After a special election this November, Republicans in the state Senate hope their delicate majority coalition will grow by one more member: Jan Angel.
Angel, a Republican from Port Orchard who now serves in the state House of Representatives, has been fundraising aggressively during the two weeks she’s had off between the regular legislative session and the special session beginning Monday. She’s also getting help from friends in high places.
“Jan has only a narrow window to raise funds before the legislative session begins,” U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, said in an email to her supporters on Wednesday. “Jan NEEDS OUR HELP to get as many donations in as possible before the May 13th fundraising freeze.”
Former state attorney general and failed gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna also threw his weight behind Angel in an email to his supporters: “The balance of power in the state Senate rests on the outcome of this campaign. Make sure you get your contribution in before Sunday night at midnight.”
A special session is needed for the 26th District Senate seat because former Democratic Sen. Derek Kilmer vacated the seat to run for a U.S. House position. Democrat Nathan Schlicher of Gig Harbor was appointed to replace Kilmer, but Schlicher must run this year to keep that seat.
Republicans control the 49-member state Senate through a delicate majority coalition made up of 23 Republicans and two maverick Democrats. Angel could strengthen that to a coalition of 24 Republicans and two Democrats.
Another sign the race will be a nail-biter: Angel’s 26th District is a swing district, often electing both Democrats and Republicans.