Election: Koster leading in three counties, districtwide in 2nd Congressional District race

Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, R-Arlington, candidate for election to the U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District. - Koster for Congress
Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, R-Arlington, candidate for election to the U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District.
— image credit: Koster for Congress

Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, R-Arlington, held a slight lead early Tuesday in his bid to replace Rick Larsen as the representative of the 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Koster was ahead of the five-term congressman in Island, Skagit and Snohomish counties.

In San Juan, Larsen led 4,281 to 2,411. Districtwide, Koster held a 1,500-vote lead — 85,906 to 84,434.

There are more than 132,000 ballots to be counted in Snohomish County, The Seattle Times reported.

Koster, who served in the state House in the 1990s, and Larsen, a former Snohomish County Council member, ran against each other for Congress in 2000. That year, Koster outpolled Larsen in the primary but lost in the general election. This year, Koster again outpolled Larsen in the primary; his rein-in-spending message apparently resonated with many district voters wary of a 9.6 percent unemployment rate and doubts that the Obama administration's investments in economic recovery are working.

Koster was endorsed by Republican heavyweights Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor; and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

Larsen is popular in the San Juan Islands. He helped establish a Veterans Administration outpatient clinic for veterans in San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties; obtained funding for the transfer of Mitchell Hill to San Juan Island National Historical Park; and obtained funding for pedestrian and vehicle traffic improvements at the Friday Harbor ferry terminal.

He also worked for accountability on Wall Street and for consumer protections, and he supported troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s a member of key committees: Armed Services, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Budget.

Both are counting on late counts.

“Although the race is too close to call at this time, I am confident that when every vote is counted, I will ultimately prevail," Larsen said in a late-night statement issued by his campaign. "I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this campaign a success. We ran a smart campaign, focused on local issues like making sure the Air Force Tanker is built right here in Northwest Washington and helping our local small businesses grow and start hiring again. And that is why I am confident that I will prevail.

“I look forward to a swift resolution to this election and continuing to represent the people of Northwest Washington.”

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