YAKIMA, Wa -  State Democrats hope that negative national publicity for the Republican party will help them pick up some extra seats in the Legislature. 

They're hoping to gain a stronger grip on the state senate in particular.  Right now, Democrats hold a slim 26-to-23 majority.

Republicans in Washington DC have been dealing with backlash from the scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley and increasing violence in Iraq.

"We are a state of independent voters and very few Washingtonians vote strictly party line," says Dr. Tim Jeske, a political science professor at Yakima Valley Community College, when asked if it will have an impact on state races, "So if they are going to be voting democrat in congressional races, it doesn't necessarily mean it will translate into their thinking for state house and state senate races."

Doctor Jeske also says that unless national issues have a direct impact on the state level -- they won't affect state elections.  But he did say that sometimes national issues will energize a party's base.

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