Manka Dhingra

Expensive Washington state senate race: A Sikh vs. a Christian and no one's covering that

Expensive Washington state senate race: A Sikh vs. a Christian and no one's covering that

In terms of political leanings, the West Coast is a wall of blue, but there’s still a stubborn cadre of Republicans controlling the Washington state legislature, much to the disgust of Democrats.

So, right now there’s a huge fight for a single state Senate seat with two Asian-American women duking it out for the coveted position in Washington’s 45th District, which houses behemoths like Microsoft and other tech businesses that have turned Seattle’s Eastside into a mini-Silicon Valley.

I used to live in that district years ago and currently live in an adjoining district, so naturally I was interested in reading about this race. Yes, there is a interesting religion angle to this story. The issue is whether anyone wants to cover it.

High Country News’ latest edition explains what’s at stake:

Campaign donations are pouring in for a Washington state Senate seat contest because the outcome likely will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the chamber. Oil companies have written $100,000 checks for political action committees running ads against the Democratic candidate, Manka Dhingra, and in support of Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund. A pair of billionaires who want action on climate change, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, each gave $125,000 to political action committees funding ad campaigns against Englund, and supporting Dhingra.
When all is said and done, $8 million dollars likely will have been spent on this state legislative race, political consultants predict. That’s more than triple the amount ever spent on any other Washington state legislative race and more than has ever been spent on any U.S. Congressional race in the state.

Dhingra and her family are pictured above this blog post. Englund is the person with the black-and-white-checked blouse. Elsewhere I read this could be the “costliest state primary in history,” so my ears perked up.

What’s interesting are the religious professions of the two women involved. One is a Sikh American who, if elected, would be the nation’s first Sikh woman to be in a state legislature. The other once worked for an overseas charity affiliated with Pentecostal healing evangelist Heidi Baker.

Few of the publications I scanned were interested in an religion “ghosts;” that is, religion angles hidden in ordinary news articles.

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