Washington's voter turnout hit nearly 72 percent

Turnout in Washington state's election was about just 1,101 votes shy of setting a midterm record.

Following certification this week of results from the Nov. 6 election, the secretary of state's office says that 71.83 percent of registered voters returned their ballots. The state's midterm high mark of was set in 1970, which saw 71.85 percent voter turnout.

This month's turnout did beat the 2010 midterms, which saw just over 71 percent. And it was far higher than the 54 percent turnout in the last midterm in 2014, The Seattle Times reports .

Voter participation was highest in San Juan County, at nearly 84 percent. Yakima County had the lowest turnout, at about 62 percent. Turnout in King County reached nearly 75 percent of registered voters.

"I'm very happy that we have such great engagement from our voters," Secretary of State Kim Wyman said.

Wyman attributed the comparatively robust voter interest this year to contested high-profile congressional races and statewide initiatives, some setting spending records — as well as the national political picture.

"There were so many things going on. Certainly in the background, President Trump was on voters' minds," said Wyman, a Republican.

A backlash against Trump and Republicans was apparent in Democratic gains here, including Kim Schrier's defeat of Dino Rossi in the state's 8th Congressional District, and expanded Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate. But Republicans fended off other scares, with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, and Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, R-Vancouver, keeping their seats.