Gregoire, Larsen lead in Washington primary
By Tara Nelson
Incumbents U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Everett) and Governor Christine Gregoire have both secured leads over their opponents, according to unofficial primary election results released early Wednesday morning.
The election was the first in which voters, through the state’s new ‘top two’ system, were able to pick a candidate regardless of his or her party affiliation. The new system makes it possible for two candidates who prefer the same party to run against each other in the general election.
Gregoire, who prefers the Democratic Party, garnered 49 percent of the vote, followed by Dino Rossi, who prefers the Republican, with 45 percent. In Whatcom County, Gregoire’s lead was more solid – 52 percent to Rossi’s 43.
Aaron Tosso, a spokesperson for Gregoire’s campaign, said although many votes are still left uncounted, mostly in King and Pierce counties, they have won counties from all corners of Washington, both rural and urban.
“We’re feeling really good about where we’re at,” he said. “Last night shows the governor’s record of delivering what she promised in all areas of the state.”
This is the second time in four years the two will go head to head in the race for governor. In 2004, Gregoire won after three contentious recounts and an unsuccessful Republican court battle with only a 133-vote lead against Rossi.
November’s election will likely be tight as Washington residents struggle with traffic congestion, under funded public schools and the current budget deficit.
In a written statement, Rossi said he remained optimistic but that his campaign still has “a long way to go” until the November election.
“What matters is that we placed in the top two and now the general election begins,” he said. “Current returns show we have received over 45 percent of the vote. To put these results into perspective, during the 2004 campaign I received just 34 percent of the vote in the primary and the general election turned out significantly closer.”
All other gubernatorial candidates earned less than 2 percent of the vote. They include Will Baker (Reform Party), Duff Badgley (Green Party), John W. Aiken, Jr. (Republican Party), Christian Pierre Joubert (Democratic Party), Christopher A. Tudor (no preference), Javier O. Lopez (Republican Party), Mohammad Hassan Said (no preference) and James White (Independent Party).
Larsen, who prefers the Democratic Party, led his opponents with 56 percent of the vote within District 2 and with 58 percent countywide. His challengers Rick Bart, (Republican Party), followed behind with 36 percent district-wide; Doug Schaffer, (Democratic Party), followed with 5 percent; and Glen Johnson, (Democratic Party), followed with 3 percent of the vote. Rick Bart will go on to face Larsen in the November general election.
Washington State Legislative Representative District 42
Washington State Representative position incumbent Doug Ericksen (Republican Party) is leading with 58 percent of the vote, over his challenger Mark Flanders (Democratic Party), who received 42 percent.
Washington state representative position two incumbent Kelli Linville (Democratic Party), earned 60 percent with challenger Jere Hawn (Republican Party) trailing behind with 39 percent.
Whatcom Superior Court judge position three
Incumbent Chuck Snyder, who received 65 percent of the votes, will retain his position as Whatcom County Superior Court judge, position three, beating out his opponent Douglas Shepherd, who received 35 percent.
State law mandates that superior court judges who garner more than 50 percent of the vote in a primary will be considered elected without going on to the general election.
Updates were not available at press time but will be posted as of Wednesday night on the Whatcom County Auditor’s office website at www.co.whatcom.wa.us.