With behind-the-scenes coverage of election night parties

by Samantha Lund, News Editor

Stambaugh
Newly elected R-Rep. Melanie Stambaugh cuts in to her celebration cake. When Stambaugh got word she was ahead, she hugged her mom and sister, who is her campaign manager. Photo Credit: Samantha Lund

The midterm elections saw background checks for firearms become stricter, a mostly Republican nomination across the board and a marijuana excise tax confirmed.

Parties gathered around Washington to watch the midterm results pour in at 8 p.m Nov. 4. This year, more people voted by mail-in ballot than did in the 2012 presidential election. Most of the races will not be over for a while as all the ballots are assembled and counted. However, that small fact did not stop groups from celebrating the preliminary results at 8 and 9 p.m. election night.

This year’s election was particularly important because it came down to five Senate elections statewide to decide whether or not the Republicans would take control of the Senate.

Currently, the Democrats hold 25 out of 49 Senate seats in Washington, meaning any election could turn the majority party around. One of the races to watch was the race between Steve O’Ban and Tami Green. Tuesday night, Tacoma Rep. Sen. Steve O’Ban received the news that he was ahead in his race by nearly 10 percent. Him and his family celebrated when the numbers rolled in.

Currently, the GOP-led coalition keeps control of the Senate and the main points on the agenda are curbing greenhouse gas emissions, a gas-tax increase for highways and tax revenue to help fulfill a court mandate for schools. With the Republicans taking hold of Senate seats, it looks like that agenda will be changing.

The Republicans were ahead in most of the House races as well. However, even with those leads, it is unlikely the Democrats will lose control of the House.
A highlight of the night for Democrats was when the results came in for a Democrat nominee that passed away six days before the election. Rep. Roger Freeman’s name stayed on the ballot for a House seat. If he wins, another Democrat will be appointed.

Mark Miloscia, a former House Democrat, switched positions and ran as a Senate Republican. Miloscia’s early results showed him in the lead. If those results hold, he will enter the Senate as the 25th Republican in the 49-member Senate, giving them the majority of support in the Senate, which will likely change the course of legislation.

Along with elected officials, the voters also chose not to pass Initiative 1351, which would have reduced K-12 class sizes across the state. The Initiative lost by less than 1 percent.

Since 2008, Pacific Lutheran University has sent interns to KOMO News in Seattle and The News Tribune in Tacoma to give local media coverage of the events happening statewide. PLU is the only school that gives this opportunity to Communication students in the country.

Students were sent to the Republican and Democrat campaigns’ election night parties, as well as the Initiative 1351, Initiative 591 and Initiative 594 election night parties.

Republican Reps. Bruce Dammeier, JT Wilcox and Steve O’Ban gather on election night, waiting for first-round results to come in.  Photo Credit: Samantha Lund
Republican Reps. Bruce Dammeier, JT Wilcox and Steve O’Ban gather on election night, waiting for first-round results to come in.
Photo Credit: Samantha Lund

The Republicans might have gained control over the Senate, however, Initiative 594 passed which calls for more restrictions and background checks when purchasing firearms. One Republican supporter at the Rep. Party’s Lakewood event heard the news and yelled, “They’re taking away our guns!”

At the I-594 party, supporters surpassed the room capacity of the Edgewater Hotel ballroom. Among the many supporters was Gov. Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray attended as well.
“We can show the rest of the country the way by voting yes on I-594,” Murray said. By the people’s vote, Washington became the first state to close the loophole on background checks.

Initiative 591 did not pass, which would have made it illegal for government agencies to take away or confiscate guns without due process or from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required. The I-591 party was somber, but offered supporters gun magazines to read and anti-Obama materials.

Director for Development for the Second Amendment Ray Carter, said 60-70 percent of the people at the I-591 party were “carrying” at the party.
The Republican and Democrat campaign parties had the normal “thank yous” after the results came in. At the Republican election party, O’Ban was the favorite of the night with his whole family there and his son, Thomas, singing the national anthem for the event.

Tami Green, the Democrat nominee running against O’Ban for a Senate seat said, “I’m not surprised by the numbers cause it was gutsy for me to do this, but let’s wait and see the second round,” after seeing her first round of numbers coming in behind O’Ban.
The Democrat’s party was held at a Famous Dave’s near PLU. Former PLU President the Rev. Eugene Wiegman was in attendance, showing support for the candidates.

More information on the election can be found at
http://thenewstribune.com and more election night party facts, quotes and pictures can be seen on Twitter by searching the hashtag #waelex.

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Samantha Lund was the Editor in Chief at The Mast, a student-run newsroom within Pacific Lutheran University, in 2015-16. Lund created Mast Magazine in 2015 to give students a forum for long form news pieces. She could be found writing for Pacific Lutheran University's Marketing and Communication site plu.edu or interning at MOViN 92.9's morning talk show in Seattle. Other places to find her content include: Alaska Airlines blog and website, The News Tribune and The Bremerton Harald.