districts, and Spokane's 6th district.

On Wednesday,  the Spokane Spokesman Review reported  Chris Marr conceded to Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner, who was backed by the Tea Party for the 6th district seat.  Marr has been vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Another four races for the senate remain close. In his WA Ledge blog, KPLU's Austin Jenkins reports the biggest nailbiter is in Snohomish County's 44th district, where incumbent Democrat Steve Hobbs has an 8 vote lead  - among 30,000 cast - over Dave Schmidt, a Republican who once held the seat.    

The GOP needs a net gain of seven seats to take control of the Senate. Pre-election, Democrats held a 31 to 18 advantage.

More than a dozen House races remain in the balance. Republicans appear to have gained six seats after the latest vote counts. The GOP needs a net gain of 13 seats for a House majority, where Democrats have controlled 61-37.

Information from AP included in this post.