This image provided by the Campaign for Matt Larkin shows Larkin, the Republican who is challenging Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier in Washington’s 8th Congressional District. One of the key races that will help determine control of the U.S. House of Representatives is playing out in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, where Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier is seeking a third term against a challenge from Larkin. (Mark Andrew/The Campaign for Matt Larkin via The Associated Press)

This image provided by the Campaign for Matt Larkin shows Larkin, the Republican who is challenging Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier in Washington’s 8th Congressional District. One of the key races that will help determine control of the U.S. House of Representatives is playing out in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, where Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier is seeking a third term against a challenge from Larkin. (Mark Andrew/The Campaign for Matt Larkin via The Associated Press)

Two races in Washington state could tip scales in Congress

SEATTLE — Control of Congress could come down to one or two seats in Washington, but the state’s vote-by-mail system means final results likely won’t be known for days.

Voters got their ballots weeks ago, and the state’s congressional districts are among those being decided. But two districts are drawing the most attention in Tuesday’s election.

In the 8th Congressional District race, incumbent Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier faces Republican Matt Larkin. In the soon-to-be open seat in the 3rd Congressional District, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez faces Trump-endorsed Republican Joe Kent, who edged out incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the state’s top two primary. Herrera Beutler was among those targeted by former President Donald Trump for her impeachment vote following the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Washington’s congressional delegation currently comprises seven Democrats and three Republicans, and the remainder of the seats are considered safe for the incumbents, including Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse, who survived a primary challenge over his impeachment vote.

Washington’s 8th Congressional District stretches across the Cascade Mountains, encompassing wealthy Seattle exurbs populated by tech workers and central Washington farmland. Schrier, a pediatrician, is the only Democrat to hold the seat since the district was created in the early 1980s. She won reelection in 2020 against Army veteran Jesse Jensen. She now faces Larkin, a lawyer and former Washington attorney general candidate who works for his family’s company, which makes parts for water pipes.

Larkin acknowledges President Joe Biden was legitimately elected, though he also notes that many people disagree and are frustrated about it. He has hit Schrier on things like inflation, gas prices and crime, saying Democrats’ policies have aggravated all three.

Schrier has pointed to results she’s achieved for the district while in office, including securing federal money for a new bridge in Wenatchee. She also notes she’s the only pro-choice female doctor in Congress, saying that is crucial in the current environment following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

In the southwestern corner of the state, Democrats see a chance in the 3rd Congressional District, which Republicans have held for more than a decade. That race has pitted an “America First” Republican against a rural Democrat. Herrera Buetler took 22 percent of the vote in the primary, and which candidate her supporters opted for could be key in determining whether Republicans retain the seat or Democrats score an upset.

Kent, a former Green Beret who is a regular on conservative cable and podcasts, has called for the impeachment of President Joe Biden and an investigation into the 2020 election. He’s also railed against COVID shutdowns and vaccine mandates and has called to defund the FBI after the search on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home for classified documents.

Gluesenkamp Perez — who co-owns an auto shop with her husband just across the border in Portland, Ore. — said that as a small business owner who lives in a rural part of the district, she is more in line with voters. She supports abortion access and policies to counter climate change, but also is a gun owner who said she opposes an assault rifle ban, though she does support raising the age of purchase for such guns to 21.

Because ballots only need to be postmarked by Election Day, or dropped in a drop box by 8 p.m. election night, it often takes days to learn final results in close races as ballots arrive at county election offices throughout the week.

U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier speaks to volunteers in Issaquah, Wash., on July 30. One of the key races that will help determine control of the U.S. House of Representatives is playing out in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, where Schrier is seeking a third term against a challenge from Republican Matt Larkin. (Kori Suzuki/The Seattle Times via The Associated Press, file)

U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier speaks to volunteers in Issaquah, Wash., on July 30. One of the key races that will help determine control of the U.S. House of Representatives is playing out in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, where Schrier is seeking a third term against a challenge from Republican Matt Larkin. (Kori Suzuki/The Seattle Times via The Associated Press, file)

Republican candidate Joe Kent waits before taking the stage for a candidates debate Sept. 27 in Vancouver, Wash. Kent is seeking election to Washington’s 3rd Congressional District in Tuesday’s election. The House GOP’s Class of 2022 midterm candidates includes a distinct group — a new generation of political outsiders, populists and some extremists. They would bring an untested and potentially unruly majority if Republicans win the House. (Rachel La Corte/The Associated Press, file)

Republican candidate Joe Kent waits before taking the stage for a candidates debate Sept. 27 in Vancouver, Wash. Kent is seeking election to Washington’s 3rd Congressional District in Tuesday’s election. The House GOP’s Class of 2022 midterm candidates includes a distinct group — a new generation of political outsiders, populists and some extremists. They would bring an untested and potentially unruly majority if Republicans win the House. (Rachel La Corte/The Associated Press, file)

Democratic candidate Marie Gluesenkamp Perez waits before taking the stage for a candidates debate on Sept. 27 in Vancouver, Wash. Gluesenkamp Perez is seeking election to Washington’s 3rd Congressional District in Tuesday’s election. (Rachel La Corte/The Associated Press, file)

Democratic candidate Marie Gluesenkamp Perez waits before taking the stage for a candidates debate on Sept. 27 in Vancouver, Wash. Gluesenkamp Perez is seeking election to Washington’s 3rd Congressional District in Tuesday’s election. (Rachel La Corte/The Associated Press, file)

More in Politics

Port Angeles City Council hopefuls Kate Dexter and Travis Berglund answer questions during a Port Angeles Business Association forum Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles mayor to run for county commission

Dexter has supported climate action plan, affordable housing

Emily Randall, left, and Hilary Franz.
Stalwarts take sides in race for Kilmer’s seat

A growing constellation of Democratic Party influencers are choosing sides in the… Continue reading

Online learning keeps rising among state’s K-12 students

Online learning for Washington’s public school kids is here to stay. That’s… Continue reading

Jefferson County turnout tops in state

More than half registered voters handed in ballots

Battle narrows to Biden and Trump

Tuesday’s primaries give each the delegates needed for a November contest

Johnson
Clallam commissioner announces bid for third term

Housing, timber revenue among several priorities

Mike Chapman.
Housing discussed at update

Tharinger, Chapman talk about legislation

House, Senate release spending proposals

Supplemental budgets to be negotiated

Plan to cap how much landlords can raise rent moves ahead

Statewide caps on annual rent increases could take effect in… Continue reading

State House approves unemployment benefits for strikers

Workers who are on strike or locked out of their… Continue reading

Chapman explains votes

Rep. Mike Chapman was among the few Democrats who voted… Continue reading

Democrats Franz, Randall stockpile cash in battle for US House position

Cash is flowing into campaign coffers of two Democrats dueling for an… Continue reading