Two Republicans are fighting an uphill battle in the reliably blue 32nd Legislative District, which straddles Snohomish and King counties.
Political newcomers and Republicans Diodato Boucsieguez and Frank Deisler are running for state House seats.
David “Doc” Schirle, co-chair of the 32nd District Republicans, was honest about their chances.
“I told every one of them, you’re going to lose,” he said. “The best you can do is get your message out.”
Boucsieguez is up against incumbent Cindy Ryu, a Democrat who has held her seat since 2010. Deisler’s opponent is another newcomer, Democrat Lauren Davis, handpicked by outgoing Rep. Ruth Kagi.
The Democrats walloped the Republicans in the primaries. Ryu won 72 percent of the vote versus Boucsieguez’s 21 percent. Davis collected 53 percent to Deisler’s 24 percent.
The 32nd District includes Edmonds, Lynnwood, Woodway and Shoreline, along with parts of Mountlake Terrace and Seattle.
In interviews with The Daily Herald, candidates talked about homelessness, affordable housing, substance abuse and taxes.
As people move out of Seattle due to housing prices, Ryu said the people of the smaller, outlying cities are starting to feel pressure. Those who are living paycheck to paycheck have to move out even farther, she said — or worse, become homeless.
“All of a sudden, they’re competing with people from Seattle, who are used to paying higher rents,” she said.
Ryu, who chairs the Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee, said that finding solutions for affordable housing is paramount. That could mean more condo complexes and mother-in-law units.
She also said it’s important for Washington to prepare for the next recession, because the economic boom won’t last forever. She said she will use her background in business to work on the state’s finances, through her position on the budget committee.
“There will be a lot of fine-tuning,” she said.
To raise money, she said, she supports a capital gains tax, which is levied on profits from selling property or investments.
Ryu said she and her husband would have to pay the tax.
“We’ll step up and pay our fair share,” she said.
Her opponent, Boucsieguez, graduated from the University of Washington last year with a triple major in political science, history and communications with a focus on journalism. He’s currently working as a barista at Starbucks.
He calls himself a “common sense millennial,” a Republican who doesn’t believe in overtaxation, but who doesn’t mind gay marriage or weed legalization.
In particular, Boucsieguez said, he is against government projects like Sound Transit 3, which raised car tab fees to pay for light rail expansion. He used the example of his parents, who he said paid more than $100 more in fees this year.
“For a lot of people, a hundred dollars isn’t a lot,” he said. But for others, “it could mean getting ahead in paying bills or falling behind.”
Meanwhile, in the district’s other House race, Lauren Davis wants to make fighting substance abuse her main focus. She’s the executive director of Washington Recovery Alliance, an advocacy group for behavioral health issues. She also helped launch Forefront Suicide Prevention and previously worked in international development with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2016, Davis helped passed “Ricky’s Law” in Washington, named after her friend who was hospitalized several times because of substance abuse. The law allows involuntary detainment of people who are a danger to themselves or to others because of drugs or alcohol.
Davis said she almost lost her best friend because there was no way to get him help. In the end, he was able to get better, she said, but others aren’t so fortunate.
“I’ve known a lot of parents who buried their kids,” she said.
Davis’ opponent, Deisler, is a former New York City paramedic.
According to his candidate statement, he will work to “reverse the failed socialist, progressive Seattle policies” and oppose any new taxes. He also said he’s against safe-injection sites.
He did not respond to multiple interview requests via email and phone.
Schirle, the local party chair, understands that the Republican candidates are long shots. He knows because he ran — and lost by a large margin — his own race against Kagi two years ago.
“(It’s) lonelier than the Maytag repair man,” he said.
He told Boucsieguez and Deisler to take after Rocky Balboa. In the first movie, he couldn’t hope to beat the reigning champ Apollo Creed, but he could at least make himself known.
It’s an analogy that Boucsieguez has taken to heart.
“We are underdogs,” he said. “Like Rocky, we stay in and we fight, and we stay fighting all 15 rounds.”
What’s at stake: Two two-year terms in the House. Both are in District 32, which includes Edmonds, Lynnwood, Woodway and Shoreline, along with parts of Mountlake Terrace and Seattle.
House of Representatives, Position 1
• Cindy Ryu
Experience: State representative since 2010; Neighborhood Allstate Insurance agent; managed commercial properties; records systems analyst, city of Seattle; Medicaid intake officer, University Hospital; admitting officer, Harborview Medical Center.
• Diodato Boucsieguez
Experience: Canvasser and phonebanker for Bill Bryant for Governor 2016; canvasser for the Washington State Republican Party 2017.
House of Representatives, Position 2
• Lauren Davis
Experience: Executive director, Washington Recovery Alliance; education director, Forefront Suicide Prevention; international development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Fulbright Scholar.
• Frank Deisler
Experience: New York City paramedic; NYC EMS; voluntary hospitals EMS.