April 2024 Election Update


The campaigns against Brian Heywood-backed initiatives on capital gains (2109), climate (2117) and long term care (2124) are ramping up, attracting major contributions from the progressive community.

At this point, Brian Heywood is financing Let’s Go Washington to the tune of over $4.5 million in loans. Let’s Go Washington is acting as the pro campaign for the three initiatives. How much is spent on each initiative is unable to be determined at this time, but we should begin seeing independent expenditures as we get closer to the election.

Depending on results at the ballot, conservative initiatives may be here to stay, as Republican state party chair and Aberdeen Representative Jim Walsh (R-19) has filed three additional initiatives. If supporters are able to gather and verify enough signatures, the new initiatives may join an already crowded ballot in November. The first new initiative, “No squatters’ rights in WA” speaks to a situation in Bellevue between a renter and a landlord that has attracted a great deal of media attention. Another initiative would roll back Washington’s “sanctuary state” law that bars local law enforcement from asking about immigration status and from sharing information with federal immigration enforcement authorities. The third new initiative would repeal recently passed HB 1589 that advances electrification over natural gas use.

Statewide Races

Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D-37) bowed out of the race for Commissioner of Public Lands after King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove secured the environmental vote with the endorsement of Washington Conservation Action. Saldaña will return to the Senate. Former Senator from the 47th LD Mona Das has also left the race.

Legislative Races

Yakima Redistricting

The 13 legislative districts impacted by the latest redistricting map are eerily quiet still with a few exceptions while candidates make decisions about relocating. Former two-term Republican Representative Jeremie Dufault (R) was redistricted in 2022. He’s back this year in the newly drawn boundaries, running against incumbent Representative Bryan Sandlin (R-15) in the 15th. Dufault, a Harvard Law graduate, is a real estate developer and lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve.

Spokane and Eastern Washington

Longtime legislator Senator Mike Padden (R-4) announced his retirement a few weeks after Sine Die to avoid the long farewell floor speeches. Spokane Valley businessman, Mike Kelly, is vying for his seat. He carries endorsements from Padden and Spokane County Treasurer / former State Senator and current congressional candidate Michael Baumgartner. Representative Leonard Christian (R-4) has also entered the race for Senate seat while the previous holder of Christian’s seat, Rob Chase (R), is trying to reclaim his old seat.

South Sound

Impacts of the latest Yakima redistricting have been felt as far away as the 2nd LD. Orting mayor, presumptive winner, and Wilcox-backed Republican Josh Penner has been redistricted. Orting is now in the 31st. He will continue serving as mayor. This leaves Republican Matthew Marshall in the race for Wilcox’s open seat.

The crowd of Democrats running for Senator Sam Hunt’s open seat in the 22nd has grown with the addition of Representative Bergquist’s LA Democrat Syd Locke.

In the 28th, Senator T’wina Nobles (D-28) has attracted a Republican challenger in Maia Espinoza. Espinoza previously ran for superintendent of public instruction.

Central Puget Sound

In a crowded race of Democrats in the 5th LD, Victoria Hunt has earned Representative Bill Ramos’ endorsement for his old seat as he seeks the Senate position Mullet is vacating. Republican candidate Landon Halvorson has also entered the race. Joining Ramos (D-5) in the bid for Senate are Independent Christian Nelson and Republican Patrick Peacock.


In the 26th, two Republicans have joined Democrat Adison Richards in the battle for Representative Spencer Hutchins’ (R) open seat. Former Representative Jesse Young is attempting to rejoin the legislature. Young gave up his House seat to unsuccessfully challenge Senator Emily Randall (D-26) a few years ago. Young is joined by fellow Republican rental housing advocate Jim Henderson, who has been out campaigning with Representative Michelle Caldier (R-26).


Longtime Senator Ann Rivers (R-18) announced her retirement recently. Rivers was redistricted into the 20th and rather than run against Republican minority leader John Braun, retired. Representative Greg Cheney (R-18) has announced for the seat and is joined by Democrat Battleground Councilmember Adrian Cortes and Republican Brad Benton, son of former Senator Don Benton. The younger Benton previously ran against Greg Cheney for the House seat and lost in the primary. Announced for Cheney’s open seat are Democrat John Zingale and retired Battle Ground mayor Republican Phillip Johnson.

After Representative Paul Harris (R-17) announced for Lynda Wilson’s open Senate seat, two candidates entered the race, Democrat surgical nurse Terri Niles and Republican Washougal mayor David Stuebe. Still perhaps considering the open seat is Representative Gina Mosbrucker (R-14) who was redistricted out of the 14th as part of the grand map revision.

Brynn Brady | Ceiba Consulting, Inc. | ceibaconsulting.com