Majority of WMFHA PAC Supported Candidates Win, but Still a Tough Road Ahead
Earlier this year, both democrats and republicans believed a red wave would sweep the nation and republicans would narrow their numbers, and potentially capture the majority in Congress and in state legislatures. But after the Supreme Court Dobbs decision, the political landscape shifted significantly, particularly in the heavily pro-choice state of Washington.
WMFHA PAC supported 18 democrats, all of whom have won or retained their seats in the Washington legislature. In addition, 16 of the 21 republicans supported by WMFHA PAC have won or are leading in their races as of this writing. Nailbiters currently include Island County’s 10th legislative district where republican incumbent and House Housing, Human Services & Veterans Committee ranking member, Rep. Greg Gilday, is leading his opponent by just 15 votes. While ballots in the 10th district are still being tallied, democrat Clyde Shavers was exposed a week before the election for embellishing his military service and in the wake of that news many expect the late ballots to trend for Gilday. Also in the House is Kitsap Peninsula’s 26th legislative district open seat where realtor Spencer Hutchins narrowly leads his democrat opponent in a hotly contested race. Republicans are expecting Hutchins will maintain his lead to keep the seat which was vacated by Rep. Jesse Young (R). Young lost his bid for the Senate to unseat democrat incumbent Emily Randall in what was one of the costliest races in the state. In Whatcom County, senate democrats will pick up a seat where House democrat Sharon Shoemake challenged and narrowly defeated republican Sen. Simon Sefzik, who was appointed after the death of Sen. Doug Ericksen. Shewmake’s open seat was won by democrat candidate Joe Timmons, and his democrat seatmate Alicia Rule also secured her contested election. This makes the 42nd legislative district all democrat for the first time in 10 years. In the 35th district (Mason County), republicans secured a technical pick up with the senate seat where retiring democrat Tim Sheldon’s seat was won by republican Rep. Dan Griffey. For over a decade Sheldon caucused and often voted with the republicans, so Shewmake’s defeat of Sefzik, and Griffey’s pick up essentially cancel each other out – but give the democrats one more member in their caucus meetings – also one who will vote for the democrat agenda.
When all is said and done the campaign and independent expenditures in the 10th, 26th and 42nd legislative districts will add up to tens of millions of dollars to…maintain the same political makeup in the two chambers.
On November 1s, WMFHA ‘s Director of Government Affairs, Ryan Makinster and Lobbyist Krystelle Purkey attended a housing roundtable in Olympia hosted by Lt. Governor Denny Heck and Senator Yasmin Trudeau.
Following opening remarks by Lt. Governor Heck and Senator Trudeau, Dr. Mike Wilkerson of ECONorthwest provided an overview of the housing supply and affordability crisis impacting the state. Stakeholders in attendance were encouraged to answer two questions to lay the groundwork for continued engagement:
- Where is the greatest overlap of agreement that provides the biggest opportunity in this legislative session to make a difference?
- What is necessary for there to be effective collaboration going forward?
Although the stakeholders present represented broad and often conflicting or contentious viewpoints and constituencies, the discussion centered around key points that most seemed to agree on:
- We have a supply issue that must be addressed if we want pricing stability
- Current zoning laws and past discriminatory practices have contributed to the current crisis
- Local permitting and land use processes, and the added time associated with them, are adding to the cost and supply issues
- We need more of all types of housing, from single-family to middle housing, through multi-family
- The state needs to support local jurisdictions with funding for housing programs, revamping permitting and staffing
Lt. Governor Heck and Sen. Trudeau plan to reconvene the group before the legislative session for further discussions on solutions.