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A Republican joins the hunt for Washington congressional seat

A close headshot of a man wearing grey suit and blue dress shit with a grey background.
Campaign of Drew MacEwen
Washington State Source
Republican state Sen. Drew MacEwen of Shelton will seek to win the 6th Congressional District seat in 2024.

It’s been 60 years since a Republican represented the 6th Congressional District in Western Washington.

Republican state Sen. Drew MacEwen is looking to end the party’s losing streak after formally entering the race to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer when he retires next year.

“Voters are concerned on many fronts,” MacEwen said. “They feel left behind and I want to make sure the voices of the hard-working people in the district are heard.”

There are many issues on which to focus, he said. Inflation has taken a toll on families, the education system is beset with challenges in need of addressing and a growing threat to our national security all weighs heavily on residents’ minds, he added.

The Shelton resident points to his political history and the district’s evolving partisan contours as evidence a Republican win is possible.

MacEwen was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2012, capturing a post that he said had not been held by a Republican in 80 years.

A decade later he won his current seat in the state Senate, succeeding a Democrat who had held it for 26 years. MacEwen represents the 35th Legislative District comprising all of Mason County and parts of Thurston and Kitsap counties.

Republicans have gained seats in recent years in the neighboring 19th and 26th legislative districts, he said. These are partially or fully within the 6th Congressional District, which includes the Olympic Peninsula, the Kitsap Peninsula and much of Tacoma.

“It is trending our way,” he said Friday.

MacEwen is the only announced GOP candidate. Three Democrats – Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franzof Grays Harbor, state Sen. Emily Randall of Bremerton and Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean of Port Townsend – launched campaigns in recent weeks.

Randall responded to MacEwen’s entry with a fundraising email, saying he opposed abortion rights, same-sex marriage and voting by mail.

If he wins, she wrote, “it wouldn’t just be a disaster for the district — it would severely undermine our chances of taking back the House in 2024.”

MacEwen said he was “disappointed” in the tone of his Senate colleague’s email.

While he does oppose abortion, voters in Washington passed an initiative to legalize it and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year made it an issue for individual states to decide, he said.

“It would be contrary to that court ruling for the federal government to weigh in,” he said.

MacEwen distanced himself from the party’s potential presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump.

“I have an 11-year track record in the Legislature. I have my own brand,” he said. “I don’t walk in lockstep with anybody.”

MacEwen, who served six years in the Navy submarine force, is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy, Environment, and Technology Committee.

He founded Falcon Financial, Inc., where he works as an investment manager, and is a managing partner of 1889 Prime Steakhouse in downtown Olympia.

Kilmer announced in November that he would not seek a seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

Washington State Standard is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Washington State Standard maintains editorial independence.

Jerry Cornfield is a reporter at the Washington State Standard. He joined the Standard after 20 years covering Olympia statehouse news for The Everett Herald.