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Rep. Kim Schrier leads Republican in Washington's 8th District

Election 2022 House
Ted S. Warren
Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., right, talks with emergency preparedness volunteers, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, at a community event on Election Day in Issaquah, Wash., east of Seattle.

Election night vote tallies show Democratic U.S. Representative Kim Schrier leading her Republican opponent, Matt Larkin, by less than seven percentage points in the race to represent Washington’s 8th District. The Sammamish Democrat had 52.7% and the Woodinville Republican 47% on election night.

Larkin said at the state Republican party’s election night party in Bellevue that he still believes he’ll win.

“There’s still energy in this room, I can feel it,” Larkin said to supporters. “We are right in this thing. We are right where we want to be – in the pocket of victory, where we can actually still win this.”

The 8th District is one of Washington’s only swing districts, and a key battleground for Democrats hoping to keep hold of the U.S. House and Republicans hoping to flip it. It stretches from King County’s Eastside over the mountains to Wenatchee.

And it could end up being the closest Congressional race in the state: Schrier is the first Democrat who’s ever been elected from the 8th District, which used to always elect moderate Republicans. This is her first reelection bid with a Democrat president in office, a time when Democrats tend to do poorly. Cook Political Report categorized the race as a “toss-up.”

Schrier got less than 48% in the primary but has since raised far more than her opponent: $8.7 million to his $2.3 million, though a Republican PAC has spent almost $3 million more against her.

Schrier, a pediatrician, has campaigned on her bipartisan record and the more than a dozen bills she’s gotten signed into law by former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. She emphasized she’s the only doctor in the U.S. House who supports the right to abortion, and highlighted her opponent’s anti-abortion views in many attack ads.

Larkin, who works as legal counsel for his family’s business, has focused on rising crime in many of Washington’s cities, running with the slogan “Make Crime Illegal Again” and criticizing many of state Democrats’ efforts to reform police use of force and limit prison penalties for substance users. He’s gotten endorsements from many law enforcement leaders.

Democrats in key Congressional races were leading across the board in election night returns, eliciting groans and boos from the large Republican crowd at the Bellevue Hyatt. But speakers reminded attendees that later returns often tend to lean right in Washington.

Washington State Republican Party chair Caleb Heimlich reminded attendees that likely only half of votes have been counted – around 35% of the registered voters’ ballots in Washington, in a midterm that’s expected to have over 70% turnout.

Scott Greenstone started off working at his community college newspaper before interning at NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered and covering homelessness for The Seattle Times. He co-produced the “Outsiders” podcast with KNKX, which was named one of TIME’s top 10 podcasts of 2020.
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