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US Senate 2012 Election in Washington


US Senate 2012 Election in Washington
This article presents facts, analysis, and predictions for Washington's 2012 U.S. Senate election race.

See 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing for an overview of all 33 US Senate races, on a state-by-state basis.

The Incumbent US Senator
Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, was first elected U.S. senator from Washington state in 2000, and reelected in 2006 with campaign support from both Bill and Hillary Clinton. She has also been an executive in an internet company, and served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislature. (See Profile of Sen. Maria Cantwell for more.)

In the 112th Congress, Sen. Cantwell served on the Finance, Energy/Natural Resources, Commerce/Science/Transportation, and Small Business/Entrepreneurship committees and the Congressional Internet Caucus.

Sen. Maria Cantwell is running for reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2012.

Washington's 2012 Senate Race
Running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Cantwell in Washington state's open primary, in which candidates of all parties compete in a single election, are a number of Republicans including:

  • Michael Baumgartner, one-term state senator who served during the Iraq War as Economics Officer in the Office of Joint Strategic Planning and Assessment at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
  • Dr. Art Coday, a physician and graduate of Harvard Medical School who mainly serves patients who are poor, disabled, and senior citizens.
The top two finishers in Washington's open primary election, set for August 21, 2012, will face each in the November election.

Who Will Win?
RealClearPolitics.com rates historically Democratic-blue Washington state's 2012 U.S. Senate race as a "Likely Democratic Seat" as of May 2012.

Key factors affecting Washington voters in 2012 are the state's high unemployment and home foreclosure rates during the Obama administration. However, a substantial labor union presence in Washington... 21.5% of workers within the state... and strong state support for liberal causes, including environmental and pro-choice issues, should cause Democratic Sen. Cantwell to be reelected to a third term.

Recent Election Results
Washington's two U.S. senators serving in the 112th Congress (2011 to 2012) are:

  • Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, serving her fourth term
  • Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, completing her second term
Both Gov. Christine Gregoire and Lieutenant Gov. Brad Owen are Democratic party members. In Washington state's nine-member U.S. House of Representatives delegation, five are Democrats, four are Republicans.

In the last four presidential elections, Washington voted as follows:

  • 2008 - 58% for Democrat Obama, 41% for Republican McCain
  • 2004 - 53% for Democrat Kerry, 46% for Republican Bush
  • 2000 - 50% for Democrat Gore, 45% for Republican Bush
  • 1996 - 50% for Democrat Clinton, 37% for Republican Dole, 13% for Other
Washington Economic Facts and Voter Demographics
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - Washington's unemployment hovered at or slightly above the national average throughout 2011, and was 9.2% in June 2011, which ranks 17th among all states.

Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - Washington's home foreclosure rate in June 2011 was 1 in every 632 homes, ranking 13th among all states.

Labor Union Membership - Washington state is home to 626,000 labor union members, representing 21.5% of workers within the state.

State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - 11.3% of Washington state residents subsist on below poverty-level income, which ranks 33rd among all states.

Senior Citizen Population - 12.3% of Washington residents are 65 years old and over, which ranks 40th among all states.

Women as a Percentage of State Population - Women comprise 50.2% of Washington state residents, which ranks 40th among all states.

Hispanic Population - 11.2% of Washington state residents are of Hispanic heritage.

African-American Population - African-Americans represent only 4% of Washington state's population.

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