Republican challenger Matt Larkin will face incumbent Dr. Kim Schrier for her seat in Washington’s 8th Congressional District this fall.
Schrier, the Democrat incumbent, has taken about 48% of the primary vote as of Thursday, amounting to about 76,200 votes. That obviously gets her through the primary, but also foretells a hard-fought and expensive general election for both parties in November.
On Tuesday night, second place was anyone’s guess. Longtime King County council member Reagan Dunn had earned 16,156 votes, or about 15.3% in the initial count, just about 100 votes ahead of manufacturing company legal counsel and former Pierce County prosecutor Matt Larkin, who’d earned 16,042 votes, or about 15.2% of the vote.
But Larkin had pulled ahead hard since then, raising his lead to a 17% (26,300 votes) over Dunn’s 15% (23,300 votes) and putting about 3,000 votes between him and Dunn as of Thursday. U.S Army veteran Jesse Jensen, meanwhile, has taken fourth place, earning 20,400 votes as of Thursday, or about 13% of the return.
On Thursday, Dunn officially conceded the race to Larkin, as reported by The Seattle Times.
“I just called Matt Larkin to congratulate him on his primary victory,” Dunn said in an email to his supporters Thursday. “Matt ran an honorable and positive campaign, and I am proud to endorse him in this November’s election.”
Election officials will continue tabulating ballots throughout the week, and the election won’t be fully certified until August 16. This article was last updated the evening of Thursday, August 4, and more up-to-date election results may be available at: https://results.vote.wa.gov/results/20220802/congressional-district-8-us-representative_bycounty.html.
County-level results show a striking difference in the preferences of voters. (The district spans six counties across western and central Washington.)
In King County, Schrier took a commanding 57% of the initial Tuesday vote, amounting to about 35,000 voters. Dunn was well ahead of his conservative challengers with 18% or around 11,000 votes. Larkin held 12% (about 7,500 votes), and Jensen had earned 7% (about 4,500 votes).
Pierce County voters, who make up a smaller slice of the district, voted differently. Schrier took only 38% of the vote there, with Matt Larkin (21%) and Jesse Jensen (19%) separated by less than 500 votes. Dunn, probably less familiar to Pierce County voters, trailed in fourth place in that race with 13% of the initial ballot.
Schrier’s support was greatest in King County and weakest in Pierce, though she led handily in each county. Pierce and Snohomish counties both put Larkin as their favorite Republican challenger. Jensen proved more popular with voters east of the Cascades, winning with voters in Chelan, Douglas and Kittitas counties. King County Republicans — unsurprisingly — voted Dunn as their favorite to face Schrier.
This race will command national attention leading up to the November election. It’s the most competitive congressional seat in Washington state and one of 36 “battleground” districts listed by Ballotpedia (as well as the only battleground in Washington state.) The Cook Political report, which scores districts on whether they are solidly, likely or leaning toward one party, ranked Washington’s 8th District as a “Toss-up.”
Voters first elected Schrier to the 8th District in 2018 in a 52 to 48% victory over Republican Dino Rossi, making Schrier the first Democrat to hold the seat since it was created in the early 1980s. She won re-election in 2020, beating Jensen that year in a similar 52 to 48% margin.
After Schrier, Larkin, Dunn and Jensen, the remaining candidates took in the following percentages of the vote as of Thursday:
3.58%: Scott Stephenson (Prefers Republican Party)
0.93%: Emet Ward (Prefers Democratic Party)
0.83%: Keith Arnold (Prefers Democratic Party)
0.88%: Dave Chapman (Prefers Republican Party)
0.69%: Justin Greywolf (Prefers Libertarian Party)
0.33%: Ryan Dean Burkett (States no Party Preference)
0.14%: Patrick Dillon (Prefers Concordia Party)