SEATTLE — As the nation elected a political outsider to the presidency, Washington voters stuck with the power structure they knew, easily re-electing Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and seeming to maintain the current balance of power in the state Legislature.
Voter turnout as of Wednesday was 48.2 percent statewide, according to the Washington secretary of state website at www.sos.wa.gov.
Of the nine statewide offices on the ballot, five had open seats: lieutenant governor, auditor, lands commissioner, treasurer and superintendent of public instruction.
In races where incumbents are seeking re-election, incumbent Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman was leading in early returns against her Democratic opponent, Tina Podlodowski, and Republican Duane Davidson prevailed against fellow Republican Michael Waite in the race for state treasurer.
Democratic Sen. Cyrus Habib beat Republican challenger Marty McClendon in the race for lieutenant governor, Democrat Pat McCarthy was leading Republican Sen. Mark Miloscia in the race for state auditor and Democrat Hilary Franz beat Republican Steve McLaughlin in the commissioner of public lands race.
Incumbent Attorney General Bob Ferguson beat his Libertarian challenger, Joshua Trumbull, and Democratic incumbent Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler prevailed over his Republican challenger, Richard Schrock. In the nonpartisan superintendent of public instruction race, it was a tight contest between Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal, with Reykdal taking a slim lead in early returns.
Three of the state Supreme Court’s nine justices also faced re-election challenges. Chief Justice Barbara Madsen faced Kittitas County Prosecutor Greg Zempel, Justice Charlie Wiggins faced Federal Way Municipal Judge Dave Larson and Justice Mary Yu faced Gonzaga University law professor David DeWolf. All three incumbents won re-election.
There were also six initiatives on the ballot, including measures related to increasing the statewide minimum wage, campaign finance reform and a carbon tax. The minimum wage measure passed, but the carbon tax measure was defeated and the campaign finance reform measure was losing in early returns. A separate ballot measure in Olympia that would create a personal income tax on the city’s highest earners was losing in early results Tuesday night.
A majority of Washington voters also voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who lost the national election to Republican Donald Trump.