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Hirst, capital budget on the line in election

Senate change in 45th bad for Republicans

— Republicans and Democrats have been battling over the Hirst water decision for nearly a year.

It has led to an inability to pass the state capital budget that numerous people are waiting for to start projects such as schools and fishery. Jobs are on the line.

The Republicans in the Senate have held it hostage until the House, controlled by Democrats, gives them a fix for the Hirst decision.

It could all be settled by a Senate race in the 45th District in November. The outcome, between two female rookie politicians, is critical to both sides.

If Republican Jinyoung Englund wins, the Republicans will retain control of the Senate. If Democrat Manka Dhingra wins, the Democrats will have control of both houses and the governor’s mansion.

“There are three special elections for the Senate this fall,” Republican State Party Executive Director Caleb Heimlich said. “But the 45th district is the lynchpin. It will decide control of the Senate.”

The 45th District Senate seat has been in Republican control for eight years. Andy Hill served about seven years but died before he could finish his second term. Former gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi was appointed to finish out Hill’s second term.

Rossi probably could have kept the seat for Republicans by running this fall, but he opted for running for Congress instead. Now it’s up to first-time Republican candidate to defeat a first-time Democratic candidate.

“The state party is fully involved in this campaign,” 15th District Rep. David Taylor of Moxee said.

Heimlich said the Republicans feel “safe” in the 7th and 31st Districts. The 45th is a tough race. There are a lot of Democrats in the Kirkland area.

Heimlich said the state party has campaign volunteers working hard there, with more to come.

“There have been some people from Yakima over here knocking on doors,” he said.

Judy Warnick of Moses Lake, perhaps the most powerful member of the Senate, will campaign with or for Englund, starting in mid-October.

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