BELLEVUE, Wash — A win is a win, and means more when the stakes are this high.
Democrat Manka Dhingra won a solid 11-point win over Republican challenger Jinyoung Lee Englund in the 45th Legislative District race, and that tipped the scales of power in Olympia.
The win now means a 25-24 margin in the state Senate — full Democratic control for the first time since 2012.
Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski said a positive progressive message was key.
“I'm excited that we won and the Trump agenda didn't,” Podlodowski said shortly after the first results came in Tuesday night.
She says that's a mandate---which could lead to more capital gains taxes for wealthy investors.
“You know what top 1 percent? Yeah, you're going to have to pay more of your fair share. So what? We really need to make sure that we're taking care of Washington families all the way up and down the state,” Podlodowski said.
The Republicans are now on the defensive across the country.
“Every year has its strange peculiarities,” said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Susan Hutchison. She believes the loss may be a temporary speed bump. The 45th district was a special election to fill a vacancy.
It's up for a vote again just next year. Not a lot of time for whole new taxes or a track record to run on.
Hutchison says a liberal grip on Olympia is a risk.
“If the Democrats want to screw the public, bring it on. Because the voters will have their say next year,” Hutchison said.
Little wiggle room for political failure -- and the clock already ticking.