Two female candidates have emerged the front-runners in the battle for the east King County legislative seat left behind by the late Senator Andy Hill, who died last year of cancer.
Democrat Manka Dhingra led with 51 percent on Monday, followed by Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund with 41 percent. Parker Harris, a no party preference candidate, had 7 percent.
Dhingra is a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County, and Englund is a self described entrepreneur who previously worked for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
"With so much at stake for working families, the Democratic National Committee will continue to invest and organize in Washington’s 45th legislative district so we can send Manka Dhingra to Olympia this November,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement.
"Late voters trend our way. I expect the gap to narrow giving Jinyoung Englund a strong platform heading into November," GOP Chair Lori Sotelo said in a statement.
This already intense race will only intensify ahead of November, since it could determine the balance of power in the state senate.
Currently, the Majority Coalition Caucus, comprised of 24 Republicans and one Independent who caucuses with the Republicans, control the Senate.
Political analysts observe that the 45th legislative district, which includes Woodinville, Duvall, Kirkland and Sammamish has become increasingly blue. The district was carried comfortably by Hillary Clinton during last year’s presidential race.
Already, hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside spending has been raised. Some of that money has gone to pre-primary attack ads on television.