Essential Washington

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Democrat seizes early lead in Washington Senate race, boosting bid for one-party control

Democrats staked an early lead Tuesday night in their bid to control the Washington state Senate and establish single-party reign over the West Coast.

Manka Dhingra, a King County prosecutor, pulled ahead 55% to 45% over Republican Jinyoung Englund, a former congressional aide, in initial returns.

Although Democrats claimed victory, final results in Washington's all-mail election will not be known for several days.

At stake is control of the state Senate, which has been the only legislative chamber Republicans hold on the West Coast. The election in the suburbs east of Seattle was held to replace a GOP lawmaker who died last year in office, leaving the chamber evenly divided.

The contest became a major fight between the national political parties, the costliest legislative race in state history and a long-distance test of President Trump's effect on candidates running down-ballot.

Democrats hold the governorship and statehouse in Washington and, together with one-party control in Oregon and California, hope to build a solid blue wall of opposition to Trump extending the length of the Pacific Coast.

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