If Tuesday’s primary-election results are a preview of the Nov. 5 general election, the state Senate’s mostly Republican ruling coalition will add to its one-vote majority.
Port Orchard Republican Rep. Jan Angel led by a comfortable margin in first-day results in the 26th District Senate race.
But both candidates will advance in the two-way race, and Gig Harbor Democratic Sen. Nathan Schlicher still hopes to keep the Senate seat he won in an appointment last winter that was previously held by Democratic Sen. Derek Kilmer, now a congressman.
Schlicher and his supporters insisted they were encouraged that Schlicher won as many supporters as he did after a short campaign.
The candidates and independent groups supported by the political parties and interest groups have spent more than $700,000 to win the seat, even with a campaign schedule cut short by this year’s extended legislative sessions that ran until June 29.
Although voters are hearing plenty about both of them now, three-term House member Angel entered as the better-known candidate.
“We’ve been here. We’ve worked for people for a while now. And we work hard for them,” she said in an interview Tuesday night. “When somebody calls or sends an email, we get back to them. And I think that builds up over time.”
Schlicher’s glass-half-full argument is that he is cutting into the support of Angel, who won by 18 percentage points in November against a different rival in a much lower-spending House race.
“We’ve closed half the distance in a month. We’ve got three months until the general,” Schlicher, an emergency-room doctor, said in an interview. “This is so doable.”
The 26th is a suburban swing district that runs from the west side of the Tacoma Narrows to Bremerton. Angel was winning in both of the district’s counties. Both candidates said they were surprised to see Angel leading by so much in usually more Democratic territory in Kitsap County and by a smaller margin in a section of Pierce County they said tends more Republican.