Race to decide if West Coast keeps its only GOP-led chamber

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state Senate is the only Republican-led legislative chamber on the West Coast, and a special election in a district east of Seattle has drawn millions of dollars and national attention to two political newcomers vying for the seat this November.

Democrat Manka Dhingra and Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund are seeking to serve the last year of a four-year term in the 45th legislative seat left vacant by the death of Republican Sen. Andy Hill.

Republicans, with the help of a Democrat who caucuses with them, currently control the Senate by a single seat, but Democrats hope that the district will vote as it did in the presidential, U.S. Senate and gubernatorial elections last year: Democrat.

If the Washington Senate flips, the state will join Oregon and California with Democratic one-party rule in both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.