Democrat Kim Schrier leads by 6 points in 8th District race in Washington state
First ballot returns show Democrat Kim Schrier to be winning the most expensive House race in the country — and possibly flipping a red seat to blue.
After the first vote count Schrier was leading Dino Rossi, a perennial Republican candidate in Washington state, by 6 points in her bid for the U.S. House seat in the 8th Congressional District.
Democrats hoped they could flip this seat – and a couple dozen others – to take control of the House. Republicans have always held the 8th District seat, but voters there went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race.
Schrier, a pediatrician, is a first-time candidate and has promoted her experience in health care on the campaign trail.
“I got into this race because I want to make sure that every family in this district in this country can afford the care that they need," she said at a debate with Rossi in Ellensburg. "That means shoring up the Affordable Care Act, not sabotaging it like our president and certainly not repealing it without a better replacement, like my opponent would do.”
Rossi is a businessman and former state senator who lost the 2004 race for governor by just over 100 votes.
The race was the most expensive in the country; candidates and independent groups together raised more than $28 million to claim the open seat, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
That money turned into leaflets piled on porches and nonstop political ads.
Kent resident Lindsey Shumway, who ran for the state Legislature this year as a Republican, said she was shocked by the campaign activity on her own front porch.
“In my life I’ve had maybe two candidates come knock on my door ever," Shumway said. "This year I have had had seven canvassers knock on my door."
Dave Stockton, Republican chair of the 47th Legislative District, said campaigners heaped leaflets on his porch simply because they had money to burn.
"You continue to get this buildup even after you’ve voted for this cycle,” Stockton said. “Now I think that’s just because of the extreme amount of money that’s being spent here this time.”