2018: The year’s winners in Washington politics (plus the Seattle Storm)

  • Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, right, and Police Chief Carmen Best cheer for the Seattle Storm during a rally at KeyArena to celebrate the Storm winning the 2018 WNBA basketball championship, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Seattle. Photo: GENNA MARTIN, SEATTLEPI.COM / SEATTLEPI.COM

The political winners of 2018 include a first-time candidate for Congress who is the first Democrat to win her district, a leading Republican who was not caught napping, a party chair who got out of her chair and traveled the state… and a sports team.

Here goes:

— A trio of long-serving Republicans — Reps. Rod Chandler, Jennifer Dunn and Dave Reichert — have held Washington’s 8th Congressional District since it was created by the 1980 Census. The Democrats repeatedly targeted the 8th — and missed.

First-time candidate, pediatrician Dr. Kim Schrier, broke the mold, and broke the hold, in 2018. She beat Republican Dino Rossi by more than 15,000 votes, in a U.S. House district that crosses the Cascades and was designed to keep Reichert from having to work too hard.

— Several high-profile, entrenched officeholders were buried by the voters in 2018: Democratic Speaker-hopeful Rep. Joe Crowley lost to a democratic socialist in New York, Republican campaign strategist Rep. Pete Sessions lost his “safe” Texas seat.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, was not caught napping in her Eastern Washington district. She faced a top notch Democratic challenger in ex-WSU-Spokane chancellor Lisa Brown. McMorris Rodgers took the high road, as well as the low road, and won.

She didn’t win everything. McMorris Rodgers relinquished her House GOP leadership position after the election, when faced with a challenge from Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.

— Ex-tech executive, ex-Seattle City Council member Tina Podlodowski took over as chair of Washington State Democrats, after a 2016 election where the Dems won in King County but lost in a lot of other places across the state.

Podlodowski hit the road, and insisted that the Democrats put up candidates everywhere — even contest the 7th District far off in northeast Washington. She revitalized and directed a party eager to be mobilized.

The result: Under her watch, Democrats have gained four seats and regained control in the Washington State Senate. The party’s wafer-thin 50-48 House majority is…

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