Democrat Manka Dhingra held a double-digit lead over Republican Jinyoung Englund Tuesday night for the 45th District state Senate seat.
Holding a double-digit lead Tuesday night over her 45th District Senate opponent, Democrat Manka Dhingra appeared set to hand her party control of the Washington Senate — the last GOP-held legislative chamber on the West Coast.
In the highest-profile state legislative race in years, Dhingra led Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund with 55 percent of the vote.
While vote counting will continue in the coming days, Dhingra’s general election lead Tuesday was larger than her eight-point margin over Englund on primary night in August.
A Republican-led coalition holds a one-vote majority in the Senate, while Democrats control the House and the governor’s office.
The lead for Dhingra, a first-time candidate and senior deputy prosecutor for King County, had Democrats eager to pronounce victory.
“We become the last brick in the big blue wall up and down the West Coast,” state Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski told supporters at Dhingra’s election-night party.
Democrats also hold the governor’s offices in Washington, Oregon and California.
In a statement, Gov. Jay Inslee, who is in Switzerland, took it upon himself to call the 45th District race, saying, “I send hearty congratulations to Sen.-elect Manka Dhingra on her decisive win tonight.”
At the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville, Dhingra thanked a jubilant crowd and took a congratulatory call from former Vice President Joe Biden.
Without mentioning President Donald Trump, she spoke about political themes that have echoed nationally since his election.
“Somewhere along the way these people started making this election about us versus them and I don’t have to tell you, in this story, I was the them,” Dhingra said.
The Senate seat came open with the death of Republican Sen. Andy Hill last year. The 45th District includes Duvall and Woodinville, and parts of Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish.
The winner will serve the year left in Hill’s term, and the seat will be back on the ballot next year.
In a gracious speech Tuesday night, Englund talked about her admiration for Hill and the…