Progressive 5th District Senate challenger Ingrid Anderson got a major boost to her campaign on Aug. 30, after she was endorsed by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Anderson is running against fellow Democrat Mark Mullet, who has represented the East King County district since 2012. Mullet, who owns pizza and ice cream franchises in Issaquah, has often found himself voting against measures supported by the governor. A press release from Anderson’s campaign said these include Mullet’s opposition to measures for clean fuels, tax reform and education.
“We also have the opportunity to reshape our economy and make it more fair, sustainable and self-reliant. I look forward to working with the governor to make needed positive change,” Anderson said in a press release.
Inslee in his endorsement said there were no nurses in the state Legislature, and said he hopes that Anderson, who is a nurse, would bring her perspective to Olympia.
Anderson won the August primary with 48.5 percent of the vote, narrowly beating Mullet by some 500 votes. As of Sept. 3, her campaign had raised $120,000 compared to Mullet’s $311,000.
In a Facebook post on Mullet’s campaign page, the Senator said his support of calling a special Legislative session and opposition to taxes were likely behind Inslee’s decision not to endorse him.
“That independence is inconvenient for the Governor and that independence is not something voters can expect from my opponent,” Mullet states.
In an interview, Mullet described himself as a moderate. In 2012, he ran against a right-wing Republican. In 2016, he ran against a moderate Republican. And in this election, he is running against a challenge from his left, he said.
“Once again, I’m in the middle, and that’s where I’ve been,” Mullet said. “And that’s where I’ve always promised I will be.”
Mullet has voted against Washington state’s affirmative action bill, a bill to prevent toxic chemicals from damaging public health and the environment, and to extend tax breaks for Boeing. These votes have become ammunition for Anderson’s campaign.
For Mullet, he said while voters swept Democrats into office representing the 5th District in 2018, their votes against state referendums challenge the idea the district is entirely blue. These include voting for lower car tabs and voting against affirmative action.
Inslee’s endorsement of Anderson highlights a shift in the once deep red district which, until 2018, had overwhelmingly sent Republicans to Olympia for decades. Democrats Bill Ramos and Lisa Callan ousted Republican incumbents that election, and appear to be well on their way to winning re-election this November.
Only one Republican is running for any of the three seats this election, with Ken Moninski hoping to beat Ramos in the district’s first House seat. But despite securing one-third of the vote, right-leaning donors and the county party have so far failed to pump much-needed cash into Moninski’s campaign.
Taken together, the races paint a picture of a district swinging left, joining its neighboring districts on the Eastside. Local Democrats told the Valley Record in July they expect the district to remain reliably blue, at least for a few election cycles.