Republicans keep state House tied up

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Republicans may have lost a plum U.S. Senate seat, but a recount confirmed Friday that the GOP won a share of power in the Legislature and kept the Secretary of State’s Office.

Returns from the 47th Legislative District in King County confirmed that Republican incumbent Jack Cairnes has defeated Democrat Debbie Jacobson. The margin was just 114 votes out of more than 42,000 votes cast in the suburban swing district.

That assured the Republicans of a 49-49 tie in the next legislative session. Because the Democrats will have a 25-24 majority in the Senate and Democratic Gov. Gary Locke has won a second term, the Republicans needed the tie or gain a majority in the House of Representatives to have any say in what happens in Olympia.

The Republicans would have won outright if the 47th District’s other Republican incumbent had been as lucky in his re-election bid. But Rep. Phil Fortunato lost to Geoff Simpson by 133 votes in the state’s next-closest legislative finish.

Meanwhile, a statewide recount gave the Republicans another bit of good news: Republican Sam Reed was confirmed as the winner for secretary of state, edging former U.S. Rep. Don Bonker by 10,222 votes. Before the recount, Reed had led by 10,489.

Reed, former assistant secretary of state and the longtime Thurston County auditor, will succeed Ralph Munro, currently the Republicans’ only statewide elected official. Munro is retiring after 20 years in the post.

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