It was a party atmosphere at Geaux Brewery on Tuesday night with loud talk and laughter rising from local Democrats who had gathered in Auburn to watch the early midterm election returns roll in.
And as the tableaux unfolded on the big screen above their heads and lit up dozens of laptops and cellphones closer to the ground, the Democrats found plenty to cheer about.
After the first count at 8:15 p.m., Mona Das, D-Covington, found herself locked in a race yet to be decided Tuesday for 47th District State Senator, her 19,819 votes a mere 274 shy of the tally of incumbent Joe Fain, R-Auburn, 50.34 percent to her 49.66 percent.
“I feel amazing,” Das said. “I mean, we put everything on the table. We worked as hard as we possibly could. I have zero regrets, and I am hopeful. We did a great job bringing communities together.”
As Fain has done since rape allegations surfaced against him in the waning weeks of the campaign, he declined requests for comment. Indeed, earlier in the day, campaign staff said Fain had not scheduled any public appearances for that evening.
Asked why she did not bring up the allegations during her campaign to unseat Fain, Das came close to bristling.
“I ran a campaign based on what I am about, on my hopes, and my dreams, and my vision for this community, and it didn’t have anything to do with that,” Das said, laying heavy emphasis on each pronoun.
Even if the vote counts in the coming days don’t go her way, Das said, she intends to stay involved in local politics.
“Oh, absolutely, I’m not going anywhere,” Das said.
Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, incumbent 47th District representative, was well on his way to an insurmountable thumping of his Republican opponent, Ted Cooke of Kent, gathering 24,717 votes to Cooke’s 15,095, or 62.08 percent to 37.92 percent in early returns.
“I’m always nervous coming in,” Sullivan said. “I think any politician who’s not nervous won’t be around long. You can’t take anything for granted. You have to work for it, and we did that. We went door to door, we put up the yard signs, we raised money, we did mailings, we did all the things you have to do to win a race.”
Sullivan first ran for office in 2002, lost by 90 votes, and since then has waged eight successful campaigns.Also in early returns, Debra Entenman, D-Kent, held a tidy lead over incumbent 47th District Rep. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington, gathering 20,976 votes or 52.4 percent to his 47.6 percent.
In Legislative District No. 31, Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, garnered 7,780 votes or 58.17 percent to Sumner Democrat Immaculate Ferreria’s 5,594, or 41.83 percent in the largely rural district.
Representative Position No. 1 Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, drew 7,633, or 57.48 percent of the vote to Democrat Victoria Mena’s 5,647, or 42.52 percent.
And in the contest for state Representative Position No. 2 District 31, Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, had 7,589 votes or 57.33 percent to Democrat Mark Boswell’s 5,648 or 42.67 percent.