LIVE RESULTS: Jay Inslee wins reelection for Washington governor against Loren Culp

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee is projected to win reelection against Republican challenger Loren Culp, according to Insider and Decision Desk HQ.

Polls in Washington closed at 11 p.m. ET.

The candidates

Inslee served as a longtime US congressman before becoming governor in 2013. Throughout his tenure, some of his top priorities have been climate change and education. He campaigned heavily on combating climate change during his brief 2020 presidential run before dropping out last summer and starting his reelection campaign for governor. Inslee is running to get reelected on the same issues, along with a focus on the economy and healthcare amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

His Republican opponent, Loren Culp, has never held public office. He’s a veteran, businessman, and small-town police chief. Culp entered the race on an “anti big-government” platform.

He’s called out the governor for his pandemic response, saying Inslee “overstepped” constitutional powers pertaining to coronavirus emergency orders.

“The important thing for Washington voters to know is this: We need to make sure that we’re never again in a situation where a Governor is making unilateral ’emergency’ proclamations SIX MONTHS after an emergency has been declared,” Culp said on his campaign website. “That isn’t good government.”

Culp voiced some of the criticism in a virtual debate, and Inslee defended his decisions to shut down and mandate mask-wearing as fundamental to “saving those lives.”

The stakes

Like most governor races around the country, the candidates have framed their agendas around the coronavirus. Many incumbents’ reelection chances hinge on their pandemic response.

For Inslee, the odds are in his favour. He’s been praised for his handling of the public-health crisis and has polled well among Washingtonians since the outbreak began.

Washington’s election history is also relatively uncontroversial. The state has gone blue in presidential races since 1988, and is considered solidly Democratic.

The money race: So far Inslee has raised over $US7.7 million for his reelection effort, far more money than Culp’s $US2.8 million, according to campaign finance data.

What the polls say: Inslee holds a massive double-digit lead over Culp, according to polling averages from RealClearPolitics.

What the experts say:Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Centre for Politics rate the race as solid Democratic.

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