2022 Legislative Filing Preview

As the final bills have been signed and the sun has set on the work of the 2022 Washington State Legislative Session, attention quickly turns to the 2022 election. In an even-numbered year such as this, the entire House and half of the Senate is up for reelection. And while it is early and official filing will not begin until May 16, a record number of legislators, particularly Democrats, have announced they will not run for reelection. This creates many open seats statewide.

Democrats in Washington currently hold the Governor’s Mansion, a 16-seat majority in the House, and a seven-seat majority in the Senate. Given midterm history, a national sentiment that the country is on the wrong track (*1), and with recent redistricting (*2) , Democrats could very well lose seats in 2022. Even if Republicans fall short of their goal to take over the Legislature, the result could mean real difficulty in passing Democratic agenda items in 2023 and beyond. All of this is set against the backdrop of potential ballot measures such as repealing the capital gains tax and decriminalizing drug use.

*1 https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/direction_of_country-902.html
*2 https://www.redistricting.wa.gov/final-maps


The legislative landscape in Seattle will undergo several key changes this year due to retirements. Senator Reuven Carlyle (D-36), a fierce climate change advocate will not seek reelection, leaving open his position as chair of the Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee. Representative Noel Frame (D-36) announced her intention to run for the seat, leaving open both her seat and her position as chair of the House Finance Committee. A huge pool of candidates including former Obama administration advisor Julia Reed,
Administrative law judge Jeff Manson, former Forterra project manager Waylon Robert, Alliance for Healthy WA Co-founder Nicole Gomez, and ATHENA Network Co-founder Tyler Crone will be filing

Another Seattle shuffle includes the retirement of Behavioral Health Subcommittee Chair Senator David Frockt (D-46), with Representative Javier Valdez running for his seat, leaving behind his position as chair of the House State Government & Tribal Relations Committee. The House seat left by Valdez has attracted a crowd of Democrats including physicians Dr. Nancy Connolly and Dr. Lelach Rave, Persist PAC founder Melissa Taylor, Disability Rights WA policy director Darya Farivar, and Nina Martinez.

Representative Eileen Cody (D, 34), the formidable Health Care and Wellness Committee chair and one of the longest serving members announced her retirement after the conclusion of the legislative session. Leah Griffin, a librarian who has been involved in sexual assault survivor advocacy and former Seattle Office of Housing Director Emily Alvarado have announced their candidacy for the seat. Both are democrats.

Also in the House, Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley (D-37) will not seek reelection after just one term, citing racism in the House Democratic Caucus.

Seattle Senators Jamie Pedersen (D-43), Rebecca Saldaña (D-37) and Joe Nguyen (D-34) are up for reelection this year, but serious challengers have not emerged.

South King County

South King County will see at least a few new faces this year. Longtime House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-47) has announced he will not run for reelection. Some may remember he has done this once before, mere days into the COVID-19 pandemic. But as a personal favor to Speaker Laurie Jinkins, he stayed on two more years to see the caucus through the worst of the pandemic. Auburn City Councilmember Chris Stearns has announced he will run for Sullivan’s seat. Stearns, a lawyer and the first Native American to serve on the Auburn City Council, served in the Clinton Administration. Republicans will put forward Carmen Goers. Goers, a financial services professional, recently received the 2021 King County Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service. Also in the 47 th , one-term Senator Mona Das (D-47) has announced she will not run again, citing the financial hardship of serving. In the 2018 election, Das beat popular moderate Republican Senator Joe Fain by only 981 votes while he was embroiled in a sexual assault allegation. On the D side, Kent City Councilmember Satwinder Kaur will run for the Senate seat against Kent City Council President Republican Bill Boyce. Ukrainian immigrant Republican Kyle Lyebyedyev has announced his intention to challenge
Representative Debra Entenman (D-47).

There will be an open seat in the 30th with the retirement of Rep. Jesse Johnson who will be staying home to care for his young family. Former Democratic Representative Kristine Reeves has announced she will run, as well as Republican lawyer Ashli Tagoai. Reeves is not the only former member attempting a come-back in the 30th . Former Representative Linda Kochmar is endeavoring to unseat Senator Claire Wilson (D-30). Kochmar, who served the 30th in the House from 2013-2017 and ultimately lost her seat to Representative Mike Pellicciotti, has tried to return to the legislature before but has not been successful.

Senator Phil Fortunato (R-31) is up for reelection this year, attracting Independent challenger Chris Vance. Vance spent two terms in the House and served on the King County Council before becoming the State Republican Party chairman. Vance left the Republican party in 2017.

Senator Karen Keiser (D-33) is also up this year, but credible challengers have not appeared on the scene.

East King County

Both Senator Manka Dhingra (D-45) and Senator Patty Kuderer (D-48) are up for reelection this year. Kuderer has drawn an opponent in veteran campaigner Republican Michelle Darnell.

Everett and the North Sound

Longtime Chair of the powerful House Labor Workplace Standards Committee Representative Mike Sells (D-38) announced his retirement this year. Marysville Councilmember Republican Mark James has announced his candidacy for the seat. On the D side, Representative Emily Wicks’ LA Mary Fosse has announced as well as former City of Everett Marketing Manager Julio Cortes. Also in the 38th , Emily Wicks has decided not to run again, with Republican Gary Kemp vying for the seat. Pakistani immigrant Republican Anita Azariah has announced she will challenge June Robinson (D-38) for the Senate seat.

In the 44th LD , Senator John Lovick (D-44), a veteran campaigner, will face his first election as a Senator but has yet to attract a caucus-backed candidate. Former Republican Representative Mark Harmsworth has announced his intention to challenge newly appointed Representative Brandy Donaghy (D-44). Harmsworth served the 44th in the House from 2014-2019 before the district flipped to elect Democrat, Jared Mead. Economist Ryne Rohla has announced his candidacy for state representative in the 44th but has not yet specified which seat, nor has he specified a party. Rohla is however endorsed by Republicans.

Senator Marko Liias (D-21) is up for reelection this year and has attracted a Republican challenger, Janelle Cass. Senator Jesse Salomon is also up for reelection, but a challenger has not emerged.

Heading north, a close contest is expected in the 10th District with Representative Dave Paul (D-10), the lone Democrat in that district, attracting a Republican challenger in realtor and Filipino immigrant Karen Lesetmoe. In 2020 Paul won by only 738 votes.

In the 39th LD, while not up for reelection, Senator Keith Wagoner (R-39) plans to challenge newly appointed Secretary of State Democrat Steve Hobbs.

Further up the 1-5 corridor, the 42nd district will be home to a few more close races, both in the Senate and in the House. Appointed Senator Simon Sefzik (R-42), the youngest senator on record, will face Representative Sharon Shewmake (D-42) as well as another Republican challenger, farmer Ben Elenbaas. In Washington, voters participate in a top-two primary in August, meaning republican votes will be split between Sefzik and Elenbaas. The top two primary vote earners – whether it be a D/R, D/D, or R/R – will advance to the general election in November. In the 2018 general election, the late Senator Doug Ericksen won by only 46 votes.
Republican Sumas Mayor Kyle Christiansen and Inslee Administration outreach representative Democrat Joe Timmons have announced for Shewmake’s seat. Also in the House, Representative Alicia Rule (D-42) will face a Republican challenger in former police officer Tawsha Thompson.

South Sound

Newly appointed Senator Yasmin Trudeau (D-27) will face her first election this year. This safe Democrat seat is unlikely to attract a credible challenger.

When House Consumer Protection and Business Chair Representative Steve Kirby (D-29) announced his intention to retire this year, Democrat Sharlett Mena quickly announced she would run for the seat. Mena currently works as a policy advisor at the Department of Ecology. Senator Steve Conway (D-29) is up for reelection this year and though many speculate he may retire; he has given no indication.

Republicans are already campaigning hard in the 28th, challenging Representatives Mari Leavitt (D-28) and Dan Bronoske (D-28) with Victor Hogan and Susanna Keilman respectively.

In Olympia, Representative Laurie Dolan (D-22) has said she also will not run again. Former Democratic Representative Beth Doglio announced she will run for the seat.

Kitsap and the Olympic Peninsula

One of the biggest races to watch this season will be between lone Democrat in the 26th district Senator Emily Randall (D-26) and Representative Jesse Young (R-26). In 2018, Randall beat Republican Marty McClendon by only 104 votes. The vacancy in Young’s seat has attracted lawyer and realtor Republican Spencer Hutchins as well as Democrat lawyer Matthew Macklin.

Current longest serving member conservative Democrat Senator Tim Sheldon (D-35) announced his retirement this year. Representative Drew MacEwan (R-35) will be running for Sheldon’s senate seat against Democrat Julianne Gale. The vacancy created by MacEwan’s run for Senate has attracted a crowded field of Republicans, including Green Diamond public affairs manager Patti Case, Lockheed Martin employee Travis Couture, and journalist Selina Shearer. On the D side, former foreign service officer Sandy Kaiser has announced her intention to run.

Republicans have pledged to spend increased resources this year attempting to unseat Democrats in the 24th, with Clallam County Republican Party Chair Sue Forde and retired border patrol agent Matthew Rainwater vying for Representative Mike Chapman’s seat. Brian Pruitt has announced for the other House seat, currently occupied by Representative Steve Tharinger.

Central Washington, Yakima and the Tri-Cities

There may be several new faces in the Tri-Cities next session. Republican Deputy Leader Senator Sharon Brown (R-8) has announced her retirement. Representative Matt Boehnke (R-8) will run for that Senate seat, and Republican realtor April Connors has announced for his House seat. Also in the 8th, Representative Brad Klippert is running for Congress in the 4th congressional district , which may create a vacancy, depending on how his campaign does in the primary and months leading up to it.

Over in the 15th LD, Representative Jeremie Dufault was redistricted and will not be moving to keep his seat. A caucus-backed candidate has not yet emerged. Longtime Senator Jim Honeyford (R- 15) is up for reelection this year. While many speculate the 83-year-old will retire, he has yet to announce. Senator Judy Warnick (R-13) is also up for reelection this year.

Southwest Washington

In the 17th, Representative Vicki Kraft (R-17) is running for Congress in the 3rd, which has created a vacancy Republicans Hannah Joy and Kevin Waters hope to fill. Representative Hoff (R-18) announced his retirement this year, but no caucus-backed candidate has emerged.

Northeast Washington

Representative Bob McCaslin (R-3) announced his retirement to run for Spokane County Auditor. School board director MJ Bolt and Associated Builders and Contractors Inland Pacific Chapter president Suzanne Schmidt are vying for the seat. Both are Republicans.

Senators Shelly Short (R-7) and Jeff Holy (R-6) are also up for reelection this year, but are unlikely to draw credible challengers.

Upcoming Dates

Candidate Filing

  • May 16 – First day to file a declaration of candidacy
  • May 20 – Last day to file a declaration of candidacy

Primary Election

  • July 15 – Start of 18-day voting period (through Election Day). Ballots are mailed in Washington.
  • July 25 – Online and mail registrations must be received 8 days before Election Day. Register to vote in person during business hours and any time before 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  • August 2 – Deadline for Washington State voter registration or updates (in-person only)
  • August 2 – Primary.

General Election

  • October 21 – Start of the 18-day voting period (through Election Day). Ballots are mailed out and Accessible Voting Units (AVUs) are available at voting centers.
  • October 31 – Online and mail registrations must be received 8 days before Election Day. Register to vote in person or during business hours and any time before 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  • November 8 – Deadline for Washington State voter registration or updates (in person only)
  • November 8 – General Election.


Brynn Brady

Ceiba Consulting, Inc.