By Rachel La Corte / Associated Press
OLYMPIA — Kim Schrier is the first Democrat to win the sprawling 8th Congressional District that stretches from Seattle’s eastern suburbs to central Washington farm country.
Schrier, a 50-year-old pediatrician, beat Republican Dino Rossi, a former state lawmaker who has run for governor and U.S. Senate in past elections. Schrier maintained a lead as more returns came in this week from Tuesday’s elections. Rossi conceded Wednesday night.
“Congress is broken, and people in the 8th District are ready for a community pediatrician to bring a dose of common sense to DC,” Schrier said in a statement.
Republican Rep. David Reichert is retiring from a seat he’s held since 2005. The district was created after the 1980 census.
Millions of dollars of outside money had poured in to the race in the 8th District, which is one of two dozen districts nationwide that was held by the GOP but whose voters chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Independent pollster Stuart Elway said Schrier’s lead in the open seat in the 8th Congressional District — a Republican-held district that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 — is “a classic pattern of the national trend.”
Rossi had been leading in four of the district’s five counties, but Schrier was dominating in King, which has twice as many votes as the other four counties combined.
“While this race did not end in the way you or I would have liked, I urge you to stay involved in the democratic process,” Rossi wrote on his Facebook page. “We all need to stay informed, get involved, and hold public officials accountable for the decisions they make.”
Tina Podlodowski, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, said Wednesday the numbers show that Democratic voters are moving to different parts of the state, “particularly into those suburbs and into the rural areas in the 8th.”
“I think what you’re seeing is a change from Seattle being the center of the universe for Democrats,” she said.