Washington Democrats Face Challenge, According to NAII

November 15, 2001

Washington State Democrats apparently won two special House elections last week, breaking a three-year tie and giving them a 50-48 majority.

Although absentee ballots will not be fully counted and certified until Nov. 21, incumbent Jean Berkey, D-Everett, is expected to maintain her slim lead over Republican challenger Erv Hoglund. In the other contest, former Mukilteo Mayor Brian Sullivan, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Marine, R-Mukilteo, in what likely was the most expensive House race in Washington’s history.

According to Michael Harrold, National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) northwest regional manager, Democrats face a daunting political challenge now that they control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office. Harrold commented the public will expect decisive legislative action now that the gridlock in the House has been broken, and Democrats will have to meet those expectations with only a one-vote majority in the Senate and a two-vote majority in the House.

Harrold said as for issues insurers will face in the 2002 legislative session, plaintiffs’ lawyers can be expected to descend upon Olympia with a long wish list, and issues such as privacy and credit scoring will clearly be on the legislative agenda.

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