Inslee, Murray win re-election, minimum wage passes
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee won re-election, and Washington state voters approved a minimum wage hike and rejected a carbon tax.
Here’s a look at the big races:
The Democrat Inslee defeated Republican challenger Bill Bryant. Inslee was leading in early vote returns Tuesday. Inslee, a former long-time congressman, touted his environmental record throughout the campaign. He said the state is requiring the biggest polluters to reduce emissions and is promoting alternative energy. Bryant, a former Seattle Port commissioner, sharply criticized Inslee in the months leading up to the November election.
Sen. Patty Murray was elected to a fifth term in the U.S. Senate, making the Democrat one of the longest-serving senators in Washington history. Murray defeated Republican Chris Vance. In Washington’s liberal 7th Congressional District, Pramila Jayapal defeated Brady Walkinshaw to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott. Both Jayapal and Walkinshaw are state lawmakers and Democrats. The 7th District includes most of Seattle. The state’s nine other U.S. representatives were re-elected.
Washington voters decided the fate of several high-profile initiatives on Tuesday, supporting a measure that would raise the statewide minimum wage, but defeating an initiative that sought to impose the nation’s first direct carbon tax. Initiative 1433 will raise the hourly wage by roughly $4 over three years, to $13.50.The measure also requires employers to provide paid sick leave — at least one hour for every 40 worked — that could be used to care for family members or as “safe leave” for those who miss work because of domestic violence. But voters rejected Initiative 732, the carbon tax measure. Sponsors of I-732 said residents have a moral responsibility to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The tax sought to encourage businesses to conserve or switch to clean energy by making fossil fuels more expensive, and make the tax system fairer by using the revenues to reduce other taxes. Businesses say the tax would have driven up fuel and energy costs and put Washington companies at a competitive disadvantage. The carbon tax would start at $15 a ton of carbon emissions in July, go up to $25 the next year and incrementally increase afterward.
Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won Washington state, found broad support across most demographic groups. Preliminary exit poll results conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research showed the presidential candidate carried white and nonwhite voters, women, young and old, and those in cities and suburbs and across most income brackets. Her Republican opponent Donald Trump carved out support in eastern Washington. This includes preliminary results from a survey of 1,069 voters who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. It is higher for subgroups.