The Democrats Win
Incumbent Murray defeated her Republican challenger, U.S. Representative Linda Smith (b. 1950) of Clark County. Democrats took control of the state's Congressional delegation, 5 to 4. Brian Baird (b. 1956) won the Third District House of Representatives seat from southwest Washington that Smith, who narrowly beat Baird in 1996, gave up to challenge Murray. Democrat Jay Inslee (b. 1951) defeated Republican incumbent Rick White (b. 1953) in the First District, representing North Seattle and areas north of the city.
In the other seven House races, incumbents were re-elected -- Democrats Norm Dicks (b. 1940) in the Sixth District, Jim McDermott (b. 1936) in the Seventh, and Adam Smith (b. 1965) in the Ninth, and Republicans Jack Metcalf (1927-2007) in the Second, Doc Hastings (b. 1941) in the Fourth, George Nethercutt (b. 1944) in the Fifth, and Jennifer Dunn (1941-2007) in the Eighth.
Democrats retained control of the state Senate and forged a 49-49 tie in the state House of Representatives, which the Republicans had controlled.
Washington voters generally took a stance against governmental control. Initiative 200 ended affirmative action programs in state and local governments and in colleges and universities. Officials could no longer take race and gender into consideration in hiring and placement decisions. Affirmative action had been used to correct imbalances in employment and education caused by historic discrimination.
Initiative 692 permitted the use of marijuana to ease the suffering from AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. A broader version of the initiative had failed in 1997. The measure pitted state law against federal law, which classifies marijuana as having no accepted medical use.
Initiative 694 would have banned late-term abortions, but voters rejected it.
Libraries for All
Seattle voters approved $196.4 million in "Libraries for All" bonds. The Libraries for All plan included $119 million for a new central library on the existing downtown site. The plan also included improving, expanding, or replacing 22 existing neighborhood libraries and constructing three new branches.
The central library had surpassed its available space by the early 1990s. In 1994, voters rejected bonds for a new library, but in 1997 new City Librarian Deborah Jacobs launched a comprehensive community review that led to the successful 1998 vote. The Library Foundation pledged to raise another $60 million. Bill and Melinda Gates donated one third of this sum in the largest gift to a public library in American history. In July 1999, the Library Board selected Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to design the new 355,000 square foot central library, which opened on May 23, 2004.
On King County's Sammamish Plateau, located between Redmond and Issaquah, residents overwhelmingly approved incorporation of the City of Sammamish, which became King County's 11th largest city when the incorporation took effect in 1999. The incorporation movement, which lost a 1992 vote, was triggered by concerns that County government was channeling growth to the plateau and not providing sufficient services.
November 1998 Election Summary
Statewide and in King County, the voter turnout was 62 percent. The counts for the major statewide races are as follows:
Patty Murray (D) - 1,103,184
Linda Smith (R) - 785,377
Initiative 200, Anti-affirmative action:
Yes - 1,099,410 No - 788,930
Initiative 692, Medical marijuana:
Yes - 1,121,851 No - 780,631
Initiative 694, Late-term abortions banned:
Yes - 802,376 No - 1,070,360