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Election: Larsen's lead grows in bid for reelection | U.S. House, 2nd District
Late returns Thursday show Rep. Rick Larsen with a growing lead over Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, R-Arlington, in his bid for a sixth term representing the 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Koster held a 1,500-vote lead election night. By Wednesday night, with two-thirds of ballots counted, updated returns showed Larsen with a 500-vote lead. Thursday night, Larsen's lead had increased to 1,451.
Koster leads in three of six counties. In San Juan, Larsen leads 4,958 to 2,651. Districtwide, Larsen has 110,447, Koster 108,996.
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.
On the national front, he 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.
“Although the race remains close, my lead has increased," Larsen said in a statement issued Thursday. "The numbers released tonight show a clear trend in my direction. For the second day, the numbers released trended in my favor. And of the ballots counted and reported tonight, I took 51.93 percent of the vote.
“This trend is running in my favor and running against John Koster. I remain optimistic that when every vote is counted, I will stay on top.”
Koster spokesman Larry Stickney issued this statement Thursday:
"The American people spoke loud and clear on Tuesday evening, and they have soundly rejected the arrogant and reckless policies of the Washington, D.C. establishment. While the ballot count here continues to see-saw, we are confident that once the votes are all in, the people of northwest Washington will deliver the same message to Rick Larsen.
"While Wednesday's statewide vote counts oddly defied the national trend and provided an uptick for Democrat candidates, the slim margin in the Koster/Larsen race proves that Americans in all corners of the country are tired of the dangerous job-killing policies foisted on us by the now outgoing Pelosi Congress.
"Though John Koster remains in a position to win, we are keenly aware that there those who will do everything they can to keep this seat out of the hands of the new House Majority. Therefore, we have a team of observers on the ground at county courthouses throughout the 2nd Congressional District. We are working with attorneys and election experts at the state and federal levels in anticipation of a possible recount scenario.
"We will aggressively monitor the process to insure the integrity of this election, and we believe the momentum behind the Koster campaign will continue to manifest itself in the coming results."