If the Republicans unseat Democrat Carol Gregory on Tuesday, they'll only need two more seats to flip the Washington House of Representatives
Tuesday brings us two-dozen special elections
to state legislatures across the country. As your humble state legislative special election correspondent, I have combed through these elections and summarized the 15 that have at least one Democrat and one Republican running. Also on the ballot, as seen in the link above, are three contests between members of the same party, three primaries, and three uncontested elections. The 15 of interest are below; I will update the diary after Election Day to give you the winners.
• Washington HD-30B: We'll start with what is probably the most consequential contest. This is an open Democratic seat located in Federal Way, south of Seattle. The candidates are Democrat Carol Gregory, who was appointed to the seat, and Republican Teri Hickel, a former employee of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce.
In the all-party primary, Hickel edged out Gregory by a 52-48 margin, so Gregory will have to make up some ground in the general. This seat went 59-39 for President Obama in 2012, but the district's other two state legislators are both Republicans. Democrats only have a narrow 51 to 47 majority in the Washington House, and the GOP badly wants a pickup here. A win for the Republicans would put them just one seat away from tying the Democrats in 2016, and only two seats away from taking control of the chamber.
Head below the fold for a look at the other races to watch.
• Georgia SD-43: This is an open Democratic seat in the Atlanta suburbs. There are nine, count 'em, nine candidates for this seat. The Democrats are Tonya Anderson, Sharon Griffin Sawyer, Marcus Jordan, Rodney Upton, and Stan Williams. The Republicans running are Diane Adoma, Bill Kennedy, and Janice Van Ness. Also running is an independent, Angela Moore. Of the nine, only one currently holds elected office: Tonya Anderson is a two-term state representative.
Oddly enough, Upton and Adoma have both run for office before, but for the other side. Upton twice ran for the state House as a Republican, while Adoma ran for the state House in 2014 as a Democrat. This seat went 72-28 for Obama in 2012, so a Republican win is unlikely. Under Georgia special election law, the top two finishers, regardless of party, will advance to a runoff if no one takes a majority.
Result - Runoff between Van Ness and Anderson: Van Ness (R) 38, Anderson (D) 25, Williams (D) 14, everyone else in single digits.
• Maine HD-19: This is an open Democratic seat in Sanford, located in the southern end of the state. The Democratic candidate is Jean Noon, the widow of the previous representative. The Republican candidate is Matthew Harrington, who ran for this seat in 2014 and lost 52-48. Also on the ballot is independent Victor DiGregorio, a member of the Sanford City Council. This seat went 58-40 for Obama.
Result - Republican Pickup: Harrington (R) 48, Noon (D) 45, DiGregorio (I) 7.
• Maine HD-23: This is an open Democratic seat northwest of Portland. The Democratic nominee here is Lynn Olson, the owner of a consulting firm and a former dean at St. Joseph's College. The Republican nominee is Lester Ordway, who ran for this seat in 2014 and lost 48-44. Also on the ballot is independent Philip Pomerleau, a former member of the Standish Town Council, and Green Party nominee Michael Wakefield, who took 8 percent here in 2014. (Wakefield also ran for the state House in 2010 and 2012.) Obama won 51-47 here.
Result - Republican Pickup: Ordway (R) 41, Olson (D) 32, Pomerleau (I) 22, Wakefield (G) 5.
• Massachusetts Senate, 2nd Plymouth & Bristol: This is an open Democratic seat located in the Brockton area. The candidates are Democrat Michael Brady and Republican Geoff Diehl, both of whom are state representatives. This seat went 59-40 for Obama, but both parties are working hard to win here. While a GOP pickup would leave Team Blue with a 33 to 7 supermajority, the Republicans want to prove to potential candidates that they can win other tough legislative seats.
Incidentally, Massachusetts really needs to come up with a better numbering scheme for their cross-county border districts. The 2nd Plymouth & Bristol district is not the same as the 2nd Bristol & Plymouth district, which is located down in New Bedford.
Result - Democratic Hold: Brady (D) 58, Diehl (R) 42
• Missouri HD-29: This is an open Republican seat in the Kansas City suburbs. The candidates are Democrat Rory Rowland, a consultant; Republican Brian DeMoss, owner of a security business; and Constitution Party candidate Richard McKie, who ran for the Jackson County legislature in 2014 and pulled in 5 percent of the vote. At 50-48 Obama, this is the only seat in the state House that voted for the president and for a Republican representative.
Result - Democratic Pickup: Rowland (D) 58, DeMoss (R) 36, McKie (C) 5
• Missouri HD-36: This is an open Democratic seat located in Kansas City. The candidates are Democrat Daron McGee, who works for Jackson County; Republican Nola Wood, a perennial candidate who has run for the state House three times and the state Senate once; Libertarian Timothy Peterman, who appears to have run for the House way back in 2000; and independent Mary Ann Drape, an attorney. This seat went 65-34 for Obama.
Result - Democratic Hold: McGee (D) 57, Wood (R) 25, Drape (I) 17, Peterman (L) 1
• Missouri HD-89: This is an open Republican seat in St. Louis County, centered in Town and Country. The candidates are Democrat Al Gerber, who ran for this seat in 2014 and lost 66-34, and Republican Dean Plocher, an attorney. This seat went 65-34 for Mitt Romney in 2012.
Result - Republican Hold: Plocher (R) 60, Gerber (D) 40
• New York SD-19: This is an open Democratic seat in Brooklyn, taking in Canarsie and East New York. The Democratic nominee is Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud, while the Republican nominee is Jeffrey Ferretti, who ran against Persaud in 2014 and lost 74-26. Also on the ballot is Conservative Party candidate Elias Weir, who ran for this seat in 2014 and 2012. This seat went 89-11 for Obama.
Result - Democratic Hold: Persaud (D) 88, Ferretti (R) 9, Weir (Cons) 3
• New York SD-52: This is an open Republican seat located in the Binghamton area. The Democrats chose Barbara Fiala, the state's former DMV commissioner, while Republicans nominated Broome County Undersheriff Fred Akshar. This district narrowly voted for Obama in 2012, but don't expect a pickup here: A recent Siena poll gave Akshar an insane 72-20 lead.
Result - Republican Hold: Akshar (R) 79, Fiala (D) 21
• New York AD-29: This is an open Democratic seat in Queens, taking in parts of Jamaica, Laurelton, and St. Albans. The Democratic candidate here is Alicia Hyndman, the former president of Community Education Council 29. The Republican candidate is Scherie Murray, who ran for the city council in 2013 and lost 92-5. This seat went 97-3 for Obama.
Result - Democratic Hold: Hyndman (D) 93, Murray (R) 7
• New York AD-46: This is an open Democratic seat in Brooklyn, spanning parts of Bay Ridge, Coney Island, and Dyker Heights. The Democratic nominee is former corrections officer Pamela Harris, while the Republican nominee is Lucretia Regina-Potter, who ran for this seat in 2014 and 2012, failing to win the primary either time. This seat went 57-42 for Obama.
Result - Democratic Hold: Harris (D) 63, Regina-Potter (R) 37
• New York AD-128: This is an open Democratic seat taking in parts of Syracuse and its suburbs. The Democratic candidate is Syracuse City Councilor Pamela Hunter, while the Republican candidate is John Sharon, who has run for this seat in the past three cycles (and got closest in 2014, losing 57-43). Also on the ballot is Conservative Party candidate David Stott, who ran in the Democratic primary and got 18 percent of the vote. This seat backed Obama 67-31.
Result - Democratic Hold: Hunter (D) 54, Sharon (R) 36, Stott (Cons) 10
• Pennsylvania SD-37: This is an open Democratic seat in the Pittsburgh suburbs. Democrats nominated Heather Arnett, a nonprofit executive, while Republicans nominated Guy Reschenthaler, a former magisterial district judge. This seat went 56-43 for Mitt Romney in 2012.
Result - Republican Pickup: Reschenthaler (R) 54, Arnett (D) 46
• Texas HD-118: This open Democratic seat includes parts of San Antonio and its suburbs. There are six candidates running in the open primary, including three Democrats: former school trustee Anthony Alcoser; Gabe Farias, whose father represented this seat until he decided to resign; and Harlendale board member Thomas Uresti, whose brother is a state senator. Also running are three Republicans: 2012 nominee Robert Casias (who lost 60-40); 2010 state House candidate Michael Holdman (who lost 61-39); and retired firefighter John Lujan. If no candidate receives a majority, the top two finishers go to a runoff. This seat went 55-43 for Obama in 2012.
Result - Runoff between Lujan and Uresti: Lujan (R) 25, Uresti (D) 25, Farias (D) 21, Alcoser (D) 14, Holdman (R) 10, Casias (R) 5