- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - Early returns in the state’s most-watched House race show Republicans on the way to picking up a seat and trimming the slim majority held by Democrats.

Republican challenger Teri Hickel was leading appointed Democratic Rep. Carol Gregory Tuesday night in the 30th Legislative District, which covers parts of King and Pierce counties around Federal Way. It’s a district known for electing as many Republicans as Democrats in the past decade, and saw nearly $2 million spent as both parties vied for the seat.

If Hickel takes the race, the Democrats’ advantage in the chamber will slip to two seats with 50-48. That could set the stage for a battle next year for control when all House seats will be up for grabs.

Gregory of Federal Way was appointed to the seat in January following the death of Roger Freeman. The winner will serve the remaining year of Freeman’s term.

In the only other state legislative race, Republican Mary Dye took a commanding early lead in preliminary returns against Republican Richard Lathim in the Eastern Washington’s 9th Legislative District.

The winner will serve for the remaining year of Rep. Susan Fagan’s term after she resigned in April amid allegations that she falsified travel expense forms.



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