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Kountouros drops out of state Senate race

At the conclusion of the 40th Legislative District endorsement process, Stephanie Kountouros declared that she will no longer seek the Senate seat.

"Since the beginning of this race, I have stood by my position that the Senate seat in the 40th LD must be kept by a strong Democrat who will lead the Legislature in addressing social justice issues and work to improve the lives of Washingtonians," she said in a press release.

"When I first declared, I saw a field of strong candidates. Yet key issues were not forefront in this race, and I had concerns that they would not be championed in Olympia. I am pleased to see how my presence in this race helped the other candidates hone their perspective and how the issues I raised are now priorities for them as well.

"That other candidates are now speaking to core values, greening transportation, grassroots leadership and social justice is a credit to my passion for these issues and the influence I have brought to the race.

"At least one Democratic candidate will be guaranteed to win the primary election on Aug. 19. However, a field of five competent candidates divides the resources of the Democratic Party and local support. With the strength of the current field, I am more confident than ever that my decision to not seek the seat is the best one for the Democratic Party, the voters and for all who live in the 40th LD.

"I hold the deepest gratitude for the dedicated people who gave me their time, effort and support. Their belief in me, along with the enthusiastic response from Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties, proves the strength and necessity of a grassroots, social justice perspective. We need to prioritize those in our state who struggle to survive, who face enormous financial, health and life obstacles. I remain strongly committed to championing those unheard voices and dedicate myself to social justice and advocacy.

Kountouros, a member of the Whatcom County Human Rights Task Force, was coordinator of the Obama for President campaign in Whatcom County.

Other candidates for the Senate seat are Hue Beattie, a Bellingham resident and state Democratic Party committee member; Paul Gonzalez of Mount Vernon, Democrat and a 22-year State Patrol officer; Ken Henderson, Democrat and former Whatcom County Council member; Kevin Ranker, Democrat and San Juan County Council member; Timothy “Cleaver” Stoddard of Anacortes, who put SalmonYoga Party as his preference; and Steve Van Luven of Samish Island, a Republican who formerly represented Bellevue in the state House of Representatives.

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