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Dhingra wins state Senate race, giving Democrats control of Legislature for first time in 5 years

OLYMPIA,  Wash. — Washington Democrats have won a key state Senate race that puts them back in charge of both legislative chambers for the first time in five years.

After the latest returns were tallied Wednesday, Manka Dhingra, a 43-year-old prosecutor for King County, held a commanding lead over Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund with 55 percent of the vote in the race for the 45th District in Seattle’s eastern suburbs.

The political implications in the state and beyond helped the race break legislative spending records in Washington.

With Dhingra’s victory, Washington joins Oregon and California with Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.

Republicans in the state, with the help of a Democrat who caucuses with them, currently control the Senate by a single seat. Democrats hold a slim 50-48 majority in the House.

With the win, Democrats would hold the Governor’s mansion, the House and the Senate in 3 Western states -- Washington, Oregon and California. Massive amounts of money were poured into the race, as Democrats hoped to use their stronghold in the West to fight President Donald Trump’s policies at the state level.

Gov. Jay Inslee has said that one of his first orders of business, should Dhingra win, would be to enact a robust plan for carbon pricing along with Oregon and California, as well as other joint policies to fight climate change.