Pam Roach’s colorful career can continue for another four years.
And that would make her the longest-serving female state senator Washington has had.
Roach has a 53-47 margin of victory after several rounds of ballot counting, and her opponent, fellow Republican Cathy Dahlquist, said she called Roach to concede.
Their last interaction, as Dahlquist describes it, fit the tone of the race. “I started talking, and she hung up,” Enumclaw Rep. Dahlquist said.
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As with so many things in this race, this account is disputed.
“Dalquits has not called to say anything to me,” Roach wrote in an email, using a misspelling of Dahlquist’s name that Roach uses among other pejoratives for her opponent. “She has my email and has not emailed. She has a problem telling the truth. She would NEVER call to concede.”
A screenshot of Dahlquist’s phone shows she called Roach’s home near Auburn on Thursday.
Roach said she hasn’t been at home in weeks because she’s been living in Sumner during campaign season. Dahlquist was incredulous at the denial, writing that she had been “determined to be the better person and do the right thing; it’s precisely how I ran my campaign the entire race.”
In an earlier interview, Roach was alternately thankful and angry about the campaign that won her a seventh term.
She credited voters for noticing she’s “working at home as well as representing them in Olympia” – focusing on intensely local issues such as stopping roundabouts in Enumclaw — while also complaining about the “two-on-one” attacks on her by Dahlquist and her ally Rep. Chris Hurst.
Their campaign, Roach said, was “concentrated on badmouthing me and saying they were friends.”
Indeed, Dahlquist and Hurst talked about their bipartisan cooperation while describing Roach as unstable and mentally ill and suggesting she sided with enemies of the United States. Roach did some badmouthing of her own, slamming Dahlquist for resigning a committee post and working with Democrat Hurst.
Ironically, groups that usually back Democrats were as responsible as anyone for Roach’s re-election. Unions and trial lawyers made independent appeals on her behalf.
Dahlquist blamed her loss on Roach’s advantage in spending, fueled by those groups. “It’s probably the only race that labor won, I’d say,” Dahlquist said.
If they agree on anything, it’s that the race was vicious.
Dahlquist noted an anonymous website shows a picture of her next to an infamous picture of the late Michael Jackson dangling a baby off a balcony. The caption is “abandoning our future generation.”