In the race to replace long-time Democratic State Senator Rosemary McAuliffe, Republican Mindie Wirth got 40.46 percent of the vote to lead Tuesday’s results while the two Democrats, Luis Moscoso and Guy Palumbo, were neck and neck for the second spot in November’s general election. Moscoso, who left his state representative seat to try to move up to the Senate, led by 35 votes, 29.89 percent to Palumbo’s 29.65 percent. The seat is in the strongly democratic 1st District, so the favorite to replace McAuliffe will likely be Moscoso or Palumbo, however it may take awhile to determine who that will be.
“We’re really happy where we are now,” Palumbo, a Maltby resident, said. “We closed hard we feel pretty good about it. We knew it was an uphill battle, with the low turnout. We knew it was going to be really hard.”
Palumbo sold himself as a candidate who is an alternative to politics as usual. He especially emphasized himself as the candidate who outright opposes I-405 tolling, in particular tolling that pays for other tolling projects, instead of transportation itself.
Moscoso, who served as the 1st District Representative since 2010, touted bringing transportation dollars to the 1st District, working to improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) opportunities at UW-Bothell by funding a new lab and funding a program to discourage participation in youth gangs on his campaign Web site.
Wirth and Moscoso did not immediately return calls for comment on Tuesday night.
1st District Representative Position 2
Republican Jim Langston led the contenders with 39.61 percent of the vote and Democrat Shelley Kloba with 31.12 percent in Tuesday’s returns was second, meaning the two will face off in November for the seat left open by Moscoso.
Kloba, currently a Kirkland City Councilwoman, jumped in the race right away and emerged from a field that included three other democrats. She is expected to be the favorite to win in November since the 1st District is considered a safe democratic party stronghold.
“I think it’s probably a combination of the experience voters are looking for as well as broad-based community support from my years of working in my community,” Kloba said of the results, adding she was able to put together a “really fantastic team for my campaign of staff and volunteers.”
Kloba and her campaign team estimated that they knocked on 4,000 doors in the district and made another 4,000 phone calls to voters. She said her biggest challenge was getting her name out in Snohomish County as opposed to King County where she lives, and has been active in the Lake Washington school district and on the Kirkland Council.
Education has been a major campaign issue, and Kloba, who previously served as legislative director for the Washington State Parent Teacher Association, mentioned several issues she heard about while doorbelling.
“I think people have been exposed to the McCleary lawsuit,” she said, adding, “I am hearing a lot of support for closing tax loopholes ones that do not have a demonstrated public benefit, they see that as a potential source of (revenue).”
People also believe too much standardized testing means the school day is geared toward tests instead of covering the wide variety of subjects kids need to proficient in, Kloba said.
Other issues she heard about included concerns over the environment, affordable housing, access to health care, concerns over civil rights (she mentioned gay/lesbian rights in particular). Transportation was also important, particularly to Bothell residents concerned with the traffic diverting onto SR-522 and tolls on I-405, “but it hasn’t been as prominent of an issue as I expected,” she said.
Also in the running was Mountlake Terrace City Councilwoman Kyoko Matusmoto-Wright who will remain on the Council after receiving 10.07 percent of the vote, well short of what was needed to move on.
She said she had been asked to run several times before for the legislature, but was always too busy to enter. This year, she conceded that no perfect time would present itself.
However, she got in the race later and like the other Democratic candidates, including Darshan Rauniyar (12.45 percent) and Aaron Moreau-Cook (6.75 percent), couldn’t match Kloba’s early campaign mobilization efforts and fundraising.
“It was a lot of work, I couldn’t build the team I wanted because I was little bit late,” she said. “I did the best that I could and am proud of what I did and worked very hard.”
Also, based on the city levy lid lift numbers, there was lower turnout in her hometown Mountlake Terrace.
Matsumoto-Wright said many people at National Night Out sponsored by the Mountlake Terrace Police Department, told her they voted for her, even though they also wanted her on the Council and didn’t really want her to leave.
“That was really nice to hear,” she said.
Kloba’s early start with key endorsements from the 1st District incumbents along with her fundraising proved to be difference makers to earning the right to face Langston. Langston did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday night.
1st District Representative Position 1
Incumbent Derek Stanford, a Democrat, attracted 49.52 percent of the vote and will likely face Republican Neil Thannisch, who won 23.19 percent, in November.
Republican Brian Travis received 16.24 percent of the vote and Democrat Kazuaki Sugiyama got 11.05 percent.
32nd District Representative Position 1
Incumbent Democrat Cindy Ryu cruised to first with 73.76 percent of votes, followed by Republican Al Rutledge, with 18.99 percent. Ryu and Rutledge will face off again in November. Keith Smith, who stated no party preference, earned 7.25 percent of the vote.
32nd District Representative Position 2
Long-time Democratic incumbent and children’s advocate Ruth Kagi received 64.56 percent of votes and will face Republican David Schirle, who attracted 22.53 percent. Democrat Wesley Irwin got 11.1 percent of the vote and Libertarian Alex Hart got 2.8 percent.
US Representative, District 2
Incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen is in the lead with 51.17 percent of the vote. Republican Marc Hannemann is in second with 32.77 percent. Libertarian Brian Luke, Democrat Mike Lapointe and Kari Ilonummi, who prefers no party, each received less than 10 percent of votes.
–By Tony Dondero