Shifts in Leadership

Election Update and Analysis


In Washington State, the Republicans now control the Washington State Senate by one Republican. In addition,one Democrat, Tim Sheldon (D-35) will continue to caucus with the Senate Republicans, creating another session of Senate control by the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC). The MCC is made up of the Senate Republicans and one Democrat for a 26–23 majority.

The Democrats continue control of the Washington State House; however, the Republicans narrowed the margins by picking up four seats in the last election. For the last two years, Democrats have held a comfortable majority. It takes 50 votes to control the House, so the new Democratic majority will be down to a slim swing vote. House candidate, former Senator Dr. Nathan Schlicher (D-26), was defeated by Republican incumbent Jesse Young.


Oregon bucked the national trend of Republican gains. Governor John Kitzhaber won his re-election by a slim majority but resigned effective February 18, 2015. Democrat Secretary of State, Kate Brown, has succeeded Kitzhaber as the Governor and will hold the seat until the next election. Both the Oregon State Senate and House Democrats increased their margins in the legislature. These gains put Democrats in both chambers within one vote of the 3/5 super majority. In addition, three physicians won their elections, Dr. Alan Bates (Senate D-3), Dr. Knute Beuhler (House R-54) and Dr. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (Senate D-17).


Both Idaho and Wyoming continue to maintain strong Republican majorities in the Senate and House. Unlike Washington and Oregon, we anticipate a quiet year with no affirmative legislation and relatively inactive plaintiff trial lawyers.