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Pre-primary win for Ranker

40th District precinct officers choose him in winnowing of field

County Councilman Kevin Ranker has emerged the top choice of Democratic Party precinct committee officers in his bid for state Senate.

Precinct committee officers -- 23 from Whatcom County, 10 from San Juan, two from Skagit -- met in the Anacortes Library on Sunday.

Ranker received 260 votes; the next-closest candidates had 94 and 78 votes, respectively.

The nomination, a first step in the new "top two" primary system, represents the first in a string of contests intended to winnow the field of five Democrats vying for the state Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Harriet Spanel.

In this year's election, the top two vote-getters in the Aug. 19 primary will advance to the general election — regardless of their political party affiliation.

Ranker said of Sunday's vote, "This is a great position to be in, but there is much more work ahead to sustain this momentum. This victory proves that our campaign is strong and headed in the right directions. I'm grateful for the nomination of fellow Democrats."

The next hurdle will be the endorsement elections, to be held in different locations between June 7-11 in advance of the final withdrawal date for candidates.

The victory followed endorsements from King County Executive Ron Sims, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Chairman Billy Frank Jr., Anacortes Conservation Voters, Whatcom Conservation Voters, Washington Conservation Voters, Ocean Champions Voter Fund, and the San Juan County Democrats.

The Republican candidate for the position is reportedly Steve Van Leuven, a former state representative.

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